How Iran helps Hezbollah help Assad, the U.S. Air Force’s high heat penetration weapon, and Minnesota’s al-Shabab (Arabic for “The Youth”) – all in today’s defense headlines.
FROM THE DESK OF CLEARANCE JOBS.COM
1. Just in case you were feeling better about things, contributor Jillian “The Downer” Hamilton with little but bad news: “Trouble is brewing for LinkedIn. The company has denied hacking and spamming LinkedIn users’ contacts. . . . Sadly, the sun may not rise to see a [Continuing Resolution] in place, but rather a government shutdown. . . . In the aftermath of the Navy Yard tragedy, some industry consultants warn that adjustments or changes to guidelines could escalate contract costs in a time of decreasing federal budgets. . . .” Enjoy the (maybe really, really long) weekend.
2. No shutdowns or sequestration in self-employment. If there is a shutdown – or even if there is not and sequestration continues to bite – self-employment and entrepreneurship might just be the answer, and veterans are great at both. Contributor Tranette Ledford reports, “When it comes to business ownership, veterans are standouts. They’re good at it and as their military service demonstrates, they don’t cede defeat easily. According to the Small Business Administration, one in seven veterans is now self-employed. . . . the highest percentage of any demographic. . . . close to 70% of veteran entrepreneurs are still up and running a decade later.”
THE FORCE AND THE FIGHT
1. Hezbollah, Iran, Syria, and Assad. We understand the myriad terrorist organizations muscling their way into Syria’s rebellion. Reuters contributor Samia Nakhoul’s SPECIAL REPORT examines Iran’s own proxy war: “Taken in April during a discreet visit by the Hezbollah chief to his financial and ideological masters, the photograph captured a turning point in Syria’s civil war and the broader struggle between Sunnis and Shi’ites, the two main branches of Islam. It was the moment when Iran made public its desire for Hezbollah to join the battle to help save Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad, diplomats said. At the time, Assad and his Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shi’ite Islam, were losing ground to an advancing Sunni insurgency. Within days of returning home, Nasrallah gave a televised speech making it clear that Hezbollah would fight alongside Assad to prevent Syria falling ‘into the hands’ of Sunni jihadi radicals, the United States and Israel. The very survival of the Shi’ites was at stake, he said.”
2. al-Shabab’s Minnesota pipeline. AP’s Steve Karnowski reports from Minneapolis, “Leaders of the nation’s largest Somali community say some of their young men are still being enticed to join the terror group that has claimed responsibility for the deadly mall attack in Kenya, despite a concentrated effort to shut off what authorities call a ‘deadly pipeline’ of men and money. . . . At least 18 men and three women have been charged in the ongoing Minnesota investigation. Some went to Somalia while others were accused of aiding the effort mainly by raising money. . . . The group often appeals young men who’ve had trouble assimilating into American life, perhaps because they are unable to get a job, dropped out of school or got involved in gangs” See also, “Al-Shabab carries out fresh attack in Kenya.”
3. Today – SecState Kerry meets Iran’s Mohammed Javad Zarif. Aljazeera.Com reports, “Both leaders are slated to be present at a meeting of Iran and the P5+1 group – the U.S., Britain, France, Germany, France, Russia and China – which has been locked in fruitless talks over Iran’s nuclear program since 2006. Should both show up, theirs would be the first meeting since May 2007 between an American secretary of state and an Iranian foreign minister. . . . While prior rounds of talks between P5+1 and Iran have largely been confined to nuclear negotiators and technical teams, Thursday’s meeting at the foreign ministerial level suggests renewed political will among the stakeholders to pursue a diplomatic solution.” Also, read the transcript of David Ignatius’s one-on-one with President Hassan Rouhani.
4. In Afghanistan, NATO soldier dead in Green-on-Blue attack. Khaama.Com reports, “Another NATO soldier was shot dead in an insider attack in eastern Afghanistan on Thursday . . . . This comes as three International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) service members died when an individual wearing an Afghan National Security Forces uniform shot them in eastern Afghanistan earlier this week.”
1. $141 million to Harris Corp. for MNVR. NextGov.Com contributor reports, “The Army awarded Harris Corp. a $140.7 million contract for a vehicle radio designed to link infantry platoons and companies with higher headquarters. The mid-tier networking vehicular radio, or MNVR, runs government-owned software waveforms developed under the now-defunct joint tactical radio system project and adopted by Harris and other vendors for use in their radios. . . . ‘With MNVR, information collected at the farthest tactical edge can be quickly shared across the network, enabling our soldiers to communicate effectively for any mission in any region . . . .’”
