FROM THE DESK OF CLEARANCEJOBS.COM
1. The missiles the system didn’t track: Budget Busters. Contributor Marc Selinger reports that in anticipation of budget overruns: “The U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) hoped that the Precision Tracking Space System (PTSS), a proposed missile-tracking satellite system, would provide the next big leap in sensor capabilities. But earlier this year, MDA announced it was canceling the program, saying ‘concurrency in the development schedule and uncertainty in the cost estimates put in doubt long-term fiscal sustainability.’”
2. Vet employment numbers mixed. Contributor Charles Simmins analyzes Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers for our veterans’ employment rates: “The unemployment rate for veterans has been trending downward since its high of 9.9 percent in Jan. 2011. The July rate was up slightly from June’s 6.3 percent. . . . vets from Gulf War II, serving since Sept. 2001, are the youngest group. There are 2.7 million military veterans in this category and 21 percent are not in the labor force. Their unemployment rate was 7.7 percent. The unemployment rate for these vets has remained locked in the 7 to 8 percent range since April while down from earlier highs.”
THE FORCE AND THE FIGHT
1. Before playtime, Senate confirms Team Dempsey-Winnefeld for the second half. Sen. McCain at first “threatened to place a hold on Dempsey’s confirmation.” However, UPI.Com reports that after Sen. McCain’s “timeout,” McCain “backed off his threat.” Yet, “In a statement after Dempsey’s confirmation McCain said he still was “’seriously concerned about the advice that our nation’s top military leaders have given the president and National Security Council regarding the most serious and time-sensitive crises in the world today.’” See related, Scapp get his fourth and Korea.
2. U.S. doubles-down in Egypt. Reuters Tom Perry and Michael Georgy report, “U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry urged Egyptian authorities to give demonstrators the space to protest in peace – a warning against dispersing pro-Mursi sit-ins. ‘We will work very, very hard together with others, in order to bring parties together to find a peaceful resolution that grows the democracy and respects the rights of everybody,’ Kerry said before a meeting United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed in London.”
3. AQ chatter causes rush for the doors. AP’s Bradley Klapper reports, “The United States issued an extraordinary global travel warning to Americans Friday about the threat of an al-Qaida attack and closed down 21 embassies and consulates across the Muslim world for the weekend. The alert was the first of its kind since an announcement preceding the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. This one comes with the scars still fresh from last year’s deadly Sept. 11 attack on a U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya . . . .” See related, “US issues global alert over al-Qaeda ‘threat’”
4. New hope for U.S.-Afghan Bilats. Khaama.Com contributor Ahmad Shah Katawaza reports, “After the visit of two high levels US Officials Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the joint chief of staff to Kabul and Secretary of State John Kerry to Pakistan hopes arose that the negotiations will begin soon regarding the Afghan-US Bilateral Security agreement, indeed both visits yielded positive and encouraging results for resuming talks on the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) between the two countries.” Meanwhile, “22 Afghan police, 76 Taliban killed in Nangarhar clashes” and “Afghan King’s granddaughter marries Prince Muhammad of Egypt.”
5. In Kenya, “Somalis, go home!” AllAfrica.Com picks up VoA’s report, “The Kenyan government is in talks with Somalia over the repatriation of Somali refugees living in the world’s largest refugee camp in Dadaab, Kenya. But insecurity at the camp has put pressure on Kenya to relocate its residents, while instability in Somalia remains a concern for those thinking of returning home. The camp in northern Kenya shelters more a quarter of a million refugees, and most have been there for more than two decades. The Kenyan government is growing increasingly concerned about accommodating such a large refugee population and about security issues.”
1. Air Force goes Canadian: drone training contract award. DefenseNews.Com reports that Canadian based CAE will train Reaper and Predator pilots: “For the Quebec-based CAE, the contract is a return to its roots. The company won its first five-year contract for this training in 1998 and held on to it in during a recompete in 2003. But in 2008, the Air Force limited competition to small businesses only, knocking CAE out of the running. After opening it to all companies this year, the service announced that CAE beat out five other companies in a Tuesday contract announcement.”
2. Defense contractor up for Secretary of the Air Force. AP reports, “Obama is nominating Deborah Lee James, an executive at the defense contractor Science Applications International Corp., to head the Air Force, where she would replace Michael Donley, who stepped down in June after being in the job for five years. If confirmed by the Senate, she would be one of the few women to serve as the senior civilian leader of an armed services branch.”
