ANA Plan Brief

Diplomatic Revival, the Ultra Light Vehicle (ULV), and DoD’s “Complex Catastrophe” – Daily Intelligence

Developments in Syria seem to spark a new era of diplomacy, the Ultra Light Vehicle prototype in the spotlight, and the fight for turf in the cyberspace, all in today’s defense headlines.

Monday’s main points & There she is, Miss America.

FROM THE DESK OF CLEARANCEJOBS.COM

1.  The art and science of the security clearance cycle. By way of the Snowden example, Contributor Jeffrey Bennett examines and explains essential measures necessary to keep secrets safe: “The justification and request for security clearance, investigation, adjudication, periodic re-investigation and continuous evaluation process, work together to find the insider threat to classified information. In this case, threat is any adversary (internal or external) with intent and capability to gain a security clearance and exploit classified information. Regardless of the threat’s (Snowden) motivation, countermeasures should be in place to identify and stop the threat.”

2.  The craft of security. Also from contributor Jeffrey Bennett, understand the nuances of your responsibilities and the risks you face as an expert Facility Security Officer: “FSOs and security professionals should continue to make it a point to study their craft and learn ways to counter evolving threat. Business intelligence methods should also continue to keep up with technology to analyze and prevent the internal and external influences that can ruin the enterprise. The threats corporations face include: theft, vandalism, workplace violence, fraud, and computer attacks. The role of security to converge traditional physical protection with the capabilities of IT systems is necessary.”

THE FORCE AND THE FIGHT

1.  Diplomacy in Syria as an example for the region. While some deplore an attack averted, President Obama imagines a revival of diplomacy.  UPI.Com reports, “President Obama said Sunday he was hopeful the plan to place Syria’s chemical weapons under international control could set the stage for a peace process. . . . Obama dismissed the harsh criticism he has received since calling for a military response to the August gas attack in a Damascus suburb that left a reported 1,400 civilians dead. He told ABC he was not interested in political ‘style points’ and was happy Russian President Vladimir Putin was using his influence with the Syrian regime.”

2.  Speaking of diplomacy, read Kissinger’s and Brezezinski’s take on the crisis in Syria, from Fareed Zakaria’s GPS on CNN, Sunday:  Kissinger argues, “The issue in Syria is the historic conflict between Shiites and Sunnis and the Sunni revolt against a Shiite minority dominated Syria in which, however, most of the other minorities are supporting the Alawite, which is the Shia position. So, the position for the United States is to work on a transition government and not make it dependent with the — on the removal of the Syrian leader, especially not make it dependent at the very beginning of the process. From the beginning, Putin has said that the immediate removal of Assad would lead to chaos. That’s probably a correct sentiment.”

3.  For Syria, Paris talks put pressure on AssadAljazeera.Com reports, “France, Britain and the United States have said they will seek a ‘strong and robust’ UN resolution that sets precise and binding deadlines on removal of Syria’s chemical weapons, the office of the French President Francois Hollande said. . . . On Sunday, President Hollande said ‘the military option must remain’ to force Syria to give up its chemical arsenal. . . . many of those who blame the Syrian regime for the chemical attack and supported military strikes say the pressure is on President Bashar al-Assad to uphold his end of any deal.”

4.  Syrian rebel infighting – the complexity of the fight and an opportunity for the West.Time’s Aryn Baker reports on growing tensions among rebel groups that could, on one hand, spell defeat for the rebellion and, on the other, better define the good guys for the West: “If the moderate-leaning rebel groups can sever their symbiotic relationship with their al-Qaeda affiliates for good, they stand to get significantly more support from Western backers wary of inadvertently assisting old enemies. But it won’t be easy — even as the rivals battle for turf in Aleppo province, they have united to inflict a resounding defeat on government forces elsewhere in the country.”

