Shutdown D+1 & Wednesday’s Cliffs Notes.


1.   Your clearance, their shutdown. Your job may depend on getting your clearance, but with shutdown in effect, how long will you wait? Editor Lindy Kyzer answers, with details, “If you’re awaiting a security clearance, your investigation will continue to be processed despite the government shutdown. Facility security clearances will not be processed, however.”

2.  Cyberattack defenses, up! The next battle ground could be in our servers, and, when not shutdown, the government is working with industry to shore up the parapets: Contributor Marc Selinger reports, “The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has published a draft voluntary framework of standards and industry best practices for reducing cyber risks to critical infrastructure, and the next draft is on track to be published in mid-October . . . . The government is developing incentives for adopting the framework. Areas being looked at include spurring an insurance market for cybersecurity, looking at how to build cybersecurity into federal grants, streamlining regulations and instituting public recognition programs.”


1.  Rouhani has Iran’s backing. Though analysts remain wisely skeptical, the Iranian Parliament – according to Iranian media – seems anxious to normalize relations with the West. Reuters reports, “Iran’s parliament strongly endorsed President Hassan Rouhani’s diplomatic bid to dispel mistrust at the United Nations last week during a visit which ended with an historic phone call with President Barack Obama . . . . The backing from the assembly, controlled by political factions deeply loyal to Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, is a further sign that Rouhani has the support of the Iranian establishment.” At the same time, Israeli Prime Minister describes “Rouhani as ‘a wolf in sheep’s clothing’ . . . .”   Read PM Netanyahu’s entire speech.

2.  In Syria, the U.N. begins chemical weapons inspections in Assad’s opportunity to avert U.S. attacks. Aljazeera.Com reports from Damascus, “A chemical weapons disarmament team has arrived in Damascus to begin evaluating the country’s arsenal of the banned weapons. The inspectors from The Hague-based Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons travelled by road from Lebanon on Tuesday, a day after UN experts departed after probing a series of alleged chemical attacks. The team of 19 inspectors will begin a complex mission of locating and dismantling an estimated 1,000-tonne chemical arsenal as the civil war rages in Syria.”

3.  In Afghanistan, teaching a man to fish: reading and leading. McClatchyDC.Com’s Jay Price reports from Darlaman Training Bas in Afghanistan, “As it prepares to start its fifth and final year, the NATO-led $200 million literacy program for the Afghan national security forces quietly has created what is likely to be one of the most important legacies that the international military coalition will leave behind: tens of thousands of previously illiterate Afghans who can now read. Its very success . . . has created another need: reading material for the thousands of young recruits who complete the training each month so they can keep their precious new skills from eroding.” And just across the Durand Line, Mullah Fazlullah takes credit for Pakistani general officer assassination, according to Bill Roggio with LongWarJournal.Org.

4.  CJCS Martin Dempsey on his first, and second term. From Seoul, South Korea, American Forces Press Service’s Jim Garamone reports, “In his first two-year term as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey hasn’t blinked when facing challenges that would make some men quit – the Iraq withdrawal, the Afghan surge, the sexual assault epidemic, green-on-blue killings in Afghanistan, sequestration, Benghazi, the Arab Spring, the Syrian War, a colder relationship with the Russians. And it goes on day after day after day. The chairman began his second two-year term today.”

5.  Storming the beaches in Senegal. In AFRICOM’s AoR, A landing craft unit carrying dozens of international military forces dropped its gate off the sands of Senegal. The U.S. led the charge and stormed the beach like a wave crashing against the shores. They leaped off the ramp two by two, each wearing and carrying more than 50 pounds of gear, in an effort to get to dry land as quickly as possible. The U.S. Marines and sailors of Africa Partnership Station 13 recently completed a week-long engagement with the Senegalese Companie de Fusilier Marine Commandos to further promote maritime security and partnership in the area.”


1.  China, Turkey, and US Ambassador Ricciardone. On Monday, ClearanceJobs.Com highlighted China Central Television’s report that “Chinese defense manufacturers have won a 4 billion US dollar bid to supply Turkey with long-range missile defense equipment.” Now, HürriyetDailyNews.Com reports that after China won the bid, Ambassador to Turkey Ricciardone, formerly Deputy U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan, is concerned: “’We are concerned about that [Chinese] company, and its role as a nuclear weapons technology proliferator in the world . . . . This is not a NATO system. China is not a member of NATO. This is one of the issues [at hand] . . . .’”

2.  Contractors Gone Wild: 719 – the number of problems with the F-35. DefenseOne.Com’s Mark Micheli reports, “A recent report from the Pentagon’s internal watchdog reveals that the next gen fighter jet is plagued with hundreds of issues. The Defense Department’s Inspector General conducted a series of quality assurance assessments that found the Joint Program Office and Defense Contract Management Agency performed ‘inadequate oversight,’ failing to adhere to widely adopted quality management protocols while losing control of contractors that have already sunk an estimated $400 billion taxpayer dollars into what is the most expensive weapons system ever developed by the U.S. government.”


