Monday Mourning


1. Probation and your clearance. Contributors William Loveridge and Mark F. Riley explain, “You may think that being sentenced to [probation before judgment, or PBJ] is an easy fix for your criminal charges, but beware of what you ask for or are offered. Probation, even PBJ, can result in the revocation of a clearance or withdrawal of eligibility for access and very possibly subsequent termination of employment.”

2. On the table: Cyber Threat Intelligence Integration Center. Contributor Marc Sellinger reports, “The CTIIC will be overseen by the director of national intelligence and will be comparable to the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), which was formed after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to improve the integration and analysis of terrorism intelligence collected by other agencies. Like the NCTC, the new center is expected to draw on intelligence and analysis expertise from other agencies.”


1. ISIS, Egypt clash in Libya. Reuters’ Omar Fahmy and Yara Bayoumy report, “Egypt’s air force bombed Islamic State targets inside Libya on Monday, a day after the group released a video showed the beheading of 21 Egyptians there, marking an escalation in Cairo’s battle against militants. It was the first time Egypt confirmed launching air strikes against the group in neighboring Libya, showing President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is ready to expand his fight against Islamist militancy beyond Egypt’s borders.” See also, “21 Egyptian Christians executed in Islamic State video, “Egypt strikes IS group in Libya,” and “Yazidi mass graves.”

2. Dempsey’s room to maneuver. Politico Defense’s Philip Ewing and Jeremy Herb report, “Congress may not vote for months on President Barack Obama’s request to authorize the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, but the political battle already has one clear winner: Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey. While both Democrats and Republicans expressed strong reservations about the proposal Obama sent to the Hill on Wednesday, raising questions about whether it will pass, the nation’s top uniformed leader appeared to get nearly everything he wanted.”

3. Lone wolves’ threat. Christian Science Monitor’s Brad Knickerbocker reports, “The White House this week hosts a summit on countering violent extremism, coincidentally just days after murderous attacks with multiple victims in the United States and Europe. . . . The meeting, featuring speakers and participants from the US and abroad, has been in the works for months, part of a program the Obama administration began in 2011. But it comes just as a new report warns of a rise in violence by ‘lone wolves’ or ‘leaderless resistance’ groups composed of no more than two people.”

4. Pacific Pathways to a new Army. Breaking Defense’s Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. reports, “From hunting jungle animals to communicating across the ocean, US Army soldiers learned much in the first Pacific Pathways wargames that Iraq and Afghanistan never taught them. Those exercises are part of the service’s effort to reinvent itself as it shrinks, heading from a wartime peak of 570,000 to 450,000 or below. Instead of prolonged, large-scale warfare in a single theater, the ‘complex world’ envisioned by the new Army Operating Concept requires smaller forces dispersed across the globe working with friendly nations, especially in Asia, to which US strategy is ostensibly ‘rebalancing.’”


1. Lockheed’s Commercial Off the Shelf sonar. Military & Aerospace Electronics Editor John Keller reports, “Sonar experts at Lockheed Martin Corp. are preparing the way for installing the latest generation commercial off-the-shelf (COTS)-based submarine sonar signal processing equipment on four new Virginia-class fast-attack submarines for the U.S. Navy. Officials of the Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington last week awarded a $71.6 million contract to the Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Training segment in Manassas, Va. . . .”

2. GSA looking for contracting edge. Federal Times’ Andy Medici reports, “The General Services Administration is exploring different ways to boost its contract spending market share and enhance its Multiple Awards Schedule program . . . . By avoiding pricing at the top level of the contracts, agencies could get labor and cost pricing from vendors specific to the work . . . . That would make for a faster process and drive better pricing . . . .”


1. CIA’s OPERATION AVARICE. The New York Times’ C. J. Chivers and Eric Schmitt report, “The Central Intelligence Agency, working with American troops during the occupation of Iraq, repeatedly purchased nerve-agent rockets from a secretive Iraqi seller, part of a previously undisclosed effort to ensure that old chemical weapons remaining in Iraq did not fall into the hands of terrorists or militant groups . . . . The extraordinary arms purchase plan, known as Operation Avarice, began in 2005 and continued in 2006 . . . .”

2. DAPRA after the Dark Web. Nextgov’s Hallie Golden reports, “Developed by DARPA, this search engine on steroids dives deep into the realm of the “Dark Web” and spits out a data-driven map detailing all of the patterns it’s unearthed. After only one year in use, Memex has already played an important role in about 20 different investigations . . . .”

3. FAA’s new drone rules. Aviation Week’s Graham Warwick reports, “Anyone wanting to fly a small unmanned aircraft commercially in U.S. airspace will have to obtain an special operator certificate and pass a test on the “rules of the air”, but the aircraft themselves will not require airworthiness approval, according to a proposed rule finally released Feb.15 by the FAA.”


1. Senate’s fault: “House Speaker John Boehner says he’s ready to let funding run out for the federal Department of Homeland Security if the Senate cannot pass legislation soon to keep paying the agency’s bills. ‘The House has acted. We’ve done our job,’ the Ohio Republican said . . . . ‘Senate Democrats are the ones putting us in this precarious position, and it’s up to Senate Democrats to get their act together.’ . . . ‘One more time: The House has done its job under the Constitution,’ Boehner said, holding up a copy of the Constitution in booklet form. ‘It’s time for the Senate to do their job.’”

2. We’re here to help: “House Speaker John Boehner has defended his invitation to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address Congress, with the speaker saying he is “trying to strengthen the president’s hand” in negotiations with Iran. . . . Boehner cited the growing threat from groups like the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, the possibility of Iran developing nuclear weapons and what he said were “few words” given on the issue by President Obama in his recent State of the Union speech. He called the Israeli leader’s talk ‘important messages that the Congress needs to hear and the American people need to hear.’”


1. “Two crises and one hapless ‘savior’ in Europe.” Reuters contributor John Lloyd argues, “Leaders weakened and hobbled by their domestic pressures and political cultures, with powerful forces in their countries unwilling to allow them to conclude agreements, make bad negotiators. That’s why, this week, the unknowns remain as unknown as ever. Next week, there is a known. There will be more meetings.”

2. “New Afghanistan: Mujahideen need not apply?Aljazeera contributor Helena Malikyar argues, “The onus is primarily upon Ghani and Abdullah to surmount their workable differences and form a truly united front for taking Afghanistan forward. They must increase their reliance on and confidence in the public and move away from the strategy of trying to please strongmen. Tactics that Karzai used successfully to appease warlords can no longer work. Afghanistan owes them respect, but not its future.”

3. “Russians, Europeans and Mutual Suspicion.” The Moscow Times contributor Pyotr Romanov offers, “Russia and the West are once again locked in a bickering match marked by mutual accusations and name-calling. At the same time, both sides consider themselves the very acme of civilization and their opponents little more than barbarians. I don’t know about you, but turning to history usually helps me make sense of such situations.”


1. Senate’s fault.

2. Finger in the dyke.

3. Selfies.


Related News

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.