FROM THE DESK OF CLEARANCEJOBS.COM
1. Transformation goes global. Contributor Chandler Harris in Silicon Valley explains, “The worldwide defense industry is facing significant changes as the 50 nations that represent 97 percent of the world’s defense spending cut military budgets and reprioritize defense . . . . Defense spending is not only declining for the counties that spend the most on defense, it’s reprioritizing away from conventional weapons like tanks, ships and planes, toward information technology including sensors, communications and cybersecurity.”
2. Snowden – a boon for commercial companies. Harris hits another one, explaining that “the intelligence community is looking more than ever for commercial companies to provide necessary research and development, rather than its traditional approach of using defense contractors. . . . the IC needs the efforts of private industry, particularly when it comes to research and innovation.” Chandler – now, tell us which companies to watch for the Wilsons.
THE FORCE AND THE FIGHT
1. We’re gonna need a bigger vision. Hagel cites opportunities for “creative adaptation.” As he announces the loss of 4ID’s BCT, SecDef Hagel encourages troops to think creatively: “’This is the time to be creative. . . . And we have to prepare the institution . . . The next set of [privates first class] behind you, you need to help prepare them so they inherit a structure, a system that is going to give them the ability to deal with those new threats that none of us can figure out today.’” A case of putting the change before the vision. Need a bigger boat.
2. Plan, then execute. U.S. News’ Paul Shinkman reports, “The Afghans will not be able to fly – and perhaps more importantly maintain – their new fleet of Russian helicopters and Swiss planes after the U.S. drawdown next year, according to a new report from a Pentagon watchdog. . . . The Pentagon does not yet have a plan for transferring this capability to the Afghan government, the report states. . . . SIGAR recommends the Pentagon suspend its agreement to issue these aircraft to the Afghan military until it can agree on a plan with Kabul.” Yeah, a plan before we spend a quarter-billion dollars would be helpful. See the SIGAR report. Also see Contract Watch, below: “What’s behind contracts to Sierra Nevada Corp and Rosoboronexport.”
3. The word trying bothers me. Staff Sgt. Mark Miranda of the 5th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment covers Army Chief Odierno laying it down for troopers at Joint Base Lewis-McChord: “’Our Army is engaged, even though we are facing some fiscal challenges,’ Odierno said. ‘We are in a time of great transition, and we’re trying to shape ourselves for the future. . . . As the best Army in the world, you’re still part of something bigger than yourself. We’re just going through a rough patch right now. What I would tell all Soldiers – if you do your job, and you want to continue to serve, you will have exciting opportunities to contribute in the future,’ Odierno said.” And, yes, it was a “Joint Base” long before Washington Initiative 502. See The Army Vision on page 4 of The Army’s 2012 Strategic Planning Guidance. See General Odierno’s explanation of The Army Vision.
4. USMC R2C Search. “The United States Marine Corps is exploring a range of future route reconnaissance and road clearance capabilities under a business case analysis being conducted by service representatives. The effort to explore the best materiel solutions for a future Route Reconnaissance and Clearance (R2C) Capability Set (CapSet) – in order to determine the best materiel solutions to meet future Marine Corps R2C requirements – was outlined in a recent announcement by the Marine Corps Product Manager Engineer Systems (PdM ES). . . . ‘The Marine Corps anticipates that explosive hazards, especially mines and Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), will continue to pose a serious threat to U.S. forces beyond the current conflict. The enduring requirement for a R2C CapSet was established in response to this threat.’”
1. Monday, contractors get their own whistles. Nick Simeone, American Forces Press Service, reports, “Beginning July 1, whistleblowers working for Defense Department subcontractors will begin receiving protection against reprisals through a new law intended to better protect those who expose possible wrongdoing. In addition, as part of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013, contractors who report suspected waste, fraud and abuse within their company rather than directly to the DOD inspector general also will be protected, a modification of previous laws aimed at better protecting whistleblowers working on DOD contracts.” It’s going to be like a convention of teenage lifeguards hopped up on Red Bull.
2. What’s behind contracts to Sierra Nevada Corp and Rosoboronexport. NationalJournal.Com’s Matt Vasilogambros is a glass-is-half-empty kind of guy, but he walks us through Afghan rotary wing numbers: “And the numbers are quite damning. The SMW [Afghan Special Mission Wing] has less than a quarter of the personnel needed for full strength, operating with just 180 people. While the 47 SMW pilots are supposed to carry out counterterrorism operations, only seven of those pilots are qualified to fly with night-vision goggles. This skill is essential, given that most counterterrorism missions are done at night. . . . With all of the money the U.S. is pumping into the program, it doesn’t seem that the Afghan forces have set any target date to reach their full capacity to use the provided aircraft, the Defense Department watchdog found. The SMW needs a proper command structure and DOD lacks proper oversight for these programs.”
3. Just sink it. That’s free. Quarter billion contract to inactivate the Enterprise. Nasdaq.Com covers Globe Newswire’s announcement penned by Christie Miller: “Huntington Ingalls Industries (NYSE:HII) announced today that the company has received a $745 million cost-plus-incentive fee contract for the inactivation of the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65). The work will be done at HII’s Newport News Shipbuilding (NNS) division.” So Into Darkness was kind of like foreshadowing.
