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The North American Center For
Emergency Communications, (NACEC)

"Providing Military Family Communications Support and
Disaster Operations Communications Support, Since 1990!"


Regarding The DOD ACERT Alert SAR 03-0004 NACEC.org Website

To help those that are here to do research on our organization's validity, credibility and sincerity, I am posting the following information. I hope that this information will help to shine some light on both the memo's accuracy and our organization's credibility and legitimacy.

What is Flash Mail and why restart it?:
Flash Mail is a service for deployed military that allows them to send an electronic non-emergency letter back to family members that DO NOT HAVE access to e-mail service. To use the service they simply fill in the Flash Mail letter form then press send. Their letter is sent back to our system here in the U.S. where a volunteer prints the letter, puts it in an envelope, adds postage and puts it in the U.S. Postal Service for delivery.

This service makes it possible for their letter to reach the family member in just days instead of weeks.

The Flash Mail service was previously used in 1997, 1998, 1999. Due to the expansion of the Internet and e-mail availability, it was discontinued in 1999. At that time U.S. Force deployment were more or less at normal levels.

With the drastic increase in the number of U.S. Forces being deployed, we felt the Flash Mail service could again be of value to assist with routine military family communications.

The memo implies that the website registrant may not be a U.S. National, implying that I am not.
The website was registered by me NACEC's founder & Executive Director. I was born in Iowa and I am an Honorably Discharged Vietnam Era Veteran of the U.S. Army Signal Corp. (1970-72)!

The memo makes NACEC sound like something new and dangerous that just sprang up out of nowhere:
NACEC was founded and incorporated in 1993 and received its Federal Non-Profit status and Minnesota Charitable organization status in 1994. NACEC is totally operated and managed by volunteers that want to make a positive difference in peoples lives. NACEC has NO paid staff.

1993 - NACEC assists the Salvation Army in Des Moines Iowa with the Flood of The Century.
1994 - NACEC provides voice and message communications between U.S. Forces in Haiti and families back home.
1995 - NACEC launches new high-speed military family message service on "Information Super Highway" the Internet.
1995 - NACEC provides 10,000 minutes of free long distance to keep military families together for the holidays.
1995-96 NACEC Memorandum of Understanding is in place with the U.S. Army Information Systems Command.
1996 - NACEC links Operation Joint Endeavor Forces in Bosnia with families back home.
1996 - NACEC Digi-Gram high speed military family messages expanded to 250 words.
1997 - NACEC Disaster Victim Information exchange System (DVIS) launched in the great Fargo North Dakota flood of 1997.
1997-99 NACEC operates Flash Mail 1,000 word high-speed letter service for Deployed U.S. Forces and their Families.
2003 - NACEC article requested for UN International Aid & Trade Conference Review Magazine on the current DVIS system.

1990-91 NACEC grew out of the "Desert Voices Project" which provided a 2-way voice communications link from those serving in "Operation Desert Shield/Storm" to their families back home. The Desert Voices Project communications center was designed, developed and managed by Edward & Rebecca Addy NACEC's founders. It was built on a old Nike Missile Base south of Minneapolis Minnesota leased from the U.S. Government and was one of the most powerful long-range HF 2-way radio communications centers in North America. It was operated as part of the DOD's Army MARS (Military Affiliate Radio System) and provided communications directly with front line military units in the desert using their units HF tactical radio equipment. The project was so successful that it quickly gained national attentions and was even featured on the news program "Inside Edition". Nearly 50 companies provided materials and equipment and over 200 volunteers came forward to serve as radio operators and the other staff needed to make it a success. The Desert Voices Project handled over 5,000 radio/telephone calls and messages between U.S. Forces and their families back home. It was known and appreciated by U.S. Forces all over the deserts of the Middle East.

Desert Voices received recognition from many after the War and the project were over.
U.S. Congressman Jim Ramstad
Robert D. Offer, Jr., Colonel, Field Artillery Commanding
Chief Army MARS Mr. Robert Sutton
Minnesota Governor Arne H. Carlson
Minnesota Legislature, House Resolution

Are you a bit confused after looking at just some of our history and information?
Me too! I feel like I have been stabbed in the back by the DOD when a simple phone call letting me know of their concerns would have sufficed. When their actions in this tense environment cause fear and hate e-mail and comments from the military families that we have been serving faithfully for the past 12 years.

Here is some item by item information that is correct, unlike the misleading information in the memo;

Item 1.
The information collected is used only to provide the Flash Mail service, and for no other purpose.

