Update on aid to the Philippines, Anonymous big hack attack looms, and the price Africa will pay for neglecting Libya Aid – all in today’s defense headlines.
FROM THE DESK OF CLEARANCE JOBS.COM
1. Next in line at Department of Homeland Security. Contributor Ashley LaGanga reports, “The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee questioned Jeh Johnson on Wednesday, President Obama’s pick for Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). . . . While his nomination is opposed by Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) – who are concerned with border security and the attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, respectively – Johnson is expected to be confirmed by the full Senate soon.” Also, NSA transparency, sequestration and defence, and Veteran entrepreneurs.
2. For Defense Industry jobs, questions before the exam, thanks to contributor Diana Rodriguez: “The defense industry and defense contracting careers come with their own unique requirements. Expect questions that delve into your trustworthiness, as well as your capabilities. . . . [here] are five questions you can expect to be asked by a defense industry hiring manager.”
THE FORCE AND THE FIGHT
1. Aid to Philippines still slow. Reuters’ Aubrey Belford reports from Tacloban, “Survivors began rebuilding homes destroyed by one of the world’s most powerful typhoons and emergency supplies flowed into ravaged Philippine islands, as the United Nations more than doubled its estimate of people made homeless to nearly two million. But the aid effort was still patchy, and bodies still lay uncollected as rescuers tried to evacuate stricken communities on Saturday, more than a week after Typhoon Haiyan killed at least 3,633 with tree-snapping winds and tsunami-like waves.” American Forces Press Service reports, “Military Airlifts Supplies, Displaced People in Philippines,” “Pacific Command Creates Joint Task Force for Philippines Relief” and “Hagel Conveys Condolences, Vows Support to Filipinos.”
2. Afghanistan’s Loya Jirga. AP’s Kathy Gannon and Rahim Faiez report from Kabul, “Afghan and U.S. negotiators have finished a draft of a contentious security pact to be presented to a traditional council next week . . . there remain disagreements between the two countries over the final content of the accord. Without approval of the Loya Jirga, a gathering of several thousand prominent figures from across the country, Afghanistan will likely refuse to sign the so-called Bilateral Security Agreement . . . . And if the Loya Jirga does approve it, the agreement still will require a final nod from parliament.” Khaama.Com reports, “Karzai also added that Afghanistan will likely refuse to sign the bilateral security agreement without the approval of the national grand council (Loya Jirga). . . . However, President Hamid Karzai said that the issue of immunity for US troops remained unresolved, and called for a national grand council (Loya Jirga) to debate the issue.”
3. Syrian government forces’ incremental progress against rebels. Aljazeear.Com reports, “Syrian troops have captured a contested suburb of Damascus as the government forged ahead with a offensive that already has taken four other opposition strongholds south of the capital. For more than a year, much of the belt of neighbourhoods and towns just south of Damascus has been a rebel bastion and a key arms conduit for the opposition. But government forces – reportedly bolstered by fighters from Lebanon’s Shia armed group Hezbollah group and Shia fighters from Iraq – have made significant headway in recent weeks in the area as President Bashar al-Assad pushes to shore up his hold on the capital and its doorstep.”
4. Syria’s sarin, mustard, and nerve, hold the ketchup. Albania rejects proposal to destroy chem in their country. Reuters’s Anthony Deutsch and Benet Koleka report from the Hague, “Albania rejected on Friday a U.S. request to host the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons, dealing a blow to a U.S.-Russian accord to eliminate the nerve agents from the country’s protracted civil war. . . . There was no immediate indication where the United States or Russia might look next to dispose of thousands of tons of toxic waste. Friday was the deadline for the details of the plan to be agreed by Damascus and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in The Hague.”
