FROM THE DESK OF CLEARANCEJOBS.COM
1. Keep the industrial base humming, or else. There’s going to be some sort of life after sequestration, and there will have to be some sort of security apparatus in the post-sequestration world, as well. However, as contributor Diana Rodriguez reports, “During a recent panel discussion at the National Contract Management Association conference . . . Michael Hutchison, deputy to the contracting general at Army Contracting Command, stated that officials are increasingly worried about retaining the contracting workforce due to the possibility of more furloughs under sequestration.”
2. Find a job before you lose one. Contributor Jillian Hamilton’s cold water in the face: “When’s the best time to look for a new job? When you already have a job, especially in this economy. A recent survey found that 73% of workers do not have an issue with job-hunting before departing the old job. It never hurts to keep a constant eye on what jobs or companies are trending, but beware of the 48% who search for work while physically at their current job site. A recent article identifies just how critical it is to be looking for work before leaving the old job. Many companies report a bias against workers who have been unemployed – especially towards workers unemployed for more than six months.”
THE FORCE AND THE FIGHT
1. SecDef puts the cards on the table: cut size or capability – the two options to meet sequestration requirements. DefenseOne.Com’s Stephanie Gaskell reports, “Hagel put the onus firmly on Congress either to accept hard-to-swallow cuts in military pay, benefits and bases, or change the law requiring sequestration. . . . options for finding some middle ground . . . both come at a cost to either capacity or capability.” [In the long run, of course, the troops on the ground, in the air, and on the sea will bear the brunt of our leadership’s irresponsible and short-sighted political machinations.] See related, “Best, Worse Case,” “’Painful’ review,” and read SecDef’s opening remarks: “It is the responsibility of our nation’s leaders to work together to replace the mindless and irresponsible policy of sequestration.” Finally, Tough Trade-offs.
2. Kerry pushes partnership with Pakistan – a slap in Afghanistan’s face? As the Administration debates with Karzai, the State Department announces renewed efforts with Pakistan, the country Afghanistan loves to hate. Ultimately, it seems, when the worst comes to worst, we’re leaning to the east of the Durand Line: “U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry agreed with Pakistan on Thursday to re-establish a ‘full partnership’ hurt by U.S. drone strikes and a 2011 NATO air attack in which 24 Pakistani soldiers were killed. Speaking after talks with Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in Islamabad, Kerry said the two sides were serious about overcoming past irritants. He invited Sharif to visit the United States for talks with U.S. President Barack Obama.” See also, 3 AQ killed in Drone Strike in Pak.
3. Courage and rapport – building productive partnership in Afghanistan. AP contributor Kim Dozier explains how trust among multi-national troopers can contribute to success: “When Marine Maj. Chris Bourbeau walked alone into an Afghan base last spring, he left behind his helmet, bulletproof jacket and rifle. Given the deadly insider attacks that had rocked U.S.-Afghan relations, he was putting his trust – and his life – in the hands of the Afghan troops he was training. ‘I tell people who are visiting: `Take that stuff off. Your first line of defense is your rapport, not your gear,’ Bourbeau said.” See also, “Pentagon Report Foresees Need . . . Beyond 2014”: success requires support.
4. In AFRICOM’s AOR, UN condemns Congolese rebels’ renewed attacks. AllAfrica.Com reports, “The United Nations Security Council has condemned the renewed attacks by the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF-NALU) which resulted in 66,000 Congolese refugees and caused casualties among both the FARDC and MONUSCO forces. The attacks in question were carried out on July 11, 2013 against the FARDC in Kamango and July 14, 2013 against MONUSCO forces along the Muba-Kamango axis.” Brush up on AFRICOM terminology: Allied Democratic Forces (ADF-NALU) and FARDC (Forces Armées de la République Démocratique du Congo).
5. In Iraq, violence highest since 2008. AlJazeera.Com reports that United Nations Missions in Iraq (UNAMI) cites “A total of 1,057 Iraqis were killed and 2,326 were wounded in acts of terrorism and violence in July. . . . ‘“We haven’t seen such numbers in more than five years, when the blind rage of sectarian strife that inflicted such deep wounds upon this country was finally abating. I reiterate my urgent call on Iraq’s political leaders to take immediate and decisive action to stop the senseless bloodshed, and to prevent these dark days from returning.’” See also, “Behind Iraq’s Upsurge in Violence” from July 23.
6. Election tension in Zimbabwe could become hot. Reuters reports, “Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe’s party claimed a landslide election victory on Thursday that would secure another five years in power for Africa’s oldest head of state, but its main rival said the vote was invalidated by ‘monumental fraud’. Wednesday’s voting was peaceful across the southern African nation, but the conflicting claims heralded an acrimonious dispute over the outcome that increases the chances of a repeat of the violence that followed a contested vote in 2008.”
1. Northrop beats Raytheon in Lockheed Martin contest – major win. Reuters reports, “Northrop beat out Raytheon Co (RTN.N) to win the contract, which will add active electronically scanned array (AESA) radars to the F-16 fighters, giving them new advanced capabilities and improving their reliability. The company did not disclose the value of the contract, but hailed it as a major win. South Korea earlier this year chose Raytheon’s rival AESA radar for its own F-16 upgrades.”