1.  Intuitive Robotics Operator Control (IROC) Challenge 2013. It’s on. The U.S.M.C. is looking for a few good, intuitive machines. DefenseMediaNetwork.Com’s Scott R. Gourley reports that “the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory (MCWL) is gathering information to support its 2013 Intuitive Robotics Operator Control (IROC) Challenge, planned for Nov. 4-8, 2013, at Muscatatuck Urban Training Center (MUTC) in Butlerville, Ind. . . . The RFI notes that ‘MCWL’s efforts in Tactical Control and Tactical Robotics will continue to explore the role of the robot as a functional member of a squad utilizing more intuitive methods of interaction and control of the robot. Instead of adding the burden of a hand controller, this effort aims to facilitate interaction similar to the way Marines interact in a squad, using methods such as gestures, voice commands, and touch to more intuitively supervise the system . . . .’”

2.  The next coup – Gates pushed out?  Exclusive from Reuters’ Nadia Damouni and Bill Rigby, “Three of the top 20 investors in Microsoft Corp are lobbying the board to press for Bill Gates to step down as chairman of the software company he co-founded 38 years ago . . . . While Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer has been under pressure for years to improve the company’s performance and share price, this appears to be the first time that major shareholders are taking aim at Gates, who remains one of the most respected and influential figures in technology.”

3.  The Kindle Fire HDX – a great reviewTime contributor Harry McCracken concludes, “The online merchant’s new Fire is more powerful and less quirky than its predecessors – and its built-in tech support is a breakthrough. . . . the company plans to start selling a $379 Kindle Fire HDX with an 8.9″ display and magnesium unibody case on November 7. With all of these new models, Amazon is sticking to the strategy it hatched with its first Kindle e-reader back in 2007. It sells the devices at little or no profit, in hopes of turning a profit as happy customers splurge on videos, music, books, magazines, newspapers, apps and games.”


1.  Oh, hell yes! The Greatest Generation takes back their memorial. In a move that no one could or would want to stop, our Nation’s Greatest Generation, Vets of WWII, lead once again and reminds us, “This land is your land, this land is my land”: “Wheelchair-bound elderly veterans pushed aside barricades to tour the World War II Memorial Tuesday morning, in defiance of the government shutdown which closed all of the memorials in the nation’s capital. . . . As 80-something veterans slowly walked around the massive war memorial, Park Police stood quietly to the side, advising other tourists that the site was technically still closed. But they made no moves to stop the wishes of the war heroes.”  Thanks. At least there’s some intestinal fortitude left.  See also, “A ‘Shutdown’ Can’t Stop the Greatest Generation.”

2.  Congressional rating: 10% . . . who are the 10%?  While Boehner graces the front page of New York’s Daily News, 90% of the nation, according to polls, have said, Enough already: “With the government shut down over a bitter partisan battle over the new health care law, the approval rating for Congress is plummeting to historic lows. And a CNN/ORC International poll released on Monday indicates that it’s not just Congress and its top leaders making history for all the wrong reasons. It’s also the tea party and the Democratic and Republican parties. According to the survey, just 10% of Americans say they approve of the job Congress is doing, an all-time low in a CNN poll. And 87% say they disapprove of the job federal lawmakers are doing, higher than it’s ever been in CNN polling.”


1.  “The lie of ‘women and children.’” Aljazeera.Com contributor Zillah Einstein argues, “Patriarchal gender distinctions are often invoked to supposedly protect one’s nation – but this form of nationalist rhetoric in fact seeks to discipline and punish.  If the use of chemical warfare is inhumane, it is inhumane for each and every human body, not just for women and children. Age and gender need not be specified.  Yet the patriarchal, nationalist narrative insists on distinguishing women and children from the rest.”

2.  Analysis of the shutdown politics. WaPo contributor Kathleen Parker argues, “In the hours leading up to and following Tuesday’s government shutdown, conventional spin (wisdom is on permanent leave) was that the tea-party crazies popularly known as the Insanity Caucus were driving the Republican House, compliments of lead wacko-bird Sen. Ted Cruz, so named by John McCain and subsequently embraced by Cruz. This is partly true.”

3.  “What History Will Say.” TheDailyBeast.Com’s Michael Tomasky argues, “Tuesday perfectly expressed what these two parties have come to be about. The Democrats have many flaws, and money has corrupted them at certain times on certain issues almost as much as it has corrupted Republicans. And yes, sometimes some Democrats behave divisively, too. But at least they have had good moments, even great ones. The passage of Social Security. Medicare and Medicaid. Civil rights . . . . Women’s rights. And most recently gay rights, including same-sex marriage; history will recall Barack Obama with admiration as the first sitting president willing to voice his support for that.”


1.  Flu season.

2.  Liberty closed.

3.  Ctrl + Alt + Del, then Reboot.

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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.