5. Hope in Geneva for Iran plan. Aljazeera.Com reports, “Six world powers and Iran are getting close to a first-stage agreement to curb the Islamic Republic’s nuclear programme, a senior US official has said. The official told reporters in Washington on Friday that it was ‘quite possible’ a deal could be reached when the parties meet on November 21-22 in Geneva . . . . ‘I don’t know if we will reach an agreement. I think it is quite possible that we can, but there are still tough issues to negotiate’ . . . . ”
1. Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) contracting (in)digest(ion). Forbes.Com unravels the contracting complexities behind the failed website-rollout: “For its part, Administration officials disregarded criticism that some of the contractors had checkered histories. Responding to reports that Serco was facing a series of major inquiries in the UK, Brian Cook, a spokesman for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, said, ‘Serco is a highly skilled company that has a proven track record in providing cost-effective services to numerous other (U.S.) federal agencies.’ The hard-to-believe takeaway is that just about no one, least of all the administration, was ready on launch day.”
2. LMT’s Long Range Anti Ship Missile does it again. AZOSensors.Com reports, “Flying over the Sea Range at Point Mugu, Calif., a U.S. Air Force B-1B bomber from the 337th Test and Evaluation Squadron at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, released the LRASM, which navigated through all planned waypoints receiving in-flight targeting updates from the Weapon Data Link. After transitioning to autonomous guidance, LRASM identified the target using inputs from the onboard sensors. The missile then descended for final approach, verified and impacted the target.” Ka-Boom.
TECH, PRIVACY, & SECRECY
1. Megatons, Megapixels, Megabites – Dempsey achieves consonance at Stratcom Change of Command. American Forces Press Service’s Nick Simeone reports, “The organization responsible for protecting Americans against ‘the world’s most complex and dangerous threats’ will continue to get the resources it needs to maintain an effective nuclear deterrent, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said . . . during a change-of-command ceremony for U.S. Strategic Command at Offutt Air Force Base . . . . Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, also spoke at the ceremony and reflected on how much the world and the nature of the threats facing the nation have changed over Kehler’s nearly 40-year military career. ‘There are few that are better able to understand, to appreciate and to articulate the vast mission which comprises our nation’s strategic deterrent force, measured no longer in megatons alone, but also these days in megapixels and megabytes,’ Dempsey said. ‘Our world is different’ . . . .
2. What can we do about that nasty hack? Reuters’ Jim Finkle and Joseph Menn report, “Activist hackers linked to the collective known as Anonymous have secretly accessed U.S. government computers in multiple agencies and stolen sensitive information in a campaign that began almost a year ago, the FBI warned this week. . . . The Anonymous group is an amorphous collective that conducts multiple hacking campaigns at any time, some with a few participants and some with hundreds. In the past, its members have disrupted eBay’s Inc PayPal after it stopped processing donations to the anti-secrecy site Wikileaks. . . . Some of the breaches and pilfered data in the latest campaign had previously been publicized by people who identify with Anonymous, as part of what the group dubbed ‘Operation Last Resort.’”
3. Hacker gets 10 years. VentureBeat.Com’s Meghan Kelly reports, “n 2011, Jeremy Hammond hacked into intelligence firm Stratfor, obtaining private e-mail, credit card numbers, passwords, and personal information in the name of political activism. . . . he received 10 years in jail under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. The CFAA has become a controversial piece of legislation for punishing people for accessing computer systems without permission. It has resulted in sentences, or proposed sentences, that many claim are too harsh to fit the crime. Hammond, in this case, says he’s being made an example to deter others from political ‘hacktivism’ and that the CFAA is being twisted to cover this form of political protest.”
1. Congress’ magic show. Understanding sequestration. DefenseMediaNetwork.Com’s Craig Collins interviews Todd Harrison, Senior Fellow for Defense Budget Studies, Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, on sequestration, and Congress’ not-so-sleight of hand is remarkable: “Why on Earth would Congress appropriate more money than the caps allow, knowing the caps are going to cut their appropriation? They can do that because voting on a higher level of defense spending gives everyone political cover, and then the caps will kick in and do the dirty work of cutting things. Now, they do that in a dumb, blind, nonstrategic way: Sequestration just cuts every account – with an exception for military personnel – by the same amount.”
