Inspectors General, Boots on the Ground, and Military Transition Tips – Daily Intelligence

The military’s fading sway on sexual assault prosecutions, budget fights and inspectors general, all in today’s daily intelligence round-up.

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U.S. Army photo

FROM THE DESK OF CLEARANCE JOBS.COM

1.  Somebody’s thinking ahead about the 2014 drawdown in Afghanistan, and it’s ClearanceJobs.com’s Jillian Hamilton:  “Recent wars have shown an increase in the use of private security contractors. Perhaps more than any other conflict, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have been supported by contractors. As of March 2013, 62% of the total force in Afghanistan were contractors, according to a recent CRS report. All changes to prior operating procedures require some assessment and improvement in order to be more effective in future endeavors.”

2.  T. Ledford on Transitioning?  Mil to Civ, that is.  Don’t let the security clearance languish, says T. Ledford:  “So you served as a helicopter pilot.  Or aboard ships.  Or operating tanks.  On paper, your military experience may not look like a good match for some of the jobs that now interest you as a civilian.  But don’t be too quick to pass on your hopes for a career change.  Successfully making the switch often comes down to your own narrative.  Connecting the dots between your past and your future career sometimes requires crafting a really good story – and illustrating it with your security clearance.”

THE FORCE AND THE FIGHT

1. Military’s sway over sexual assault eroding.  “Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand, Democrat of New York, has introduced the most sweeping proposal, which would give military prosecutors, rather than commanders, the power to decide which sexual assault cases to try. She has said the measure is principally intended to increase the number of people who report crimes without fear of retaliation and professionalize the process, but it has been largely rejected by military brass.”

2.  Budget fight start today.  As always, one to watch.  “The fights begin in earnest on Wednesday when the Republican-dominated House Armed Services Committee meets to vote on the Obama administration’s $526.6 billion Defense Department budget plan. The hearing will be the first major congressional test for the military blueprint, which is certain to face revisions by lawmakers.”

3.  Let’s not think too far ahead.  Commander in Afghanistan reluctant to commit to 2014 drawdown numbers: “The top commander of the U.S.-led military coalition in Afghanistan brushed aside calls for a decision now on how many troops will remain in the country after 2014, saying it would be necessary to assess the security and political situation this summer and fall.”

4.  Strategic Choices and Management Review (SCMR) On Track:   “DoD official have been vague about the actual end product of the review other than to say it will inform the 2015 budget and be the foundation for the 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review. These officials have said the inputs will give them options for areas to cuts under a range of budget scenarios.”

CONTRACT WATCH

1.  Northrop Grumman links with DIA:  “Northrop Grumman has won a $318 million task order to support the full software development life cycle of the Defense Intelligence Agency’s enterprise-centric information technology architecture.”

2.  Stop doing your job properly, say GSA supes:  Lawmakers are calling on the General Services Administration to strengthen its contracting oversight and take action against officials who pressured subordinates to accept contracts with higher-than-necessary prices and unfavorable terms.

3.  Does this go under Tech or Contract Watch???  Are IGs the only ones capable of objectivity and good judgment?  Apparently. GSA’s own IG Brian D. Miller “found that directors for the agency’s technology -acquisition division improperly intervened when contracting staff members determined that certain proposals were not in taxpayers’ best interests.”

TECH, PRIVACY, & SECRECY

1.  Air Force anticipates 15% increase in cyber jobs.  “As U.S. Cyber Command gains strength and steadily extends its range across the newest warfare domain, it has called on all the services over the next five years to contribute trained-up teams of cyber operators to ensure U.S. military freedom of action, defensively and offensively, in cyberspace.”

2.  Careful what you tweet.  “A secret court order requires Verizon to hand over all of its call data to the government, according to a stunning late Wednesday scoop by the Guardian. The order applies to millions of Americans, and allows the NSA to collect phone records without linking calls to a specific individual suspected of wrongdoing. We know that the Bush Administration collected phone records in bulk, but now, it seems, there’s documentation of the practice’s continued existence.”

