Daily Intelligence: Kindles, Cyberwarfare, and Bionic Soldiers

The U.S. prepares for cyberwarfare, CIA fires up the Kindle, and better, faster, stronger – bionics the Army way.

YFA_DARPAphoto_header

Photo courtesy DARPA

FROM THE DESK OF CLEARANCE JOBS.COM

1.  Jillian Hamilton explains the logic, and pitfalls, of professional conferences for Federal employees: “not all conferences have a high return on investment; however, many conferences do provide valuable knowledge and important organizational networking. Some conferences provide the perfect environment for multiple agencies to work together and find inter-operable solutions, saving taxpayer money and reducing waste.”

2.  Program Management  jobs might be a perfect fit:  writes Lindy Kyzer, “If you have the right skills, a career in program management can be a fulfilling and lucrative path – program managers in information technology and engineering earn between $121,496 and $123,199, according to an annual ClearanceJobs.com salary survey.”

3.  Security clearance and whistleblowers in three acts:  “One important question Conyers v. Berry raises . . . anticipates a next significant battle between the Department of Defense (DoD) and MSPB in which a complainant challenges ineligibility due to loss of security clearance in the wake of a whistle blowing episode.”

THE FORCE AND THE FIGHT

1.  “U.S. prepares for cyberwarfare” :  Reuter’s Warren Strobel and Deborah Charles remind us that our direction is nothing new: “Officials and experts have warned for years that U.S. computer networks are falling prey to espionage, intellectual property theft and disruption from nations such as China and Russia, as well as hackers and criminal groups.”

2.   Bowe Bergdahl writes home.  Idaho Statesman’s John Sowell tells the story:  as the four year anniversary of Bergdahl’s capture approaches and POW/MIA Freedom Ride Harley twin-Vs rumble, “A letter from Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl of Hailey was obtained by the International Committee of the Red Cross and provided to the Bergdahl family.”

3.  Semper Fi.  At 5th Marine Regiment KIA memorial unveiling, General John Kelly remembers his own son, Marine Lieutenant Robert Kennedy, who died in Afghanistan in 2010:  “His voice was not as strong as it had been moments earlier, when he spoke of America’s enemies being possessed of “a reckless and mindless hate” and holding “extremist values that can never be reconciled with American values,” and must be opposed and defeated.”

4.  In Afghanistan, the war wears on.  “A suicide bomber driving a truck packed with explosives attacked an isolated base manned by Georgian troops in Helmand Province on Thursday evening, killing seven soldiers after penetrating the outer perimeter, but failing to get inside the base.”

CONTRACT WATCH

1.  CIA fires up the Kindle:  “The decision by the CIA to use Amazon Web Services’ technology caps off an evolution by the company from a provider of low-cost utility computing services into a fully fleshed-out enterprise provider – one whose rise poses a grave threat to legacy [original equipment manufacturers].”  Also, see FederalTimes.com “GAO advises CIA to renegotiate $600M cloud contract.”

2.  False claims under Department of Transportation’s Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program costs companies $2.8 million, collectively:  DoJ announces that “a number of related entities and individuals agreed to pay $2,883,947 to resolve allegations that they falsely claimed disadvantaged business status on a number of federally-funded transportation projects.  These entities are Dayton-based TesTech, Inc. and its owner, Sherif Aziz, and Dayton-based CESO Testing Technology, Inc., CESO International, LLC, and CESO, Inc. (collectively CESO), and their owners, David and Shery Oakes.”

3.  Army-KBR fight may change the future of contracting:  Another legal battle to watch:  “The outcome of a court battle between the Army and KBR over the final stages of LOGCAP III, the largest government services contract in U.S. history, could affect tens of thousands of federal contracts while creating “enormous uncertainty” for vendors and the government alike, according to the Justice Department.”