Item 2.
Flash Mail is not for emergency message traffic and we do not promote it as such. That is the task of the Red Cross. Until Feb 27th, we did use SSN's as a username as each user already knows their SSN so they did not need to remember another number or username. As we are providing a letter mailing service we must acquire the FROM address, TO address and the TEXT of the letter that they want to send. This information is used for no other purpose then to process and mail the letter. It is not distributed in any way to or accessed by any other organization or entity.

Item 3.
This item is actually a part of an e-mail that our volunteers were sending out to inform webmasters of Military Family web sites of the fact that Flash Mail was back on-line and operational.

Item 4.
NACEC is not a federal entity, it is a non-profit organization whose primary mission is to support large scale disaster relief operations and military family communications. NACEC was incorporated in 1993 and Federal Non-profit status was granted by the IRS in 1994 as was its Minnesota charitable status. All required disclosures to both federal and state governments are current.

I am the Founder and Executive Director of the organization. I was born in Iowa, and am an Honorably Discharged Vietnam Era Veteran of the U.S. Army Signal Corp (1970-72).

Item 5.
After serving thousands of military families over the past 12 years, this memo is an insult to my integrity and that of our organizations and its hard working dedicated volunteers.

Item 6.
This is the memo originators opinion, without doing any real research into NACEC or its history.

What have we done to try to resolve this memo problem?
On February 26th I first heard about the memo in the morning from a TV reporter in Nevada.

I called Chief Army MARS, who had not yet heard of the memo. He asked me what we were doing and I told him. It was quickly discovered that perhaps the problem was that we were using the SSN as the senders ID number. I was told that the use of the SSN is not allowed because of risk of identity theft.

As I could not find a number for ACERT I contacted RCERT a Regional CERT. They knew nothing of the memo and could not find a copy of it in their system. I walked them through the Flash Mail service and they felt that two things should be changed. Stop using SSN's and make the communications with the system more secure.

That day the software was rewritten to use a unique computer generated PIN instead of the SSN and the revised software loaded into the system before midnight. All files that had used SSN's were removed from the system at that time and the switch to PIN was complete.

By noon on the 27th, the next day, we had secured Flash Mail by running all communications containing personal information between users computer and our main computer system through a secure server so it would be encrypted.

We contacted Congressman James Oberstar's office who agreed to look into the memo and ACERT's actions.

I received the first mostly complete copy of the memo with the contact information included.

On February 28th I called the FBI in Duluth, but they did not want to talk to me as no case was open.

We spent the next several days waiting to hear a reply from the Congressman's inquiry and answering hundreds of e-mails and comments from concerned and angry individuals that had seen the ACERT Alert memo.

We then also met with the staff at U.S. Senator Mark Dayton's office and they also started looking into the memo.

We were contacted by and spoken with the FBI whose agent was satisfied that we are legitimate and not doing anything wrong.

On Monday March 10th I was contacted by the agent from the DOD's DCIS the Defense Criminal Investigators Service whose main concern seemed to be on security issues like what if someone hacked into our system and got the Flash Mail files.

I then revised the software again making it possible for us to remove all addresses and the text of any letters, daily, yet still allow the system to provide feedback on the processing status of their letters to those that are using the Flash Mail service. This revision was installed by the next day.

We then hired legal council as this thing was looking and feeling way to strange. We were receiving death threats because of the ACERT memo so we call on local law enforcement who are now providing additional security.

Our council talked to the DOD's DCIS the Defense Criminal Investigators Service and they had finished their investigation and had determined that we are indeed a legitimate organization and not doing anything wrong.

On March 12th I spoke directly with ACERT who stated they were already working with their legal department on a corrective Alert memo that they expected to transmit by March 14th.
It seems that the original memo went out because they had just over reacted a bit!

On March 14th, our legal council called ACERT to confirm that the corrective Alert memo stating that we are a legitimate organization would indeed be transmitted today. He was told that it would indeed be sent out today. This would start to get this damaging mess straightened out.

If you are at a .mil domain you can view the retraction. SAR02-0004.1 is available at https://www.acert.belvoir.army.mil/sar/sar2003/SAR03-0004.1.txt
If you are not at a .mil domain you can view the retraction on our website by using this link.

Please send us a copy of this retraction and let us know what you have done to try to get this fresh information out to help let military families know the truth about our organization, as the original damning memo is still out there being circulated and needs to be stopped.

Call your Senators and Congressmen letting them know what is going on here and that the DOD ACERT needs to be issued a specific set of operating guidelines to prevent them from making this type of incorrect misinformation attack on another legitimate organization in the future.

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