TSA Agent Killed, Choppers for Afghanistan, and DARPA’s Grand Challenge – Daily Intelligence

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A perfect day and The Week’s Takeaways.

FROM THE DESK OF CLEARANCEJOBS.COM

1.  Fewer nukes, more effective, job opportunities. Contributor Marc Selinger explains, “As part of its efforts to keep its nuclear inventory modern and reliable, the U.S. military is gearing up to develop a nuclear-capable Long Range Standoff (LRSO) cruise missile to replace its aging AGM-86 Air Launched Cruise Missile (ALCM), which has been operational since 1986. . . . The Air Force recently announced that it plans to release a request for proposals for the LRSO program’s technology phase in May 2014. To prepare for the RFP, the government scheduled an Oct. 31 industry day to review its draft acquisition strategy and receive feedback from industry. Potential competitors include Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Raytheon.”

2.  Congress – getting some work done.  Contributor Ashley LaGanga reports, among other items, “A report by the General Accounting Office found thousands of U.S. officials and contractors with security clearances have racked up $85 million in delinquent, personal tax debts . . . . Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK), the ranking member of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, requested the GAO study.  ‘It is absurd to give federal employees and contractors who have already failed to follow the law access to our nation’s classified information,’ Coburn said.”  And, the House passed four new bills for Vets: see them here.

THE FORCE AND THE FIGHT

1.  TSA Officer killed in the line of dutyAP’s Tami Abdollah and Justin Pritchard report, “A man toting a semi-automatic rifle, some 150 rounds of ammunition and a grudge against ‘pigs’ and TSA agents shot his way past a security checkpoint at Los Angeles International Airport in a deadly rampage that sent hundreds of travelers fleeing in terror. When the shooting stopped, a Transportation Security Administration officer was dead. Gerardo I. Hernandez, 39, became the first TSA officer in the agency’s 12-year history to be killed in the line of duty.”

2.  Pak Taliban mourn Mehsud – drones’ missed opportunityReuters’ Jibran Ahmad reports from Peshawar, Pakistan, “Pakistani Taliban fighters gathered on Saturday for the funeral of their leader who was killed by a U.S. drone aircraft while some Pakistani politicians denounced the attack and called for the cutting of U.S. supply lines into Afghanistan. . . . Hakimullah Mehsud, who had a $5 million bounty on his head, and three others were killed on Friday in the militant stronghold of Miranshah in northwest Pakistan. Mehsud was killed when his vehicle was hit after he attended a meeting of Taliban leaders, a Pakistani Taliban fighter said. His bodyguard and driver were also killed.” [Please, keep gathering in large groups in open terrain.]  In directly related news, Khaama.Com reports, “Khan Said Sajna has been named as the chief of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), a day after Hakimullah Mehsud was killed following a US drone strike in North Waziristan. Khan Said was named as TTP chief during a meeting of the Pakistani Taliban’s Shura (Council) in an undisclosed location on Saturday.  And, drones anger Pakistani Taliban.

3.  In Iraq, civil war growing worseAP’s Nedra Pickler reports, “President Barack Obama pledged Friday to help combat an increasingly active al-Qaida in Iraq but stopped short of announcing new commitments of assistance sought by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. . . . Obama said the best way to honor those killed in the Iraq war would be to bring about a functioning democracy. Al-Maliki’s critics have accused him for years of a heavy-handed leadership that refuses to compromise and, to some, oversteps his authority against political enemies. But Obama only praised the prime minister for working to include Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds.”  Aljazeera.Com reports, “US President Barack Obama and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki discussed how to ‘push back’ against al-Qaeda amid the deadliest surge of violence in Iraq in five years. The two leaders met at the White House nearly two years after the last US troops left Iraq, but as fears mount that al-Qaeda will send the country spiraling back into civil war.”

4.  No peace talks in Geneva without oppositionAljazeera.Com reports, “UN-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi has said that a proposed Geneva peace conference to end the war in Syria cannot be held without the participation of the opposition. . . . The opposition is divided over whether or not to attend the long-delayed conference, which Russia and the US first proposed in May. . . . Rebels and the political opposition say that any negotiations should be based on the removal of President Bashar al-Assad. The Coalition, which is under pressure from its Western and Arab backers to attend the Geneva talks, is to meet on November 9 to decide whether to participate.”