5.  Afghan good enough – a standard for successTheDailyBeast.Com contributor Jacob Siegel describes the evolution of an idiom: ““Afghan good enough” is the military phrase for limiting our objectives to what is achievable and not overreaching. Given the country’s violent history and its present condition less as a nation-state than a patchwork of tribal groups, Afghan good enough has become, for many within the military, the best that we can hope for. Facing short timelines and intractable obstacles, the military has slowly weaned itself off the gung-ho ideals it originally held and defined its expectations down. . . . It’s hard to achieve a recognizable victory in a war whose aims keep being redefined, but perhaps this, too, is Afghan good enough.”

CONTRACT WATCH

1.  “Complex catastrophe,” cyberspace and contractors: new front lines, opportunities, and threatsCSM.Com staff writer Anna Mulrine conducts an Intelligence Prep of the new Battlefield: “the US military is forging ahead with its own cyberdefense plans. While the Posse Comitatus Act largely bars the US military from getting involved in law enforcement endeavors, a new Department of Defense publication argues that the Pentagon can provide ‘law enforcement actions that are performed primarily for a military purpose, even when incidentally assisting civil authorities’ . . . . That includes cyberattacks, under the category of ‘complex catastrophe’ – a ‘new addition to the DOD lexicon’ introduced in the DOD report . . . . ‘There is some turf-marking that seems to be going on on the part of the Pentagon.’ It’s a lexicon that has been embraced, too, by defense contractors eyeing the end of the war in Afghanistan and vying for their next business opportunity. Half of Booz Allen’s $5.8 billion annual revenue comes from US military and intelligence agency contracts.”

2.  Lead contractor Hardwire LLC and the Ultra Light Vehicle (ULV)DefenseMediaNetwork.Com contributor Scott R. Gourley deconstructs the prototype: “The ULV prototype platform features a hybrid powertrain design with two electric motors – front and rear – with either capable of powering the vehicle, providing a level of mobility redundancy. Moreover, by eliminating the need for a driveshaft and other traditional automotive components beneath the vehicle, the platform can be optimized for underbody survivability through the integration of various blast-mitigating kits under the hull for higher threat levels. Interior technologies include a crushable floating floor system that decouples the crew’s feet and legs from the steel hull and absorbs energy, adjustable stroking seats, five-point restraint systems, and spatial accommodations to mitigate head impacts and flail injuries.”

TECH, PRIVACY, & SECRECY

1.  Drones, drones, and more dronesWired.Com contributor Allen McDuffee maps out DARPA’s plan for Hydra: “Hydra, named after the serpent-like creature with many heads in Greek mythology, would create an undersea network of unmanned payloads and platforms to increase the capability and speed the response to threats like piracy, the rising number of ungoverned states, and sophisticated defenses at a time when the Pentagon is forced to make budget cuts. According to DARPA, the Hydra system ‘represents a cost effective way to add undersea capacity that can be tailored to support each mission’ that would still allow the Navy to conduct special operations and contingency missions. In other words, the decreasing number of naval vessels can only be in one place at a time.”

2.  Be a Bluetooth guruTime’s Techland answers the eternal riddles confusing Bluetooth connectivity: “Bluetooth is all great when it works. But if you’re someone who likes to play around with these kinds of connected gadgets, you know it can be frustrating when there’s a hang-up pairing the two. Here are some common causes of pairing problems as well as advice on what you can do about them.”

3.  The Snowden bounce – the tech industry isn’t suffering from Snowden’s betrayalReuters’ Joseph Menn explains that “smaller U.S. companies offering encryption and related security services are seeing a jump in business overseas, along with an uptick in sales domestically as individuals and companies work harder to protect secrets. ‘Our value proposition had been that it’s a wild world out there, while doing business internationally you need to protect yourself,’ said Jon Callas, co-founder of phone and text encryption provider Silent Circle, where revenue quadrupled from May to June on a small base. ‘Now the message people are getting from the newspapers every day is that it’s a wild world even domestically.’”