4.  Contracts to Bragg about:  “A key U.S. House committee has approved more than $202 million in military construction at Fort Bragg in 2014.  Fort Bragg would get more than half of the $369.7 million for North Carolina in the federal fiscal year that begins Oct. 1 under the authorization bill approved late Wednesday by the House Armed Services Committee.”

TECH, PRIVACY, & SECRECY

1.  Better, faster, stronger: bionics The Army way.  Essential fruits of Shinseki’s Army Vision:  “The program is called Warrior Web and part of the military’s larger effort to lighten the load for troops and reduce the number of muscular and skeletal injuries that have ravaged a force that is often carrying more than half their body weight on patrols.  The goal is to build a lightweight, conformal undersuit — similar to a wet suit — that is comfortable for a soldier or Marine to wear. The suit would interface with a servicemember’s skeletal system in order to protect injury prone areas and boost the performance of muscles.”

1.  A glimpse over the Verizon:  lawmakers acknowledge a broader program: “In the latest revelation, The Washington Post found that the National Security Agency and the FBI have been secretly gathering the data of nine leading U.S. Internet companies, extracting a huge cache of audio, video, photograph and e-mail information and other records, according to a document intended for senior NSA officials.”

2.  Cyberwarfare 101:  If you didn’t get it reading David E. Sanger’s 2012 Confront and Conceal: Obama’s Secret Wars and Surprising Use of American Power, WaPo’s Max Fisher lays it out again:  “The leaked government documents portray the Obama administration as willing to hack foreign targets to preempt perceived threats against U.S. interests,” repeats Fisher.

3.  A brief history of NSA surveilling:  Gellman and Poitras explain that “PRISM is an heir, in one sense, to a history of intelligence alliances with as many as 100 trusted U.S. companies since the 1970s. The NSA calls these Special Source Operations, and PRISM falls under that rubric.”

POTOMAC TWO-STEP

1.  Does.  Does not.  Does, too.  Does not.  Details of NSA surveillance authorizations proves safeguards of our privacy are not working:  “’ “It turns out the kind of things the government said were only speculative were in fact going on at the same time,’” says. ACLU’s Jameel Jaffer.

2.  Clap on.  Clap off.   National Journal’s Michael Hirsh doesn’t lie when he writes that Director of National Intelligence James Clapper does not lie: “’ the NSA does not voyeuristically pore through U.S. citizens’ e-mails.’”  I said e-mails.  I didn’t say cell phones.  Next question:  define voyeuristically.

3.  Whistleblower speaks frankly, again:  “’I can’t wait until I’m 81 years old and go back to work . . . . I’m sure the system will be in the same sorry-ass shape that it is today.’”

OPINIONS EVERYONE HAS

1.  Can you hear me now?  SecDef Hagel’s “stress test” exposes the security gaps inherent in sequestration (before a whistleblower has the chance):  “Politicians on Capitol Hill still lack any clarity on the real-world consequences of continuing sequestration (it’s slated to last for nearly a decade under the Budget Control Act of 2011, unless Congress and the White House come up with a $1.2 trillion deficit-reduction package for that timeframe, or change the law that imposes the sequester — neither of which appears imminent).”

2.  Jeepers, girls are yucky.  Senator Saxy Chambliss explains his view of birds and bees of sexual assault:  “’Gee whiz, the hormone level created by nature sets in place the possibility for these types of things to occur.’”  In other words, Chambliss compassionately advises, “Get over it.”

3.  To have a dividend, you have to invest:  California Rep Buck McKeon’s view on sequestration and its residue:  “To reap a peace dividend, you first need peace. Wars are not won nor is peace achieved through half-measures. We have passed 51 straight annual defense bills, all with the express purpose of providing the American people the peace they deserve. We’ll do it again this year, but not without a firm warning: If we do not change course soon, it is our bravest who will pay the price.”

THE FUNNIES

1.  We are watching.

2.  Anti-Sexual Assault Uniform.

3.  Ears.

4.  The fine print.

5.  I’ve only got eyes for you.

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,.