CONTRACT WATCH

1.  Russia’s U.S. sponsored helos for AfghanistanKhaama.Com reports, “Russia will deliver 30 Mil Mi-12V-5 helicopters to the Afghan national armed forces by 2014, under a contract signed between Russia and the US government. Russia’s state-run arms trader Rosoboronexport in its latest report carried by Interfax-AVN has said, ‘Rosoboronexport and the U.S. government drew up and signed a new large agreement in 2013 to deliver an additional batch of 30 helicopters in 2014, which was another demonstration of mutual understanding between the sides and their course towards a positive outcome.’”

2.  Cyber Grand Challenge. Let the games beginDefenseMediaNetwork.Com’s Steven Hoarn reports, “The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has always thought big. The Cyber Grand Challenge (CGC), DARPA’s latest endeavor to improve the speed and effectiveness of IT security in the face of escalating cyber threats, keeps with that tradition. Certainly the $2 million that will be awarded to the winner is big, but that only tells part of the story. The goal of the CGC is to attract teams who will craft automated systems that will compete against each other in order to evaluate software, test for vulnerabilities, generate security patches, and apply them to a network of computers, in the first-ever tournament for fully automatic network defense systems.”

TECH, PRIVACY, & SECRECY

1.  Presuming a lot, is Snowden Germany’s golden boy?  The Guardian’s Philip Otterman reports from Berlin, “Edward Snowden may be invited to Germany as a witness against the US National Security Agency. Action is under way in the Bundestag to commission a parliamentary investigation into US intelligence service spying and a German politician met Snowden in Moscow on Thursday to discuss the matter. . . . The latest developments will encourage those who hope Germany may eventually grant political asylum to Snowden. In June, his application for asylum there was rejected by the foreign ministry because, legally, he had to apply for asylum in person and on German soil. If Snowden was brought to Germany as a witness, he could meet these requirements.”

2.  Trying to breathe life into BlackberryReuters’ Soyoung Kim, Nadia Damouni and Nicola Leske report, “Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd is struggling to raise financing for its $4.7 billion bid for BlackBerry Ltd, with several large banks declining to participate on concerns that the smartphone maker will not be able to reverse its fortunes, according to people familiar with the matter.”

3.  Tech, trust, and governmentVentureBeat.Com’s Devindra Hardawar: “It’s no surprise that tech companies are actively trying to defend themselves from future government snooping. As the New York Times reports, big tech companies like Facebook and Twitter are now following in Google’s footsteps by encrypting user traffic. But defensive efforts are getting even more extreme: Google, for example, began encrypting its internal network’s traffic this summer, months before it knew for sure that the government had access to those servers. And as the NSA’s efforts appear more damning with every new leaked document (passed to the press by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden), it’s as if we can see the trust between the tech world and the government disappearing before our eyes.”

POTOMAC TWO-STEP

1.  Employment Non-Discrimination Act: “Gay rights advocates – Republicans and Democrats – are newly upbeat about the prospects for Senate passage of a bill that would prohibit employers from discriminating against workers on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. The outlook for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act – the first test vote is Monday – reflects the nation’s growing tolerance of homosexuality and the GOP’s political calculation as it looks for supporters beyond its core base of older voters.”

2.  The wallflower legislation strategy: “Many House Republicans are replacing their push to delay or defund the 2010 federal health law with a new strategy: Hang back and see if problems with the rollout continue or get worse. It is an abrupt reversal of the activist approach of just weeks ago, when Republicans demanded changes to the law in exchange for funding the government or raising the nation’s borrowing limit. Now, they say putting the spotlight on technical flaws of the law’s health-insurance exchange may be more effective than a direct attack.”

OPINIONS EVERYONE HAS

1.  “Why we shouldn’t be shocked about the NSA tapping Google and Yahoo.”  VentureBeat.Com’s Meghan Kelly argues, “These leaks about the NSA are really gumming up the works. U.S. tech companies are pissed. Citizens are pissed. The international community is pissed. And rightfully so.”

2.  Get the hell OUT of the box (or shut up): How Jobs won the worldWired.Com’s Fred Vogelstein explains, “Minutes after Jobs unveiled the iPad on January 27, 2010, it appeared as if he’d cleared the bar he’d set for Apple by a mile. He laid out his new invention for the world more slowly than usual, as if he were helping his audience complete a vast jigsaw puzzle.”

3.  Petraeus – CUNY protestors’ tidy little Vietnam. Aljazeera.Com contributor Tarak Barkawi argues that “protesters seem to think that Petraeus and his hokey course represent some kind of ‘US government’ and ‘CUNY administration’ project to ‘turn the university into an infamous “war college.” However laudable their desire to protest the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the protestors’ rhetoric is confused and overblown.”

THE FUNNIES

1.  Awesome waves!

2.  Octo-Liberty.

3.  Wheel of Mis-Fortune.

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.

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