3. Unloading on Iraq – for a tidy bundle of wampum. Wired.Com’s Allen McDuffee observes, “Providing approximately $1 billion in military equipment and training to address chemical and biological agents when the Iraqi army appears to be overwhelmed by a wave of bombings, IEDs attacks and shootings that have resulted in more than 900 Iraqi deaths raises the question of whether the sale addresses Iraq’s current needs.”
TECH, PRIVACY, & SECRECY
1. Moto-X – Latest challenge to iPhone and Android. VentureBeat.Com’s Devindra Hardawar evaluates Motorola’s “anti-Droid”: That the Moto X doesn’t feature the absolute fastest mobile processor doesn’t matter much. It’s all about simplicity, comfort, and some forward-thinking features. It’s a friendlier Android phone for people who would typically go for an iPhone. It is, in many ways, the anti-Droid.” Less thrilled, perhaps, is Techland.Time.Com’s Harry McCracken: “at first blush, the X seems to be a solid effort that incorporates a number of clever ideas.”
2. Snowden walks into the Russian sunset. Reuters’ Lidia Kelly, Alissa de Carbonnel and Timothy Heritage report, “After nearly six weeks in hiding at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport, Edward Snowden walked calmly out of the transit area, ducked into a car and was driven away unnoticed. It was an anti-climactic end to one chapter of a saga watched by the world in which the American, wanted in Washington for leaking details of secret U.S. surveillance programmes, stayed out of sight for almost 40 days and nights.” See also, Snowden Finally Leaves Airport. U.S. – Russian Tensions, and Snowden’s new home.
3. Future of NSA abuse. TheAtlantic.Com’s Connor Friedersdorf predicts, “It is naive — in fact, it is absurd — to imagine that the scores or hundreds of NSA analysts given access to these databases will never commit abuses. There are bad apples in every human enterprise. Agencies that operate under the cover of secrecy are that much more vulnerable to abuses. U.S. surveillance agencies have a particularly sordid history of abusing the power given them. Illegal, warrantless spying on Americans was secretly conducted as recently as the Bush years, and the people responsible for the illegal abuses were granted retroactive immunity. Edward Snowden himself demonstrated that the NSA cannot predict when one of its own might suddenly abscond with top secret information that no one planned to be made public.”
1. Kerry’s Crunking. SecState Kerry tries to sidestep a slip o’ the tongue that may have betrayed his real feelings about Egypt’s coup: “The U.S. has tried hard not to appear as if it is taking sides in the crisis. But when Kerry said Thursday in Pakistan that the Egyptian military was ‘‘’restoring democracy’’ in leading the July 3 coup, it left the impression that the U.S. backed the military action. Kerry moved quickly to defuse the flap, saying on Friday that all parties — the military as well as pro-Morsi demonstrators — needed to work toward a peaceful and ‘‘’inclusive’’ political resolution of the crisis.” And, so, the Crunk.
2. Dancing through a minefield. Hillary Clinton avoids stepping on a Weiner: “Republicans are betting that Weiner’s antics will heighten voters’ sense of “Clinton fatigue” — that by 2016 they won’t want to relive eight years of high drama and investigations. But they have also seized on the Weiner affair as an opportunity not just to create a cloud around Hillary Clinton, but also her husband. Both Clintons remain tremendously popular, with the former President playing a potent role on the 2012 campaign trail, even overshadowing President Obama at last year’s Democratic National Convention.”
OPINIONS EVERYONE HAS
1. It won’t work in Egypt, either. Reuters contributor David Rohde equates failed U.S. diplomatic logic in Pakistan with our approach to Egypt: “As the Egyptian army continued its violent crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood this week, White House officials said that the United States can’t cut off its $1.3 billion a year in aid to Egypt. To do so would cause Washington to lose “influence” with the country’s generals. Vital American security interests are at stake, they argued, and keeping the torrent of American aid flowing gives Washington leverage. If that argument sounds familiar, it is. For the last decade, the United States has used the same logic in Pakistan.”
2. “Egypt’s Three Challenges.” USNews.Com contributor Andrew Natsios argues, “As the immediate Egyptian political crisis deepens, three issues will determine the outcome: how to establish the legitimacy of any government when the general public appears to be equally divided between secularists and Islamists, how to resolve the economic crisis facing the country, and how to manage its abiding development challenge and that is the receding waters of the Nile River. If these issues are not resolved, Egypt could become a failed state which could in a worst case scenario shut down the Suez Canal, stop oil flows to western countries through the canal, spread the Muslim Brotherhood’s revolution to other relatively stable countries such as Jordan and Saudi Arabia, and endanger the already fragile peace agreement between Egypt and Israel.”
2. The Transit Area.
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