Monday Mourning


Defense Innovation Advisory Board. Contributor Ashley LaGanga reports, “In recent weeks Congress has criticized U.S. digital capabilities—notably the inability to comprehensively unearth intelligence from open source and social media sites—with Representative Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) remarking, ‘. . . Go hire a bunch of teenagers and they’d do it better than we’re doing it.’”

DHS budget challenges. Contributor Chandler Harris reports, “The Department of Homeland Security’s fiscal 2017 budget reflects ‘some hard choices’ and reallocation of priorities . . . . The $40.6 billion budget request includes $1.6 billion for the agency’s cybersecurity efforts, an increase of $200 million from last year’s budget. It also includes $471.1 million for the National Cybersecurity Protection System, or Einstein, an intrusion detection system for government agencies.”


Turks strike Kurds. Washington Post’s Suzan Fraser reports, “Turkey’s air force hit Kurdish rebel targets in northern Iraq Monday, hours after a suicide car-bombing in the capital killed 37 people and heightened tensions with the Kurdish rebels. Nine F-16s and two F-4 jets raided 18 positions of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK in the northern Iraq . . . .” See also, “Turkey carries out airstrikes,” “Ankara bombers was female PKK member,” “Car bomb in Turkish capital kills dozens,” and “Turkey Vows Swift Retaliation.”

Al Qaeda strikes Ivory Coast. Reuters’ Ange Aboa and Joe Penney report, “Gunmen from al Qaeda’s North African branch killed 16 people, including four Europeans, at a beach resort town in Ivory Coast on Sunday, the latest in a string of deadly attacks that have confirmed the Islamists’ growing reach in West Africa. Six shooters targeted hotels on a beach at Grand Bassam, a weekend retreat popular with westerners . . . .” See also, “AQIM targets beach resort in Ivory Coast.”

Yemen’s war. Vice News’ Ben Anderson, Samuel Oakford, and Peter Salisbury report, “For the past year, Saudi Arabia has bombarded the Arab world’s poorest country in the hope of dislodging Houthi rebels it says are allied with Iran. The UN’s top aid official said earlier this month that airstrikes and the random shelling of civilian areas in the conflict—which has killed, maimed, and displaced thousands of people—‘violates cardinal rules of international humanitarian law.’”

HIMARS into Syria. DoD Buzz’s Richard Sisk reports, “U.S. Army troops firing from Jordan into southern Syria used the M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System last week in support of an opposition group fighting ISIS . . . . The launches were believed to be the first by a U.S. land-based weapons system from Jordan into Syria and raised concerns about a possible expansion of the U.S. effort to defeat the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria . . . .”


Thales’ JEM.  Military & Aerospace Electronics Editor John Keller reports, “The AN/PRC-148 Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS) Enhanced Multiband Inter/Intra Team Radio (MBITR), or JEM, is an evolution of the combat-proven AN/PRC-148 MBITR and is designed to be small, lightweight, and power efficient. . . . The radio has programmable cryptography according to the National Security Agency’s (NSA) crypto modernization program and is certified by NSA to protect the confidentiality of voice and data up through the Top Secret.”

100Gbps silicon photonics chip. Data Centered Dynamics reports, “M/ACOM Technology Solutions, better known as Macom, has claimed the laurels as the first company to produce a laser-driven, photonic integrated circuit (L-PIC). The device can offer a total data throughput of 100Gbps. The MAOP-L284CN complies with CWDM4 (coarse wavelength division multiplexing) and CLR4 Alliance standards, requiring it to use four 28Gbps channels which generate wavelength (color) channels to reach the combined throughput of 100Gbps across up to 2km (1.24 miles) of single-mode fiber.”


Those dam hackers. Homeland Security News Wire reports, “In 2013 hackers infiltrated the operations center for the Bowman Avenue Dam, a small dam on Blind Brook in Rye Brook, New York. DHS, in a classified report, later identified the attackers as the same Iranian group responsible for attacks on PNC Financial Services Group, SunTrust, and Capital One Financial. Now the Department of Justice is set to file an indictment against the Iranian hackers behind the intrusion.”

The Army Expeditionary Warrior Experiment. Defence Talk reports, “The British 3rd Battalion, The Rifles of the United Kingdom, and Soldiers of A Company, 1st Battalion, 29th Infantry Regiment (Experimentation Force), partnered with the Maneuver Battle Lab to execute the Army Expeditionary Warrior Experiment, experimenting with a myriad of different technologies and how they can be applied to future war fighting tactics.”

White House acquisition labs. FierceGovernmentIT’s Eli Richman reports, “The White House announced an initiative on Wednesday to speed up establishment of new Acquisition Innovation Labs for federal agencies. The new labs will provide a clearer pathway for agency acquisitions, particularly for IT investments. . . . To that end, the White House laid out five steps for agencies to stand up their acquisition labs . . . .”


Suspense. “Washington waits Monday for an announcement by President Obama of his pick to replace to the late Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court, a move expected to set a battle over Senate Republicans’ plan to deny Obama an opportunity to fill the seat. After Obama met Thursday with Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee, congressional aides said they were bracing for a pick as soon as Monday. President Obama’s public schedule Monday leaves his entire afternoon open.”

Omnibus stop. “House and Senate Republicans had hoped that by mid-March they would be well on their way to passing a fiscal 2017 budget and drawing up corresponding legislation for the 12 spending bills that will fund the federal government next year. But a March budget deal has been stymied by inter-party disagreements over spending levels. And once again, Congress is facing a prolonged spending fight that results in the last-minute passage of an unpopular ‘omnibus’ bill.”


The OPM Hack Is Far Worse Than You Imagine.” Lawfare contributor Michael Adams argues, “The Office of Personnel Management (‘OPM’) data breach involves the greatest theft of sensitive personnel data in history. But, to date, neither the scope nor scale of the breach, nor its significance, nor the inadequate and even self-defeating response has been fully aired.”

North Korea is a nuclear power.” Reuters contributor Bennett Ramberg argues, “[I]t is inconceivable that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un would give up the weapon that places his nation in the exclusive global nuclear club. . . . Washington and its allies must now come to the realization that it is time to adapt.”  

 “Russian hybrid warfare and other dark arts.” War on the Rocks contributor Michael Kofman argues, “If the West is to come up with a political and military strategy that deals with Russia, it must start by killing bad narratives and malformed analysis: Russian hybrid warfare should be the first on that list.”

 “High-Powered Networking.” Fast Company contributor Brandon Stapper writes, “You might not find them in a career counselor’s playbook, but these are a few of the networking strategies I’ve found to work for me. . . .”




Character assassination

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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.