Round Two: The State Department’s Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Marc Grossman will be leaving the Obama administration next month, as Obama’s national security team takes shape heading into his second term.


“We don’t say that we’re the counterinsurgency air force of Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, but we are.”

The Navy asked earlier this month for 25 “Light Observation Aircraft” — small, two-seater Cessna-style planes, good for short-range reconnaissance over, say, a patch of land that an  al-Qaida affiliate is trying to overrun. That’s in addition to all of the American remotely piloted aircraft that already fly over Yemen, which has become the hottest undeclared battlefield in the global U.S. drone campaign.The planes have to be configured so the U.S. can teach Yemenis how to be their own eyes in the sky, and they need to be in Yemen in under 24 months. “Austere environment landing/takeoff capable” is a must. The push for the aircraft is somewhat reminiscent of the Pentagon’s “Project Liberty” crash program to rush small, relatively cheap Beechcraft planes to the Iraq and Afghan warzones so troops could trick them out with advanced sensors and cameras. It remains to be seen if that’s in the works for Yemeni pilots.

Six months before American-born Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki was killed by an American drone strike in Yemen, he was invited to the U.S. Embassy in Sana’a – in order for the embassy to revoke his passport — according to newly released State Department documents.


“After all this time, after a year’s worth of doomsday warnings about the ‘catastrophic’ effects of a budget stalemate on the military, even in this eleventh hour the Pentagon’s top budget teams are left waiting and wondering. Without the green light from [the Office of Management and Budget], they are not allowed to begin.”

Edward. Alford, U.S. ambassador to Gambia, visited the High-Speed Vessel Swift during a port visit in support of Africa Partnership Station 2012.


Only one of 479 Department of Homeland Security employees surveyed by the inspector general’s office was able to use the department’s secure radios, according to an IG report.

The Defense Information Systems Agency’s planned acquisition of mobile management software has been increased to cover 300,000 licenses. The initial version of the purchase, announced last month, sought between 162,500 and 260,000 licenses. The software is designed to ensure adherence to top-down security requirements for smartphones and tablets operating on the DISA network. The agency believes 300,000 licenses will be enough to “cover the entire DOD mobile enterprise.”


Two and a half weeks after Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta announced an inquiry into e-mail exchanges between Gen. John R. Allen of the Marines and a socialite in Tampa, Fla., some 15 investigators working seven days a week in the Pentagon inspector general’s office have narrowed their focus to 60 to 70 e-mails that “bear a fair amount of scrutiny,” a defense official said.


The United Kingdom Ministry of Defense said it will buy 51 Foxhound armored patrol vehicles from General Dynamics Corp. for a total $73.7 million. The purchase is part of a plan to buy 376 vehicles worth $545 million for use by British forces in Afghanistan. The Foxhound has a turbocharged diesel engine said to be able to reach 80 mph.

The Asymmetric Warfare Group is hiring an adviser who, ” Provides advice and assistance to AWG Training Advisory and Assessment Squadron as asymmetric warfare evaluator and advisor.”

Special Operations Command is moving aggressively into the cyber realm: “The required skills for this task include a background and experience in military intelligence disciplines, e.g., counterintelligence (CI), human intelligence (HUMINT), and other intelligence disciplines as identified by USSOCOM J2 and/or as deemed necessary by dynamic USSOCOM requirements.”

Eight contractors will compete for $98.7 million worth of tasks associated with command and control services for the Navy. The companies will compete for tasks related to command, control, communications, computers, combat systems, intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance electronics and communications services that will support the Navy’s transport and computing infrastructure.

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Robert Caruso is a veteran of the United States Navy, and has worked for the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, Business Transformation Agency and the Office of the Secretary of Defense.