TECH, PRIVACY, & SECRECY
1. Alexander the Great 2013. Wired.Com’s James Bamford’s detailed report on NSA’s General Keith Alexander is surprising, perhaps uncomfortable, but reading not to be missed. It begins with perhaps the first volley in the war of the (early) 21st century: “Stuxnet is only the beginning. Alexander’s agency has recruited thousands of computer experts, hackers, and engineering PhDs to expand US offensive capabilities in the digital realm. The Pentagon has requested $4.7 billion for “cyberspace operations,” even as the budget of the CIA and other intelligence agencies could fall by $4.4 billion. It is pouring millions into cyberdefense contractors. And more attacks may be planned.” Thanks, Barry. You can read more about Stuxnet in David Sanger’s Confront and Conceal, and read a good review of C&C as it regards Stuxnet at digitalbond.com. You can read more about the General who leaked Stuxnet to the press in The Guardian. They’re dropping like flies (see Potomac Two Step, below.) See where we were in 1961 tech.
2. The O3B (means “the other three billion). Other three billion people (customers), that is, who are not receiving broadband satellite access. Well, now they can, and everyone can enjoy Rachel Jeantel’s compelling testimony in the Trayvon Martin murder trial. Soyuz launched the first of three 03b Birds on Tuesday, 25 June, from the French Guiana Space Center (GSC): “The medium Earth orbit constellation designed to bring broadband satellite service to the ‘other 3 billion’ (O3b) customers [formerly known as people] in the developing world is taking shape above the equator with the June 25 launch of the first four spacecraft on an Arianespace Soyuz flying from the Guiana Space Center on the north coast of South America. Another set of four satellites is scheduled for launch later this year, and the third and final group of four is set to go up in the first half of next year. Key corporations involved: Gilat will provide networking hubs and customer modems. General Dynamics, ViaSat, Comtech EF Data. Thales Alenia Space built the built the O3B satellite.
3. Bring back Amrullah Saleh. GlobalPost.Com’s Zubair Babakarkhail reports from Afghanistan, “’Our forces are now in the middle of an intelligence war,’ said military expert and former Afghan general, Noor ul-Haq Olumi, adding that Afghan intelligence is battling to keep up with the powerful Pakistani spy agency that supports the Taliban. Afghan lawmakers and security officials say the agency has neither the employees nor the resources it needs to adequately collect information and identify threats before they manifest as armed incursions on Afghan or foreign institutions.” Who is Amrullah Saleh you ask? See the Frontline report, “The Spy Who Quit.” Saleh should be the next President of Afghanistan . . . let’s see if “they” can make that happen.
4. Update yourself on National Ballistic Missile Defense. J.R. Wilson of DefenseMediaNetwork.Com provides the history and anticipates the future: “At least two dozen nations are developing, have built or bought, or are hosting some type of missile defense system, from Azerbaijan’s Soviet-built SA-10 Grumble/SA-20 Gargoyle to Israel’s Arrow and David’s Sling. In the past 30 years, it is estimated the United States and its allies alone have fielded more than 1,500 missile interceptors and associated support systems and sensors.” Wilson covers it all here – read it.
1. “When policemen break the law, then there isn’t any law — just a fight for survival.” (Anyone? Anyone?). When the IGs break the law, there aren’t any IGs . . . well, that doesn’t quite work, but you get it. CNN reports on Acting Inspector General of the Department of Homeland Security, Charles Edwards, under congressional scrutiny for ethics violations: “susceptible to political pressure to the point that an investigation into Secret Service misconduct in Cartagena, Colombia, was scrubbed of damaging information. Other allegations that the senators are seeking more information about include that Edwards violated anti-nepotism laws, and abused agency resources and his authority.” By the way, the opening words are from Billy Jack, 1971, written, directed, starred Thomas Laughlin . . . saw it in a drive-in theater. When I was eight With my mom. In a Buick. Skylark. Haven’t been right since.
2. Don’t pull that 5th Amendment stuff on me, young lady. WaPo’s Josh Hicks reports, “Republican lawmakers on Friday passed a resolution declaring that an Internal Revenue Service official waived her Fifth Amendment right last month when she proclaimed her innocence at a congressional hearing, but legal experts said the vote is all but meaningless. . . . Before invoking her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, Lerner told the committee: ‘I have not done anything wrong. I have not broken any laws. I have not violated any IRS rules or regulations, and I have not provided false information to this or any other congressional committee. . . . [Harvard law professor and Fifth Amendment rights know-it-all Allen] Dershowitz said lawmakers could force her to testify by focusing on her brief remarks.’” Yeah, you cannot testify to the good stuff and then claim the 5A. Sorry.
3. Here’s the deal, Orange Peel. Reuter’s Susan Heavey reports on Lonnie Snowden’s Monty Hall imitation: “The father of former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden said . . . he is reasonably confident his son would return to the United States if certain conditions were met. Those conditions could include not detaining Snowden before trial, not subjecting him to a gag order and letting him choose the location of his trial . . . .” I’d choose Qualia, Hamilton Island, Australia, just off the Great Barrier Reef.
OPINIONS EVERYONE HAS
1. One of the most brilliant – General Nick Carter – on Taliban talks. Deputy Commander, ISAF, General Nick Carter observes, “The West should have attempted talks with the Taliban a decade ago, a senior British commander in Afghanistan has said, after efforts to negotiate with the insurgents have faltered. . . . Gen Carter told The Guardian: ‘Back in 2002, the Taliban were on the run. I think that at that stage, if we had been very prescient, we might have spotted that a final political solution to what started in 2001, from our perspective, would have involved getting all Afghans to sit at the table and talk about their future.’”
2. Time for a good old fashioned book burning. TheDailyBeast.Com’s Miranda Green takes on “The Military’s Porn Problem”: “In Congress, the Senate Armed Services Committee made mention of the Decency Act in its final markup to the 2014 Defense budget bill. The added measure, introduced by Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS), pushes the DOD to enforce the removal of all pornography from military properties and report its progress back to the committee. . . . The push to greater restrict porn has been a bipartisan effort, with both sides agreeing that pornography has no place in the military.”