2. Time to start those office pools: 83 days to our next crisis: “Twelve weeks from today, the US government will hit its borrowing limit. When Congress lifted the debt ceiling last month, for the first time ever, it pegged the increase to a specific date, rather than a dollar amount. The current borrowing authority expires in just 84 days, on February 7th. Three major policy challenges are converging in January. Government spending authority expires in the middle of the month, just three weeks ahead of the debt ceiling. There is also likely to be ongoing agonizing about the implementation of ObamaCare.”
OPINIONS EVERYONE HAS
1. The price of forgetting Libya. Aljazeera.Com contributor Solomon Dersso reminds us of the implications of Libya’s turmoil: “The deterioration of the political and security situation in Libya has been worsening throughout the year, stocking fears that the country risks total anarchy and civil war. Violence and instability have increased in parts of the country, while the level of insecurity, particularly in cities such as Tripoli and Benghazi, has worsened. Indeed, a simple survey of headlines such as ‘Libya: Going wrong’, ‘Libya on the brink’, ‘Premier’s brief ‘arrest’ highlights anarchy’, or ‘Deepening crisis in Libya’, all tell the story of a failing Libya.”
2. America’s global stature is slipping. But that might not be a bad thing. Christian Science Monitor’s Graham E. Fuller argues, “Things are getting worse for the United States, not because of our weak policies but because the times are changing, our capabilities and energies limited, and we haven’t recognized it yet. We can’t afford to keep on doing those things we shouldn’t have been doing in the first place.”
3. “Can Iraq be saved?” Also from Aljazeera.Com, contributor Salah Nasrawi argues, “Iraq’s disruption since the US invasion in 2003 is a national, if not an existential, quandary of great proportion that cannot be assessed by a vote on new election laws, or even by the election of a new parliament. It is the predicament of the massive failure to rebuild the Iraqi state and society after they were ruined by more than a decade of occupation, civil strife and mismanagement.”
Daily Intelligence: Morsi’s downfall detailed, Taliban kill 18, CJCS featured on CNN, and $12 billion OASIS RFP 24 July
*given the practically innumerable spellings of the last name of Egypt’s former president Morsi, the “Daily Intelligence” blog will use Morsi in its own text, though “Daily Intelligence” will not change spelling in borrowed materials.
by Ed Ledford
July 6, 2013
FROM THE DESK OF CLEARANCE JOBS.COM
1. Stay cool this summer – Stealth Wear. “Adam Harvey’s Stealth Wear – designed with a metallized fabric that protects against thermal imaging surveillance, a technology used widely by UAVs/drones – might be the catalyst that revives a cold-war mentality in our asymmetric world: but on the asymmetric cyber battlefield, drones don’t get bigger or heavier or slower. They get smarter and lighter and faster as detection-technology development accelerates counter a new kind of mobility.”
2. 100% Contractor Performance Review. Contributor Diana Rodriguez follows-up her January 2013 blog, “Feedback and Annual Reviews on a Government Contract” with a look at the historical requirements of contractor performance review and, more contemporaneously, the Under Secretary of Defense’s January 2013 memorandum directing “that by FY 2015, The Office of Federal Procurement Policy is recommending 100% compliance” for contractor performance review.
3. USNS Carl Brashear gets a makeover. BAE wins $10 contract and Brashear gets a few days at the spa: “Work will include inspection of the propeller shaft and stern tube, cleaning and painting of the hull, inspection and polish of the bow thruster propeller, installation of the cloropac unit and overhaul of the seal valves.” She deserves it.
THE FORCE AND THE FIGHT
1. Mori’s ouster detailed. Everything you wanted – and need – to know about the fall of Morsi, but were afraid to let people you didn’t know: Reuters’ Yasmine Saleh and Paul Taylor provide a view from inside in their detailed report: “For Egypt’s military chiefs, the final spur to rebellion came on June 26. That day top generals met Mohamed Mursi, the country’s first democratically elected president, and spoke bluntly, telling the Islamist leader what he should say in a major speech he planned as protests against him intensified around the country. ‘We told him it has to be short, respond to opposition demands to form a coalition government, amend the constitution and set a timeframe for the two actions,’ an officer present in the room told Reuters. ‘Yet he came out with a very long speech that said nothing. That is when we knew he had no intention of fixing the situation, and we had to prepare for Plan B.’”
