Tag Archives: Terrorism

Front of Helos

Iran in Syria, Kinetic Fireball Incendiary (KFI) Munitions, and “The Youth” of Minneapolis.

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.

 

Shutdown Countdown D-5 & Congratulations Oracle Team!

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 attackKhaama.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.”

CONTRACT WATCH

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 fightAmerican 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.”

POTOMAC TWO-STEP

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.”

THE FUNNIES

1.  iPhone 5S socialization.

2.  Bye, bye, Blackberry.

3.  Unknown Comic.

101ST CE

“Peace is within reach,” Terrorists without borders, and SOCOM’s vision for TALOS.

At the U.N., Iranian President Hassan Rouhani extends an olive branch, al-Shabaab is defeated at Westgate but warns of more to come, and SOCOM extends competition for its Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit (TALOS) – all in today’s defense headlines.

 

U.N. Speeches:  Obama’s & Rouhani’s   and  Hump Day help.

FROM THE DESK OF CLEARANCE JOBS.COM

1.   Job security – first before salary. Contributor Tranette Ledford takes a look at which security jobs offer job security: “The technical sector is expected to rank high when it comes to staying power.  It also happens to place a high value on security clearances and offers the salaries to prove it.”

2.  Safe and secure with ClearanceJobs.Com. Contributor Eric Pecinovsky explains how ClearanceJobs.Com works hard to keep your private information private: “When creating ClearanceJobs.com, we contacted the U.S. Defense Security Service . . . to help us follow suggested guidelines, learn about potential threats, and fully understand what responsibilities employers and people with security clearances have to their country. Our system design maintains the U.S. Defense Security Service recommendations.”

THE FORCE AND THE FIGHT

1.  On President Obama’s U.N. remarksNYTimes.Com reports, “President Obama . . . laid down a new blueprint for America’s role in the strife-torn Middle East, declaring that the United States would use all its levers of power, including military force, to defend its interests, even as it accepted a “hard-earned humility” about its ability to influence events in Syria, Iran, and other countries. . . . Obama embraced a diplomatic opening to Iran, saying he instructed Secretary of State John Kerry to begin high-level negotiations on its nuclear program. He called on the Security Council to pass a resolution that would impose consequences on Syria if it failed to turn over its chemicals weapons. And he delivered a pitch for peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, restarted at the prodding of Mr. Kerry.”  See also, “Obama pledges diplomacy with Iran.”

2.  On President Hassan Rouhani’s U.N. remarks. TheGuardian.Com reports, “Iran’s new president, Hassan Rouhani, declared that ‘peace is within reach’ . . . in a hotly anticipated speech at the United Nations in which he offered immediate negotiations aimed at removing any ‘reasonable concerns’ over his country’s nuclear programme. Rouhani argued that in return, Iran wanted the international community to recognise its right to enrich uranium, the issue that has been at the heart of the diplomatic impasse over the past 11 years.” See also, a more moderate face of Tehran.

3.  Syrian National Coalition rejected. Rebels in the fight jointly reject foreign-based opposition groups. Aljazeera.Com reports, “Key Syrian Islamist rebel groups say they do not recognise any foreign-based opposition group, including the Syrian National Coalition. . . . The groups include members of the main rebel Free Syrian Army, as well as Liwa al-Tawhid, the main rebel force in the northern province of Aleppo, and Jabhat al-Nusra, an al-Qaeda-linked group. . . Ahrar al-Sham also signed on, as did the 19th Division, a significant but relatively new addition to the mainstream FSA. In their statement, they also called for Islamic law to be applied.”

4.  al Shabaab: “wait for the dark days.”  LongWarJournal.Com’s Bill Roggio caps the Westgate siege in Nairobi: “The Westgate attack is the worst terrorist act by al Qaeda and its allies in Kenya since the 1998 bombing at the US Embassy in the Kenyan capital that killed 212 people, including 12 Americans. . . . Shabaab, al Qaeda’s affiliate in East Africa, and the Muslim Youth Center, which is a branch of Shabaab, have conducted a string of smaller attacks and plots in northern Kenya and the capital since 2011. The incidents primarily consist of shootings, attacks on police and military outposts, and IED and grenade attacks.”  See also Aljazeera.Com’s “al-Shabab ‘not acting alone’” and AP’s “137 killed in Kenyan Mall.”

5.  In Egypt, The Daily Freedom shut down. Egyptian authorities close the Islamic Brotherhood’s daily. Aljazeera.Com reports, “Egyptian authorities have shut down the headquarters of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice newspaper in Cairo. It is the latest move aimed at crushing the Islamist movement, the Brotherhood said on Wednesday. Police stormed the building overnight and removed the contents. A source at the Cairo Security Department said the raid followed Monday’s court ruling which banned the Brotherhood and ordered its funds seized.”

6.  Napolitano – shoes too big to fill. TheDailyBeast.Com reports, “Many potential candidates see little upside in the DHS job and much that could go wrong, potentially harming their professional trajectories. Homeland Security is a sprawling agency that handles a vast array of pressing security and policy issues, including counterterrorism, immigration enforcement and cyber-security and disaster-relief. The 240,000-employee department was cobbled together from 22 separate agencies in the wake of the 9/11 attacks and reports to no less than 100 different congressional committees and subcommittees. While DHS has perhaps outgrown infancy, it is a long way from being a fully mature federal agency that fits smoothly into the wider federal government.”

