Friday Finale & This Time Last Year


1. Be 8570 compliant. Editor Lindy Kyzer explains, “DoD 8570 establishes the policies and responsibilities of Department of Defense information assurance, including training, certification and workforce management. It is a baseline requirement for access to DoD IT systems. If you’re an entry-level IT professional looking to pursue a defense job, you’ll want to ensure you’re DoD 8570 compliant before applying to a position. . . .”

2. “You’re not real FBI, are you?”Contributor Jillian Hamilton reports, “It’s still a man’s world inside the intelligence community, according to a ‘small but vocal’ group of female whistleblowers from the FBI. They’re alleging discrimination in the ranks, and have garnered the ear of Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles Grassley. He asked the director of the FBI about the discrimination in a hearing last year, and now one female FBI agent who was fired is telling her story . . . .”


1. US boots on Ukrainian ground. Reuters’ Gabriela Baczynska and David Alexander report, “The Russian Defense Ministry said on Thursday that U.S. troops were training Ukrainian forces in the conflict zone in eastern Ukraine, but the Pentagon flatly denied it, accusing Moscow of a ‘ridiculous attempt’ to obscure its own activity in the region. Interfax quoted Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov as saying U.S. troops were training Ukrainian forces not only in western Ukraine . . . . The Russian Defense Ministry affirmed the report, but the Pentagon rejected it.”

2. Obama at war. Politico’s Michael Crowley evaluates, “Obama pledged in his 2013 inaugural address that ‘a decade of war is now ending,’ but the numbers suggest otherwise. The U.S. takes regular lethal action in at least five countries. U.S. troops are deployed in three conflict zones. And America is directly involved in a pair of Arab civil wars.”

3. Holbrooke on Obama on Afghanistan. The New York Times’ Matthew Rosenberg reports, “Mr. Holbrooke, a diplomatic troubleshooter who worked for every Democratic president since the 1960s, was widely known to be in conflict with the Obama administration. But the audio notes that he dictated on a near daily basis from August 2010 until his death at age 69 from a torn aorta in December of that year provide an usually candid, if one-sided, record of the internecine battles that troubled the administration over the direction of the war in Afghanistan.”

4. McGurk on Obama on ISIS. Defense One’s interview with the Ambassador: “The entire U.S. campaign to turn back the Islamic State tide in Iraq was floundering on the shoals of strategic incoherence. . . . At that dire moment, American officials believe an Iraqi champion stepped forward. And subsequent events have only reinforced their view.”

5. Petraeus sentenced, a little. USA Today’s Rad Berky reports, “David Petraeus, the retired four-star general leader who once commanded military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, pleaded guilty Thursday in federal court to leaking classified information to his mistress and biographer, Paula Broadwell, and was sentenced to two years probation and fined $100,000. The sentence did not include any prison time, but the fine was $60,000 higher than the tentative terms reached in a plea deal two months ago.” See also, “Ex-general, CIA chief Petraeus gets probation, $100,000 fine in leak case.”


1. $90 million for Raytheon sub antennas. Military & Aerospace Electronics Editor John Keller reports, “Satellite communications (SATCOM) experts at the Raytheon Co. will provide the U.S. Navy with 25 Submarine High Data Rate (Sub HDR) antenna systems under terms of an $89.1 million contract . . . . The contract to Raytheon includes Sub HDR antenna buys for the U.S. Navy and for the United Kingdom Royal Navy. Sub HDR is a communication system that connects submariners to the above-sea world by giving them high data rate, multi-band SATCOM capability.”

2. Cobra upgrades on their way. Also from Military & Aerospace Electronics, “Military electro-optics experts at Kollsman Inc. in Merrimack, N.H., will provide night vision and targeting equipment for U.S. Marine Corps attack helicopters under terms of a $43 million contract . . . . Officials of the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Crane, Ind., are asking Kollsman to provide Night Targeting Systems Upgrade (NTSU) equipment and support for Marine Corps AH-1 Cobra attack helicopters.”