2. Islamist fight back across Egypt. Reuters’ Mike Collett-White and Alastair Macdonald report, “Fierce clashes in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria left 12 dead and 200 injured, while in Cairo, five people were killed as pro- and anti-Mursi protesters ran amok in central areas and armored personnel carriers rumbled among them to restore calm. Five police officers were gunned down in separate incidents in the North Sinai town of El Arish, and while it was not clear whether the attacks were linked to Mursi’s ouster, hardline Islamists there have warned they would fight back.” See also AP’s “Egypt on Edge” and “Egyptians Clash.”
3. Taliban kill 18 Afghan National Police Friday. LongWarJournal.Com Bill Roggio reports, “The Taliban killed 18 Afghan security personnel in two separate suicide attacks in southern Afghanistan today. One of the attacks killed a border police commander. The largest of the two attacks took place at a police reserve unit in Tarin Kot [sic], the capital of Uruzgan province. A suicide bomber wearing a police uniform entered the dining facility and detonated his vest, killing 12 policemen and wounding five more, Reuters reported. Four of the wounded are reported to be in critical condition. . . . At least 22 Afghan policemen have been killed so far this month, according to a count by The Long War Journal. Among the policemen killed over the past five days are the senior female police officer in Helmand and a district police chief in Baghlan.”
4. Missile Defense fails test. According to American Forces Press Service, “Missile Defense Agency, the U.S. Air Force’s 30th Space Wing, the Joint Functional Component Command for Integrated Missile Defense, and U.S. Northern Command conducted an integrated exercise and flight test [on Friday, 5 July] of the ground-based midcourse defense element of the nation’s ballistic missile defense system.” All systems were not a go: “an intercept was not achieved.” Guess who’s working this weekend.
5. This Sunday – CJCS update on Egypt-U.S. mil-to-mil relationships. Sunday on “State of the Union,” CNN’s Candy Crowley airs an interview with Gen. Dempsey taped before Egypt’s military ousted Morsi: “’ I wanted to encourage them to protect all the Egyptian people, not to take sides in any particular issue, and to ensure that they were a part of the resolution of this, but in their proper role as a military which is to ensure stability, but not try to influence the outcome . . . .’” Egypt’s response: “’it’s their country and they will find their way.’” See also Aljazeera: “McCain urges US to suspend Egypt military aid.”
6. Distinguished Flying Cross to Osprey Pilots. DefenseMediaNetwork.Com reports, “Despite serving with distinction in Afghanistan since 2009, no Marine pilot of an MV-22 Osprey had ever been awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, the third highest medal a member of a flight crew can receive. That changed at a ceremony last week aboard Marine Corps Air Station New River, N.C. where two U.S. Marines of Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 365 (VMM-365) became the first Marine pilots of the MV-22 Osprey to be awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. Maj. Michael Hutchings and Capt. David Haake were presented the award for their actions on a mission in Afghanistan on June 27, 2012.”
1. Contractors on chopping block, with others. AP’s Lolita Baldor runs down the effects of sequestration in the world’s largest office building: “A day without pay, the first of 11 through September, comes next week for more than 650,000 people who hold civilian jobs with the Defense Department. Officials worry that the Pentagon will be hit even harder by layoffs in 2014 if automatic budget cuts continue as planned. Roughly 85 percent of the department’s nearly 900,000 civilians around the world will be furloughed one day each week over the next three months, according to the latest statistics provided by the Pentagon. But while defense officials were able to shift money around to limit the furloughs this year, thousands of civilian, military and contract jobs could be on the chopping block next year.”
2. $12 billion OASIS RFP makes it a Happy Hump Day 24 July. FederalTimes.Com reports, “The General Services Administration will issue a request for proposals for its much-awaited One Acquisition Solution for Integrated Services (OASIS) contract on July 24, according to the pre-solicitation notice. OASIS is a 10-year, indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract on which agencies across government can purchase professional services such as engineering, scientific and logistics services. The contract will be worth up to $12 billion, according to market research firm Deltek. GSA to issue RFP for OASIS contract July 24.”