CONTRACT WATCH

1.  SOCOM – extending its vision for TALOS solutions. DefenseMediaNetwork.Com’s Scott R. Gourley reports, “According to the Sept. 12 announcement, USSOCOM is inviting ‘industry, academia, individuals, and government labs to submit revolutionary low [emphasis added] Technology Readiness Level (TRL) technology demonstration nominations addressing revolutionary/novel technologies/developmental approaches leading to possible government/industry collaboration for development of USSOCOM technology capabilities supporting a Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit (TALOS).’ . . . proposed solutions ‘should take into consideration ‘lightening the load’ of the operator, mentally and/or physically while providing maximum protection, agility, and tactical dominance.’”

2.  $406 million: The Rolls-Royce of Defense contracts, literally. Fool.Com’s Rich Smith reports, “The Department of Defense announced a staggering 51 new contracts Monday, the most contracts it’s awarded on any single day, at any time this year. In total, these contracts are worth more than $2.14 billion. The biggest contract of all went not to a U.S. defense contractor, but to . . . Rolls-Royce (NASDAQOTH: RYCEY  ) [which] won two contracts yesterday. But it was the first one that was truly huge. Valued at up to $406 million, it will have Rolls performing engine supply support on Allison T-56 engines under a contract that runs through Sept. 30, 2019. Used primarily to power Lockheed Martin C-130 transport aircraft, T-56 engines are found in the militaries of many nations around the globe. This particular contract will have Rolls doing work for the U.S. Navy and U.S. Air Force, as well as for the air forces of Poland, Jordan, and the Philippines.”

TECH, PRIVACY, & SECRECY

1.  Kindle Fire on fire.  Can’t get the iPhone you want?  Try Kindle Fire HDX.  AP reports, “Amazon is refreshing its line-up of tablet computers with new devices called Kindle Fire HDX, which are significantly faster and lighter than the previous generation. The 7-inch and 8.9-inch versions also have sharper, more colorful displays than older models, and both have more pixels per inch than the latest iPad.”

2.  Security and Big Data don’t mix. If you think your data is secure, well, forget it. According to VentureBeat.Com contributor John Koetsier, it probably isn’t securable: “in many cases the people who create and manage the massive datasets that our social and advertising and search infrastructures rely on every day are the very same people who are helping the government collect and manage the terabytes of data that shadow three-letter agencies are collecting. So it should be no big surprise, I suppose, that almost two thirds of developers who think they could detect spying believe that spying is going on. Perhaps even more telling, almost three quarters of those developers also say traditional security doesn’t work with big data.”

3.  Blackberry – DoD’s love affair. In spite of Blackberry’s woes, the Department of Defense remains a loyal follower. In fact, the likes of DoD is exactly what Blackberry was talking about. NextGov.Com’s Aliya Sternstein reports, “The Pentagon is outfitting military networks with software to support tens of thousands of BlackBerry Z10 and Q10 smartphones this year . . . . BlackBerry on Friday announced the new strategy, which hinges on sales to large enterprises, such as the federal government, rather than personal shoppers, who largely purchase Apple iPhones and mobile devices based on Google’s Android operating system.”

POTOMAC TWO-STEP

1.   Oh, no he didn’t. Oh, yes, he did. The strange little man from Texas fashions one of the most strained similes imaginable: “During a floor speech Tuesday aimed at reviving the already-dim prospects for his effort to defund Obamacare, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) likened his doubters to Nazi appeasers. ‘If you go to the 1940s, Nazi Germany,’ Cruz said. ‘Look, we saw in Britain, Neville Chamberlain, who told the British people, ‘Accept the Nazis. Yes, they’ll dominate the continent of Europe but that’s not our problem.’”  However, some argue that “Cruz Might Just Have Won the Future for the GOP” and “GOP Senators Will Bow to Ted Cruz.”

2.  Twitter twerking. Who the hell has the time to generate a multitude of fake followers?  Oh, the President.  The Daily Mail reports, “Of the president’s 36.9 million Twitter followers, an astonishing 53 per cent – or 19.5 million – are fake accounts, according to a search engine at the Internet research vendor StatusPeople.com. Just 20 per cent of Obama’s Twitter buddies are real people who are active users. Overall, the five most influential accounts linked to the Obama administration – the first lady has two – account for 23.4 million fake followers.”

OPINIONS EVERYONE HAS

1.  Terrorists Without Borders. Aljazeera.Com contributor Daniel E. Agbiboa offers an al-Shabaab primer and argues, “Resolving terrorism . . . requires a non-kinetic, coordinated response that fuses domestic, regional and international strategies along the lines of diplomacy, development, and demilitarisation. Declared wars on terror, including missile strikes, state terror, assassination, and invasion, have only a limited capacity to root out Islamist terrorism because they fail to engage with the underlying existential conditions and unifying ideologies that can shape jihadist groups, like al-Shabab, Boko Haram, Ansaru, and al-Qaeda, who reject the status quo and develop a violent pedagogy that aims for maximum casualties.”

2.  “The Real Reason al-Shabab Attacked a Mall in Kenya.”  DefenseOne.Com contributor Bronwyn Bruton, Deputy Director of the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center, argues, “Al-Shabab has declared that its attack on that Westgate Mall is retribution for Kenya’s meddling in Kismayo. But despite the claim, and Kenya’s obvious misbehavior, the attack probably has more to do with al-Shabab’s internal dynamics.”

3.  “How President Rouhani and Ayatollah Khamenei could reform Iran.” CSM.Com contributors Hossein Askari, Dariush Zahedi, and Ali Ezzatyar argue, “It will take far more than symbolic visits and gestures, however, to restore Iran’s struggling economy or sense of justice. With Iran’s economy in total ruin, it will take unprecedented vision and courage. Even with the backing of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Rouhani’s task will be difficult, especially as he must challenge the power of the Revolutionary Guard and Iranian intelligence services.”

THE FUNNIES

1.   A bite of the Big Apple.

2.  Acme politics.

3.  Not new camouflage.