2. $960 million, 7 year contract competition for the IT world. DefenseNews.Com contributor Nicole Johnson reports, “The winning vendors are Lockheed Martin Information Systems and Global Solutions, Harris IT Services Corp., SRA International, Raytheon, L-3 National Security Solutions, and TYBRIN Corp.” The contract “services include sustainment, migration, integration, training, help desk support, testing and operational support services.”
3. $900 million+ to General Dynamics One Source. UPI.Com reports, “The U.S. Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Atlantic has given a prime contract for C5ISR services to General Dynamics One Source. The award is one of 15 under the Business and Force Support Multiple Award Pillar contract with an overall value of more than $900 million over five years to all awardees if all options are exercised. The command, control, communications, computers, combat systems, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance services to be provided will be global in scope.”
TECH, PRIVACY, & SECRECY
1. XKeyScore – one of Snowden’s Aces in the hole. What’s next? VentureBeat.Com contributor John Koetsier reports, “One wonders, of course, if 300 million Americans’ freedoms have been imprisoned along with the 300 terrorists supposedly captured as a result of the program. Not to say anything of billions of other global citizens whose private data is now in hundreds of NSA servers around the globe.” See also, NBC’s “How the NSA’s XKeyScore program works” and Guardian’s “NSA tool collects ‘nearly everything a user does on the internet.’”
2. Alexander on PRISM and Black Hat. Wall Street Journal’s Rachel King reports from Las Vegas, “Speaking to a room full of hackers at the Black Hat cybersecurity conference here Gen. Alexander defended the controversial program, which NSA uses to collect information about communications involving U.S. citizens from companies such as Google Inc., Microsoft Corp., and others. Gen. Alexander tried to dispel the notion that U.S. companies are providing unfettered access to customer data, and said only a limited number of NSA analysts are authorized to search phone metadata and email. He also noted the oversight involved from federal judges and Congress.” So, what happens in Vegas doesn’t stay in Vegas. See also, “Alexander insists mass surveillance programs respect privacy.” Finally, the heckling.
3. Revisit: Alexander Wants it All (and he wants it now). Salon.Com reviews, “The NSA is collecting data from all of us in the name of finding terrorists. . . . Perhaps we really do need a militarized NSA to oversee our bank deposits to protect ourselves from hackers (though one wonders how many private corporations the government claims it needs to protect). But if so, that’s what we need to talk — and debate — about. Not unproven claims about dead bodies from terrorist attacks.”
1. Murkowski swings to open the door to new ATF director. LATimes.Com’s Michael A. Memoli details the drama on the Senate floor that ended the filibuster: “After five other Republicans voted “yes” and it was clear Murkowski’s would be the decisive vote, the Alaska senator was surrounded in the well of the chamber by senators from both parties, including members of the leadership and the top Democrat and Republican on the Judiciary Committee, who could be seen pleading their cases. . . . After nearly an hour, Murkowski returned to the Senate floor and announced she would instead vote “yes” to allow a confirmation vote.”
2. In Opposite World, Congress protects the media. AP’s Donna Cassata sets the background for today’s Senate Judiciary Committee consideration of media shield law: “guidelines called for the government to give advance notice to the news media about subpoena requests for reporters’ phone records unless the attorney general determines such notice would pose a clear and substantial threat to the investigation. Search warrants for a reporter’s email would only apply when the individual is the focus of a criminal investigation for conduct not connected to ordinary newsgathering. The Schumer bill makes clear that before the government asks a news organization to divulge sources it first must go to a judge, who would supervise any subpoenas or court orders for information.”
OPINIONS EVERYONE HAS
1. Aid to Egypt is here to stay. Time.Com’s Jay Newton-Small argues, in spite of Rand Paul’s rants, Senate will support the status quo: “most Democrats and Republicans continue to believe revoking aid would deprive Washington of what Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez recently called its ‘leverage’ over Egypt’s generals. As my colleague Michael Crowley noted, Washington also sensitive to the aid’s connection to the 1978 Camp David Accords establishing peace between Israel and the Arab world’s most populous state. U.S. aid also buys valuable cooperation between the Pentagon and SCAF, Egypt’s Supreme Council of Allied Forces, including joint counter-terrorism operations in Egypt’s Sinai desert, a hotbed of Islamic militant activity. . . .”
2. U.S. sanctions are not why Rouhani was elected; they are the reason he was not not elected, or so argues Aljazeera contributor Hamid Dabashi: “The fact is that these sanctions weaken the democratic resolve and that there is no direct relationship between the election of Hassan Rouhani and the prolonged imposition of economic sanctions on Iranians. The missing link between Rouhani’s election and the US-led crippling sanctions on Iranians are not these sanctions but a band of careerists poised to fabricate delusions that keeps them employed. The fact is that the US is an empire with no hegemony, and its destiny is anything but manifest. It is a brute, self-indulgent, and thinly informed aggregate of lobbies and interests, with no cultivated common intelligence, no critical judgment informing its visceral militarism, with its most caring citizens like Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden either in jail or running homeless around the globe.” Ouch.