3. $450 million Cloud contract – 26 August. FederalTimes.Com announces, “The Defense Information Systems Agency is looking to the private sector for help in defining a planned $450 million cloud-computing project. The agency is seeking industry feedback on a draft request for proposals released June 24, and it intends to issue a formal request for proposals on Aug. 26.”
TECH, PRIVACY, & SECRECY
2. Nicaragua and Venezuela seek the geek. FoxNews.Com reports, “NSA leaker Edward Snowden’s effort to evade prosecution in the U.S. took a turn toward Latin America Friday after the Presidents of Venezuela and Nicaragua announced they were prepared to grant NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden asylum. Although there were no concrete details from Presidents Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua or Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela, it is believed that they are the first offers of asylum that Snowden has received since he requested asylum in several countries, including Nicaragua and Venezuela.” See also, TheDailyBeast.Com’s comparison: Silkwood to Snowden. See also The Guardian’s take, “Edward Snowden is a whistleblower, not a spy.”
3. Prophetic thoughts on Privacy. In the wake of Snowden, (Re-)read NYT’s Op-Ed by Bill Keller: “When it comes to privacy, we are all hypocrites. We howl when a newspaper publishes public records about personal behavior. At the same time, we are acquiescing in a much more sweeping erosion of our privacy — government surveillance, corporate data-mining, political microtargeting, hacker invasions — with no comparable outpouring of protest. As a society we have no coherent view of what information is worth defending and how to defend it. . . . When our privacy is invaded in the name of national security, we — and our elected representatives, afraid to be thought soft — generally go along quietly.” Really, why were we all so surprised by PRISM?
1. Mary Jane for Mayors. TheDailyBeast.Com’s Matt Taylor reports, 180 mayors push pot platforms into the D.C. spotlight: “The 180 elected officials attending the annual meeting of the U.S. conference of mayors in Sin City unanimously adopted a resolution urging the federal government to let states and localities make their own marijuana policy. The bipartisan sponsors—including, along with the usual suspects, leaders like Jean Robb, the Tea Party–backed conservative mayor of Deerfield Beach, Florida—seemed to show that the war on the war on drugs is now in full sway, a process that has accelerated since voters in Colorado and Washington state embraced weed legalization at the polls last fall.” Dude.
2. Pile on the I.R.S. WaPo’s Josh Hicks tracks growing scrutiny from the left: “Democrats are now questioning the Treasury inspector general’s audit in light of the new IRS documents, which show that terms such as ‘progressive,’ ‘health care legislation’ and ‘medical marijuana’ appeared on a multipart ‘Be on the Lookout’ list, or BOLO, that helped agents determine which groups deserved additional screening.”
OPINIONS EVERYONE HAS
1. Elections, Not Generals. Pulitzer Prize Reuter’s journalist David Rohde argues, “There is little reason to have faith in Egypt’s broken political process at this point. But the best way to ease the country’s bitter divisions are immediate elections that include the Muslim Brotherhood.”
2. Sliding down the slippery slope, for real. The Atlantic’s Derek Khanna asks – and answers – “If the justification for PRISM and associated programs is predicated on their potential effectiveness, why shouldn’t such logic be applied elsewhere?” Good question.
3. Egypt’s Rocky Road. Forbes’ Paul Gregory writes, “The Egyptian people, with their long history of secularism, were simply not ready for a religious order imposed on them by a minority party. Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood came to understand that they could achieve their vision of an Islamic state, contrary to the will of the people, only by non-democratic means. Thus Morsi began tightening the screws on other civil and administrative institutions with the main goal of achieving authoritarian rule. As the Egyptian people grasped what was happening, they took to the streets. They looked at him as a budding dictator not as the leader of a democratic state.”
1. King Tut.
2. In the closet.
3. Cut off the nose.
“One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple.” Ray Smith in Kerouac’s Dharma Bums