3.  Pentagon favorite might be back.  The newest A10 isn’t a Warthog; it’s a Blackberry: “The A10 continues BlackBerry’s push to prove to consumers and the industry that it can move beyond the physical keyboard that has so long been its signature feature. Rather than focus on its traditional keyboard design, the company opted to launch its next-generation BlackBerry 10 operating system with the all-touchscreen Z10, followed by the more conventional-looking Q10 (which T-Mobile launched Wednesday). With the A10, BlackBerry hopes to keep up with the likes of the next iPhone and the Samsung Galaxy S4.”4.

POTOMAC TWO-STEP

1.  The I is for Irony.  Here’s a radical innovation for you:  at the IRS’ Anaheim conference, “a speaker who was paid $27,000 in taxpayer money spoke for an hour about how “seemingly random combinations of ideas can drive radical innovations.”  Does the I.R.S. even have an IG?  If so, he should probably go, too.

2.  I.R.S. Opposes 1% Fed Pay Raise.   Just kidding.  However, “with the House set to start voting over the next several days on the first of the spending bills for the upcoming fiscal year, the White House has again called for a federal employee raise to be paid in January.”  One whole percent?

3.  At least the Labor Department is trying to save.  Attempting to put together their own spam listing, “the Associated Press filed Freedom of Information Act requests for the secret email addresses of appointed administration employees, and a Labor Department spokesman came back with an offer: you can have the emails if you give us a million bucks.”

4.  Tou·ché: used to acknowledge a hit in fencing or the success or appropriateness of an argument, an accusation, or a witty point.  “Some of Obama’s staunchest attackers in Congress—who have held the handling of the Benghazi, Libya, attack as Exhibit A of a major security failure worsened by an apparent effort to protect the president’s reelection campaign—did not come out swinging Wednesday.”

SEQUESTRATION, FURLOUGHS & APPEALS

Merit Systems Protection Board braces for flood.  “MSPB had received 140 sequestration furlough appeals as of June 3 . . . . The vast majority of those were from Federal Aviation Administration workers, some of whom were furloughed for one day before Congress allowed a reprogramming of funds that made the unpaid leave unnecessary.”

OPINIONS EVERYONE HAS

1.  Ultimately, “boots on the ground” is the only way.  Back in 2003, Rumsfeld and others thought we could dispense with so many pesky troops and win from 30,000 feet.  We know how that ended up.  Now, is Air-Sea Battle trying to repeat that same, sad, ill-informed strategy?  Foreign Policy’s Jerry Meyerle fears so:  “Embedded in the concept of Air-Sea Battle is the assumption that, because anti-access threats can be dealt with at a safe distance, there will be no need for ground forces — be they soldiers, Marines, or special operators. If future wars demand any boots on the ground at all, it will not be until after the Navy and Air Force have decimated the enemy’s defenses with long-range strikes — or so the theory goes. But that’s where Air-Sea Battle goes wrong: It is just as likely that ground forces will be needed to ensure access for air and naval forces as the other way around.”

2.  If the IGs don’t work, little will. WSJ’s Joe Schmitz hits one of the nails on the head:  “With so many scandals breaking in Washington, one may well ask:  Where were all the inspectors general when these bad things—at the IRS, at Justice, and at State before, during and after Benghazi, for instance—were going on?  Where were the presidential appointees who, since the Inspectors General Act of 1978, are meant to root out gross mismanagement, fraud and other abuses at their federal departments and agencies, or among those whom the agencies regulate?  The sad truth is that in the Obama administration many of the most important IGs mandated by Congress simply are not in place.”

3.  He who shall not be namedLA Times’ Doyle McManus’ unpacks a new twist on an ancient principal, the enemy of my enemy is my enemy:  “Since 2001, however, the target list has grown. Al Qaeda offshoots have sprung up in Yemen, Somalia, Libya, Mali and, now, Syria. Many of their members had nothing to do with the attacks of 9/11. Most appear more interested in seizing power in their own countries than in striking the United States. Before he died, Bin Laden even scolded his followers in Yemen for spending too much time on local politics and too little on international terrorism.”

THE FUNNIES

1.  Ya’ think?

2.  Boldly go.

3.  The right to remain probed.

4.  Just the facts.

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 writes speeches in D.C. and continues other work from his office in Charlottesville, Va. He enjoys hiking, camping, and exploring. You can find Ed online at EdLedford.com and follow him on Twitter @ECLedford,.