The Afghans Have It.


1.  Who’s Hiring, Acquiring, and Moving in the cleared industry.  Jillian Hamilton pulls it all together and explains, among other things, why Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Diane Feinstein makes cleared contractors sweat.

2.  As the industry inevitably re-examines its staffing decisions post-Snowden, new openings are inevitable. Time to revisit Lindy Kyzer’s map of the “Top 5 Cities for Cyber Security Jobs.”


1.  Ready or not, here we come.  Afghan security forces are (as) set (as they’re can be) to provide security across their country.  Writing from Jalalabad for the AP, Patrick Quinn explains, “Afghanistan’s fledgling security forces are taking the lead for security nationwide, bringing the moment of truth on the question of whether they are ready to fight an insurgency that remains resilient after nearly 12 years of conflict. . . . In a series of wide-ranging interviews with Afghan and western military officials, experts and analysts, opinions are mixed as to the state of readiness of the Afghan forces – although nearly all agree they are far better now than they were when the NATO training mission began.”

2.  Strange bedfellows . . . . ISAF policymakers have longed for Afghan-Pakistani cooperation: now, drone strikes accomplish what others could not.  Yaroslav Trofimov, one of Wall Street Journal’s most respected reporters on the war in Afghanistan, explains: “Afghan President Hamid Karzai condemned U.S. drone strikes against militants in Pakistan, in surprise remarks that seemed to clash with his previous demands that the U.S. take more aggressive action against insurgent havens on Pakistani soil.”

3.  Cyberspace, the final final frontier.  Defense News Zachary Fryer-Biggs shares insights from Presidential Policy Directive 20 (PPD-20) that Snowden exposed:  “As the directive defines it, cyberspace is ‘the interdependent network of information technology infrastructures that includes the Internet, telecommunications networks, computers, information or communications systems, networks and embedded processors and controllers.’ . . . even modern dishwashers that possess smart technology . . . can be considered part of cyberspace.”  See also, “Demystifying Cyberwar,” the Washington Post’s take on PPD-20.

4.  News from the Field.  Army Brig. Gen. Kim Field on new Army Rapid Response Force at Camp Lemonnaire, Djibouti, Africa:  “It will be a force ‘specifically trained and ready to respond to a crisis such as Benghazi, [Libya, which] we didn’t have before,’ Gen. Field, deputy director of strategy, plans and policy for the Army, told reporters at the Pentagon.


1.  $3,414,000,002 (up to $5 billion) worth of Chinooks.  Also see Boeing’s Press Release from June 11.    Vice President, Boeing Cargo Helicopter Programs, Chuck Dabundo adds, “’That includes the $130 million investment we made to modernize the Chinook factory. This contract will enable Boeing and our partners and suppliers in 45 states to bring stability to the workforce and to invest in production tooling, processes and other capital improvements.’”

2.  Circular history:  we send Russians back Afghanistan (allegedly assisting Assad along the way).  Bridgette Johnson reports, “Despite longstanding opposition from Congress and human-rights groups that the U.S. shouldn’t be funneling hundreds of millions of dollars to the Syrian regime’s main arms supplier, the Pentagon announced today that it has awarded a contract to Russia’s Rosoboronexport. The $572,180,894 firm-fixed-price contract modification is for 30 Mi-17 helicopters, spare parts, test equipment, and engineering support services.”  Indeed, DoD Contract page confirms, “Rosoboronexport, Russia was awarded a $572,180,894 firm-fixed-price contract modification for 30 Mi-17 helicopters . . . .”


1.  Big data’s big money.  Venture Beat’s Jolie O’Dell reports, SpaceCurve startup tops $10 million raised: “this startup is trying to organize and make useful just about every kind of data imaginable. Customers who use the SpaceCurve platform are, in the words of a Triage Ventures partner, “pushing the current limits of big data technologies” by analyzing not only large volumes of data, but data that appears at high velocities — stuff like checkins and sensor data that are constantly being updated by nodes all around the globe.”  Also see May 2013 Seattle Business article, “Bright Idea: Gathering Intelligence.”  When do they go public?

2.  When it comes to spying, of course nothing is sacredNew York Times’ Scott Shane and Ravi Somaiya report, “British and American diplomats and politicians got a real-time feed of intelligence on their counterparts at major summit meetings. ‘Now this is integrated into summit diplomacy, almost like a newsreader getting a feed in their ear’ . . . . American intelligence officials have expressed alarm at the variety of highly classified material Mr. Snowden obtained, suggesting that his actions revealed a shocking breach in the fundamental principle that intelligence officers should have access only to the material they need to do their jobs. On Sunday, a spokesman for the British foreign service said he would not comment on intelligence matters.”

3.  Follow the tech-leaderThe Guardian’s Dominic Rushe and Stuart Dredge report that tech’s are lining up like little kids getting ready for recess:  “Apple has joined rivals including Facebook, Google and Twitter in calling on the US government to allow it to publish more details of the secret court orders its receives to disclose customers’ information. . . . Last week Google, Microsoft, Facebook and Twitter all called on the government to allow them to publish more details about the nature and number of requests for information they receive.”

4.  Read the fine printWashington Post’s Walter Pincus explains, “Americans are learning what electronics whizzes and hackers have known all along — that computers and smartphones, which make our lives more productive and entertaining, have at the same time ended privacy as most of us have understood it. . . . Last year, Microsoft provided data on customers to 50 countries in response to their law enforcement requests and court orders related to the company’s online and cloud services, including its Hotmail and Outlook e-mail programs, SkyDrive, Xbox Live, Microsoft Account, Messenger and Office 365, and Skype, according to its Web site.”


1.  Bathroom talk, the Rolling Stones, and the Grim Reaper.  Al Kamen brings us up to date on gossip “In the Loop.”

2.  The profession of retiringGovernment Executive, by way of National Journal’s Shane Goldmacher, wonders, “How many times can one retire?” Well, “Texas Republican John Cornyn supplemented his Senate salary with a trio of public pensions last year from his days as a Texas judge and elected official—a practice some fiscal watchdog groups have attacked as ‘double dipping.’”


1.  Nero fiddled.  According to The Telegraph’s Boris Johnson, the world has waited too long to save Syria in what has become “a brutal religious war.”   Johnson writes, the rebels “are fighting not for freedom but for a terrifying Islamic state in which they would have the whip hand — and yet there is no dodging or fudging the matter: these are among the Syrian rebels who are hoping now to benefit from the flow of Western arms.”

2.  The enemy of my enemy is my friend.  Daily Beast’s Lloyd Green:  “Bipartisanship is not dead, as Democratic and Republican congressional leaders rally around the National Security Agency’s big data grab. With the exception of op-ed writers, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the Pauls—Rand and Ron—Washington’s establishment is standing together with the administration. In this scrum, party is secondary, at least on Capitol Hill.”

3.  How to provoke a war, and other lessons in leadership.  US News & World Report’s Kira Zalan interviews Don Rumsfeld about his new book and feigned humility: “Clearly all of us make mistakes and goodness knows I have,” he says.


1.  NSA irony.

2.  Need to Know.

3.  Watch your back.

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Ed Ledford enjoys the most challenging, complex, and high stakes communications requirements. His portfolio includes everything from policy and strategy to poetry. A native of Asheville, N.C., and retired Army Aviator, Ed’s currently writing speeches in D.C. and working other writing projects from his office in Rockville, MD. He loves baseball and enjoys hiking, camping, and exploring anything. Follow Ed on Twitter @ECLedford.