POTOMAC TWO-STEP

1.  Slow dancing toward 2016. Biden and Hillary square off with not-necessarily-so-subtle gestures toward Pennsylvania Ave: “With most Democrats keeping an eye on former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for hints about her 2016 plans, Vice President Joe Biden’s appearance at Iowa’s 36th annual ‘Tom Harkin Steak Fry,’ may one day be viewed as a telling sign of his presidential intentions. . . . Many in Washington believe [Biden] will not run if Clinton runs, and she is making a regular series of public appearances that could easily be interpreted as setting the stage for a campaign.”

2.  Obama’s Persian dance.  First in letters, now, potentially, face-to-face, President Obama stands to make a breakthrough in U.S.-Iranian diplomacy at the United Nations: “An exchange of letters between Barack Obama and the Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani, has set the stage for a possible meeting between the two men at the UN next week in what would be the first face-to-face encounter between a US and Iranian leader since Iran’s 1979 revolution. . . . In a television interview aired on Sunday, Obama made clear that there was a diplomatic opening with Iran, not only over the nuclear question but also over Syria. He confirmed earlier reports that he and Rouhani had ‘reached out’ to each other, exchanging letters. US officials were skeptical about a Rouhani meeting, but some observers said the Geneva deal on Syria’s chemical weapons has opened new space for global diplomacy.”

OPINIONS EVERYONE HAS

1.  The Few. The Proud. The Marines. The advertisement campaign. Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James Amos argues, “Our nation requires a Marine Corps that is ready, forward deployed and able to respond to crisis on a moment’s notice. This will not change for the foreseeable future, no matter the budgetary woes our country faces. . . . As our nation reduces its overseas forces, there remains a heightened requirement for a very capable crisis response force, one that can deploy anywhere quickly, provide a variety of response options, a force that can buy time for national decision-makers when the need arises. The Marine Corps is, and will continue to be, the answer to this need. This is what we do . . . this is who we are!”

2.  “The Right’s Sickening Syria Spin.”  TheDailyBeast.Com’s Michael Tomasky argues, “I don’t know about you, but I’m not very interested in being lectured that Bashar al-Assad has no real intention of giving up his chemical weapons by the very same people who a decade ago were pushing this country into war—and having the deranged gall to call the rest of us unpatriotic—on the argument that there was no possible way a monster like Saddam Hussein had given up his chemical weapons. Barack Obama has been forced to spend about 70 percent of his presidential energies trying to repair crises foreign and domestic that these people created, and forced to do so against their iron opposition on all fronts; and now that he’s achieved a diplomatic breakthrough, they have the audacity to argue that he sold America out to Vladimir Putin? It’s staggering and sickening.”

3.  “. . . the dunces are all in confederacy against him.” Coming in Der Spiegel, former SecDef Rumsfeld critiques Obama’s foreign policy: “In an interview to be published in the next issue of SPIEGEL, former US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has strongly criticized President Barack Obama’s Syria policies. ‘I believe the reason he has had difficulty gaining support both in the US and from other countries is because he has not explained what he hopes to do, what the mission would be and what he hopes to accomplish,’ Rumsfeld said. ‘To gain support in our Congress and from other nations requires clarity, an acceptable mission and an explicit outcome.”  [Actually achieving that outcome would be key, too.]

THE FUNNIES

1.  Let’s get on with it.

2.  The budget.

3.  P. Dean does Texas.

Ed Ledford appreciates the most challenging, complex, and high stake communications requirements. As his principal’s spokesman and speechwriter in Afghanistan, Ed composed, edited, and presented operational guidance and strategies to national and international elected and appointed leaders and the media during the McChrystal-Petraeus era. His portfolio includes policy and strategy papers; correspondence with Members of Congress, senior Department of State and Defense officials, foreign counterparts, chiefs of industry; and innumerable speeches. Ed edits and writes blogs, fiction, nonfiction, poetry. A native of Asheville, N.C., Ed currently works from his office in Charlottesville, Va. He enjoys hiking, camping, and exploring. You can find him online at EdLedford.com.

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