1. Rethinking drones? Christian Science Monitor’s Peter Grier reports, “In an extraordinary admission on Thursday, the White House announced that two Al Qaeda hostages – American development specialist Warren Weinstein and Italian aid worker Giovanni Lo Porto – were killed in a US counterterrorism operation in January. . . . US intelligence had missed the presence of hostages, despite hundreds of hours of surveillance.” See also, “The U.S. keeps killing Americans in drone strikes, mostly by accident” and OSJI’s “Death By Drone.”

2. On spying. Washington Post’s Andrea Peterson reports, “Jeb Bush is a big fan of government spying programs started under his brother, President George W. Bush. . . . But where presidential hopefuls stand on the phone records program — which scoops up information including who Americans call and the length of those conversations, but not their content — has a new urgency because the part of the Patriot Act that authorizes that phone records program, Section 215, is set to expire on June 1.”

3. NSA’s Quantum Insert strategy. Wired’s Kim Zetter reports, “Quantum Insert is useful for getting at machines that can’t be reached through phishing attacks. It works by hijacking a browser as it’s trying to access web pages and forcing it to visit a malicious web page, rather than the page the target intend to visit. The attackers can then surreptitiously download malware onto the target’s machine from the rogue web page. Quantum Insert has been used to hack the machines of terrorist suspects in the Middle East, but it was also used in a controversial GCHQ/NSA operation against employees of the Belgian telecom Belgacom and against workers at OPEC . . .”


1. Breakin’ the law. “White House hopeful Hillary Clinton ‘violated the law’ when she used a personal email address to conduct official business as secretary of State, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Thursday, adding that the full House may vote to subpoena Clinton’s private email server if she doesn’t hand it over. ‘All options are on the table,’ Boehner said . . . . ‘If we need to do that, we may have to.’ ‘The idea that [Clinton] was going to use her own server and do official business on it goes against every transparency issue that the president likes to tout’ . . . .”

2. Engraved invitation. “A House investigatory panel has summoned Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton to testify at a May 18 public hearing about her use of a private email server during her tenure as secretary of state. The panel, which is probing the September 2012 terrorist attacks on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, has scheduled a second public hearing one month later, on June 18, to grill Clinton about Benghazi. Both hearings are contingent upon Clinton providing ‘a complete record’ about her role before, during and after the attacks, which killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. That may be a long shot.”


1. “Intelligence Reform 2.0.” Defense One contributors David Shedd and Matthew W. Ferraro advise, “Ten years ago this month, the American intelligence agencies were reorganized to prevent another 9/11. Now the Intelligence Community needs even more radical transformation as national-security challenges grow, budgets decrease, and questions arise about intelligence’s place within an open society. The key to addressing these challenges will be building a more integrated intelligence enterprise that demonstrates its value to the American people. We recommend six major initiatives.

2. “General Amnesty: Petraeus’s Escape.” The Atlantic contributor David A. Graham observes, “In Petraeus’s case, there was no proven harm to national security, but prosecutors said the type of breach he committed, especially from the head of the CIA, was serious enough to merit prosecution. His plea deal makes it easy for naysayers to think there’s a double standard on who gets a slap on the wrist and who gets sent to a cell.”

3. “The Iran nuclear deal.” The Daily Times contributor Abdur Rahma Chowdhury argues, “The US-led invasion in 2002 removed the equilibrium that hitherto existed and allowed Iran, a country of 80 million people, to emerge as a regional power. This is the reality. A regional power can aspire to possess nuclear capability when its neighbours, including Israel, Russia, China, India and Pakistan, have already acquired that capability. Wisdom lies in accepting the reality and dealing with it accordingly.”

4. “With 580 U.S. boots on the ground in Ukraine, what’s Vladimir Putin’s next move?Reuters contributor Josh Cohen argues, “While sending fewer than 300 American troops to Ukraine may seem insignificant, Moscow does not see it that way. The ride is about to get rockier.”


1. Raw strength and courage.

2. Tree hugger.

3. Louder than words.

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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.