Tuesday’s Top Ten


Make it as a civilian. Editor Lindy Kyzer advises, “Service members are prepared for everything from a gas attack to public speaking, but the right formula for how to prepare for life after the military isn’t as easy. When it comes to your transition, here are some key tips to consider. . . .”

Contracting and clearances. Contributor Christopher Burgess reports, “The ultimate challenge facing the IC is ensuring they have sufficient personnel with appropriate training and expertise to oversee the plethora of contract employees.  The oversight committees (SSCI and HPSCI) will be equally challenged in arming their staffers with the appropriate training and expertise to provide the required optic and perspective for the committee members to effectively perform their oversight duties.”


Iran debate is on. AP’s Eric Werner reports, “Lawmakers returning to Washington from their summer recess are plunging immediately into bitter, partisan debate over the Iran nuclear accord. . . . The question as Congress reconvenes Tuesday from a five-week break is whether the disapproval resolution will get through the Senate – or whether Democrats will have the votes to block it with a filibuster.” See also, “How America’s debate over Iran deal was shaped by Vietnam.”

Mullah Mansour Dadullah on Pakistan. The Long War Journal’s Bill Roggio reports, “A former senior Taliban leader who was ousted by Mullah Omar in 2007 has rejected Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour as the new emir of the group and accused Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate of ordering him to conduct assassinations and attacks in Afghanistan. Mullah Mansour Dadullah, the former Taliban commander, released a video addressing his complaints about the Taliban and Pakistan’s intelligence service . . . . Dadullah is the brother of Mullah Dadullah Lang, a revered Taliban military commander who was killed by Coalition forces in May 2007.” See also, “MoU between Afghan Intelligence and ISI will not be implemented.”

China off Alaska. Defense Tech’s Brendan McGarry reports, “Chinese navy ships this week were spotted off the coast of Alaska for the first time. The discovery came the same week China held a massive military parade in Beijing to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Japanese surrender during World War II — and highlights its ambition to become a global military power. A Pentagon official on Friday declined to identify the names of the vessels but said they included three combatant ships, one amphibious landing vessel and one replenishment ship.”


Mark 48 torpedo upgrades. Military & Aerospace Electronics Editor John Keller reports, “Navy submarine warfare experts are asking Lockheed Martin Sippican Inc. in Marion, Mass., to help upgrade the Navy submarine-launched Mark 48 torpedo under terms of a $20 million contract modification . . . . Officials of the Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington are asking Sippican to provide sonar upgrade kits for the Mark 48 Mod 7 torpedo, which is standard armament for the Navy’s fleet of Los Angeles-, Virginia-, and Seawolf-class fast attack submarines, as well as Ohio-class ballistic- and cruise-missile submarines.”

SpecOps ISR mods. Govconwire’s Mary-Louise Hoffman reports, “The U.S. Special Operations Command has chosen four companies to compete for orders to deliver intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance hardware and related services under a potential five-year, $750 million contract. ISOCOM will distribute a $10,000 minimum guarantee to contractors at the time of award, which the command is obligating from its fiscal 2015 operations and maintenance funds . . . . Work will occur at contractor facilities and covers ISR hardware modification, special communication, and signal processing system integration and coordination services.”


Total situational awareness. Signal contributor George Seffers reports, “Researchers are linking together the power of the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence and cloud computing to create a personal assistant to provide total situational awareness to first responders. The advanced program is wise enough to provide only the information necessary for each user, smart enough to ask questions and versatile enough for virtually anyone to use, including firefighters, warfighters, factory workers and home owners. If all goes well, the system is set to begin prototype testing within the next 16 months, and an initial capability could be fielded soon.”

Behavioral analysis cybersecurity. Homeland Security News Wire reports, “Ernst & Young LLP and Los Alamos National Laboratory have formed a strategic alliance to deliver what they describe as some of the most advanced behavioral cybersecurity tools available to the commercial market. The alliance comes at a watershed moment when increasingly sophisticated cyberattacks are inflicting significant economic, social, and even political damage to U.S. organizations.”

Subdrone strategies. Defense One’s Patrick Tucker reports, “Already, the U.S. and other militaries are doing research into ways armed robots could do much of the work that is today performed by manned warships and submarines, especially in difficult environments like the Arctic. But a new white paper from the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research, released last month, warns that ever-smarter naval robots could make for very choppy waters in places where the United States, Russia, and other nations have a growing presence and competing interests.”

GLOTAIC: CIA and BND collaboration. Intel News’ Joseph Fitsanakis reports, “The United States Central Intelligence Agency had direct and unfiltered access to telecommunications data exchanged between German citizens, according to a new document that has surfaced in the German press. The program, codenamed GLOTAIC, was a collaboration between the CIA and Germany’s Federal Intelligence Service, known as BND. . . .”


Top Secret. “A special intelligence review of two emails that Hillary Rodham Clinton received as secretary of state on her personal account — including one about North Korea’s nuclear weapons program — has endorsed a finding by the inspector general for the intelligence agencies that the emails contained highly classified information when Mrs. Clinton received them . . . . the Clinton campaign disagreed with the conclusion of the intelligence review and noted that agencies within the government often have different views of what should be considered classified.”

Shutdown countdown. “Congress returns from its long summer vacation Tuesday to an all-out, three-week sprint to avert a government shutdown – and no apparent plan yet to quell the conservative rebellion over Planned Parenthood that has dramatically increased the odds of a closure. The mad dash – just 10 legislative work days to solve the shutdown crisis, in between major votes on the Iran nuclear deal and the first-ever papal address to a joint session of Congress – presents a major test for Republican leaders in both chambers who vowed to end crisis-driven legislating.”


Putin won his war in Ukraine.” The Washington Post contributor Marvin Kalb argues, “Far more than Western leaders, Putin can now influence and, when necessary, control the flow of economic, political and diplomatic developments in Ukraine.”

Your own advancement.” Fast Company contributor Faisal Hoque advises, “One likely reason so few of us invest enough in our own advancement is because we aren’t sure we’re worth the wager. Yet it’s our own skills and talents that often prove to be our biggest assets—and worth risking a lot for.”

Why it’s so hard for Germany to lead on the migrant crisis – or anything else.” Reuters contributor Lucian Kim argues, “In the decades following World War Two, a divided Germany didn’t even carry full responsibility for itself, and criticism of U.S. foreign policy, no matter how legitimate, often came with the preachy tone of the armchair activist. Taking on the risks of leadership, with all the potential for disaster that implies, is difficult to do from a seated position.”


A rose by any other name.

Which came first?

Funeral director.

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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.