Cleared drastic drop. Editor Lindy Kyzer reports, “The number of security-cleared personnel continues to drop, according to recently released Department of Defense figures. The number of individuals with Department of Defense security clearances dropped by 100,000 in the first half of FY 2015, reported the Federation of American Scientists. The reductions were reported in the Insider Threat and Security Clearance Reform quarterly report.”

Rolling out the red carpet. Also from Lindy Kyzer, “The Intelligence and National Security Alliance is gearing up for its annual INSA Achievement Awards (the deadline to submit a nomination is Friday, October 30). One of those awards is the Joan A. Dempsey Mentorship Award. It’s open to government, military and industry professionals working in the fields of national security and intelligence. It should come as no surprise that it’s named after a professional who highly values the importance of mentorship.”


Intel fail. Reuters’ Mark Hosenball, Phil Stewart, and Matt Spetalnick report, “Senior U.S. lawmakers have begun probing possible intelligence lapses over Moscow’s intervention in Syria, concerned that American spy agencies were slow to grasp the scope and intention of Russia’s dramatic military offensive there . . . . A week after Russia plunged directly into Syria’s civil war by launching a campaign of air strikes, the intelligence committees of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives want to examine the extent to which the spy community overlooked or misjudged critical warning signs . . . .”

Russia’s Syria successes. AP’s Albert Ajisarah el Deeb reports, “Syria’s chief-of-staff on Thursday declared a wide-ranging ground offensive by government forces, a day after Russian airstrikes and cruise missiles launched from the Caspian Sea backed Damascus’ multipronged advance into two Syrian provinces. . . . The Syrian ground push got a boost after Russian warships launched the cruise missiles into Syria on Wednesday, bringing a major new military might into the war on the heels of Russian airstrikes that began last week.”

Mired in Afghanistan. Defense News’ Joe Gould reports, “The chairman and nearly two-dozen Republicans on the US House Armed Services Committee (HASC) are urging President Obama to maintain American boots on the ground in Afghanistan, and calling the planned withdrawal ‘premature.’”


Defensive cyber warfare software. Military & Aerospace Electronics editor John Keller reports, “Cyber security experts at Booz Allen Hamilton in McLean, Va., will develop defensive cyber warfare software for the U.S. Air Force under terms of a $17.6 million contract announced last week. Officials of the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Information Directorate in Rome, N.Y., are asking Booz Allen to develop and enhance software tools and techniques for Air force cyber security requirements.”

Lockheed counter-battery. Also from Military & Aerospace Electronics, “Radar experts at Lockheed Martin Corp. will build and maintain AN/TPQ-53 radar systems for the U.S. Army to help protect deployed warfighters from rockets, mortar rounds, and artillery shells. Officials of the Army Contracting Command at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., awarded two contracts last week to the Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Training segment in Liverpool, N.Y., to build and maintain AN/TPQ-53 land-based radar systems.”


CIA’s dark wars. Newsweek’s Jeff Stein and Adam Zagorin report, “Today, both the interrogators and prisoners remain stuck in a disturbing limbo. And so too are the American people. For them, the identity of whoever was responsible for the deaths of prisoners and other serious crimes remains a lingering, bloody question mark.”

Experian hacks. Krebs on Security reports, “T-Mobile disclosed last week that some 15 million customers had their Social Security numbers and other personal data stolen thanks to a breach at Experian, the largest of the big American consumer credit bureaus. But this actually wasn’t the first time that a hacking incident at Experian exposed sensitive T-Mobile customer data, and that previous breach may hold important clues about what went wrong more recently.”


Congressional chaos. “It was supposed to be dignified and orderly. It was supposed to reassure donors and supporters that they’re right to back Republican control of the House. But Speaker John Boehner should’ve known that nothing with his conference has ever been easy, least of all his retirement. . . . On Wednesday the Freedom Caucus, a loosely affiliated group of about 40 of the House’s most conservative members announced it was throwing its support behind Rep. Daniel Webster, a Florida sophomore considered a longshot challenger to McCarthy.”

NDAA. “The Senate on Wednesday cleared the annual bill setting policy for the Pentagon for fiscal 2016, sending it to President Obama, who must now either make good on his threat to veto it or back down and sign it into law. With a final tally of 70-27, the Senate has enough votes to override Obama’s veto, but Senate Democrats have said they would not vote to do so.”


“Is Syria About to Become Iran’s Vietnam?” Vice News contributor Torie Rose DeGhett argues, “In Syria, Iran runs the risk of losing public face as a patron of its Shia allies. Another risk is the loss of its critical Levantine foothold and means of bolstering Hezbollah. The stakes for Iran are high, and the path forward costly and unclear.”

“Iran Is Key To Understanding US Future In Mideast.” Defense One contributor Ray Takeyh argues, “The United States stands at an important turning point, worthy of a reasoned debate. The resurrection of the state system in the Middle East and the stemming of the tide of its many civil wars will require a substantial investment of funds and probable deployment of troops in places such as Iraq and Syria.”

“The other deepwater battleground.” Reuters contributor Peter Marino argues, “The Indian Ocean is the one major ocean not bounded by one of the existing great powers, which makes it the perfect locale in which the struggle for primacy in the ‘emerging world’ can play out.”

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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.