2. “$3.9 Billion U.S. Defense Contract Includes Missiles For UAE.” NPR.Org reports, “The U.S. Defense Department has awarded a rich military contract to Lockheed Martin, agreeing to pay more than $3.9 billion for a missile-defense system. The deal calls for a maximum of 110 high-altitude interceptor missiles for the United States, and 192 versions of the missiles for export to the United Arab Emirates. . . . THAAD [Terminal High Altitude Area Defense] . . . would be used to track hostile missiles, with the goal of destroying them at altitudes that extend beyond the Earth’s atmosphere. It can use data from the Navy’s Aegis guided missile cruisers, satellites or other sources.”
TECH, PRIVACY, & SECRECY
1. Cyber National Mission Force – ready for the fight. American Forces Press Service contributor Cheryl Pellerin reports, “U.S. Cyber Command has activated the headquarters for its Cyber National Mission Force, the one of its three forces that would react to a cyber attack on the nation . . . . Cybercom also is conducting exercises such as Cyber Guard and Cyber Flag, the general said. These include the combatant commands, the National Guard, the reserves and interagency participation to develop the tactics, techniques and procedures and working relationships needed to conduct operations in cyberspace.”
2. Kinetic Fireball Incendiary (KFI) Munitions: 1000 degrees, no explosion, no collateral damage, no more nukes. DefenseMediaNetwork.Com’s Scott R. Gourley covers the evolution of munitions in the asymmetric world: “As part of its Heated And Mobile Munitions Employing Rockets (HAMMER) program, the U.S. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center Systems Interface and Integration Branch . . . is seeking information and/or conceptual designs to modify the service’s current BLU-109 ‘penetration weapon’ to dispense Kinetic Fireball Incendiary (KFI) munitions.”
3. Mouth watering to get in iPhone 5S? Get ready to slobber. VentureBeat.Com contributor John Koetsier’s impossible-to-be-objective review: “The mostest, bestest, muchiest iPhone ever . . . the best mobile operating system on the planet. . . . the iPhone 5S is a no-brainer upgrade for any consumer wanting a new phone, especially if you have a 4 or 4S, and is also a smart choice for any business looking for a safe, secure, simple mobile operating system that will keep its corporate data and networks secure.”
1. No man is an island of misfit toys. Washington builds caucus for toys. Really. WashingtonExaminer.Com reports, “A new bipartisan Congressional Toy Caucus has just been launched, egged on by the $22 billion industry that feels persecuted by burdensome federal regulations and overseas trade barriers. ‘The toy industry is under fire,’ said Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn. ‘What we’re trying to do is keep this creativity and this production here, domestically based.’” Please, just bring back Twister . . . and bell-bottoms . . . and those cool PEACE patches you sew on the pockets of your jeans . . . .
2. A new political dynasty. We love them, or love to hate them. Whatever the stance, the Clintons are poised to be Washington’s next royal family: “Former President Bill Clinton thinks his daughter, Chelsea Clinton, would make a great president — someday. But when it came to saying whether his wife, Hillary Clinton, or his daughter would be a better fit for the job, Bill Clinton couldn’t quite choose. ‘Day after tomorrow? My wife, because she’s had more experience,’ Bill Clinton told CNN Wednesday. ‘Over the long run? Chelsea. She knows more than we do about everything.’”
OPINIONS EVERYONE HAS
1. Iran: Festina lente (make haste slowly). WaPo’s David Ignatius argues, “The U.S.-Iranian diplomatic train is rolling fast, with President Hassan Rouhani talking Wednesday about a three-month timetable for a nuclear deal. But Rouhani was also cautiously insistent about staying on the single track of the nuclear issue — perhaps fearing that if this becomes a runaway, it will derail.”
2. Nowhere good to turn: Boehner’s conundrum. Time’s Alex Altman and Zeke J. Miller argue, “This week’s budget theater in the U.S. Senate has so far spared House Speaker John Boehner from a tough decision. At some point over the next few days, however, the Ohio Republican will be forced to forge ahead with a strategy for keeping the federal government running without sparking a revolt among his restive members. When House Republicans meet on Thursday morning in the basement of the Capitol, Boehner has at least three options he can present. All of them are flawed . . . .”
3. “Banning the Brotherhood and the end of the beginning of Egypt’s revolution.” Aljazeera.Com contributor Mark LeVine argues, “Indeed, in suspending the entirety of the Brotherhood’s operations, including its vast social service network that has served as a lifeline for millions of Egyptians for many decades is an act of extremism by the Egyptian deep state (of which the judiciary, despite some well-deserved praise for relative independence against the worst excesses of the old and present regimes, is still essentially a part) that might just prove its ultimate undoing.”
3. Unknown Comic.