Chess masters the OPFOR planner. “The military has a plan for just about everything. Unfortunately, there’s no way to know for absolute certain how a squadron, fleet, division, or battalion might respond to contact with the enemy, or even with an unusual non-combat entity. The enemy is crafty, after all, and people’s behaviors are hard to predict. So how do we practice war and peace? By bringing in OPFOR/SITFOR planners. Those are the men and women who leverage their experience, plow through the data, run simulations, and develop training based on the models devised. National security is often compared to a game of chess . . . .”

Using Veteran preference. “Interested in using your Veterans’ Preference to apply for a federal job? Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to apply. . . .”


CIA’s John Kiriakou blows the whistle all over again. Interview. “A former CIA agent, John Kiriakou spent two years in prison for blowing the whistle about the Intelligence Agency torture program against prisoners, ‘obsessed with the idea that al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden would launch another attack against the United States,’ he says in this interview. Since then, Kiriakou has lost almost everything: federal pension, house, friends, some family members – but never his dignity and bravery.” (Pravda)

NSA’s PRISM forensics across the pond. “The NSA’s Prism system offers access to all parliamentary documents and email through Microsoft Office 365 software, as a result of secret directives given to Microsoft under controversial US 2008 surveillance laws. The directives were implemented at the same time as Microsoft was selling its cloud system, Office 365, to the Houses of Parliament. Since concerns were raised about the NSA’s ability to access data stored by US technology companies, Microsoft has been rushing to build two new UK datacentres.” (Computer Weekly)

Textron Shadow UAVs join Apaches in the fight. “Over the smoking sands of Iraq, the military is coming to rely on formations of 20-foot drones, working with Apache attack helicopters against the Islamic State. Such operations have just pushed the Textron Shadow UAV past 1 million flight hours, becoming the first of the Army’s mid-range, or Group III drones, to hit that milestone.” (Defense One)

Government tech after the hack. “The Office of Personnel Management is a much different place than it was one year ago. Of course, it has to be after OPM announced on June 4, 2015 that it had suffered a major cyber breach. In the end, that hack affected more than 22 million current and former federal employees. . . . Beth Cobert, the acting director of OPM, said the agency is approaching cybersecurity, technology and people much differently as part of how it’s rebuilding the trust of federal employees.” (Federal News Radio)

Project iVe and vehicular forensics. “Modern cars have an average of about 70 computers that can reveal a wide variety of data, mostly from their infotainment and telematics systems. These systems, which include Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, navigation aids and various apps, store a vast amount of data, such as recent destinations, favorite locations, call logs, contact lists, text messages, emails, pictures, videos, social media feeds . . . . When drivers are terrorists or other criminals, that data becomes vitally important to an investigation.” (AFCEA)


Alient 2 is on its way. “The final request for proposals for the second generation of the General Services Administration’s $50 billion IT services contract is on the way, according to a pre-solicitation notice posted on FedBizOps. The much-anticipated RFPs for Alliant 2 (unrestricted) and Alliant 2 Small Business will be dropping in the second half of June, at least 15 days from the notice, which was posted on June 3. Procurement official expect to post the solicitations on or around June 20.” (Federal Times) See also, “5 Things to Watch For When Alliant 2 Hits the Streets.”

Army’s new thermal sniper sight. “U.S. Army night vision experts are asking electro-optical engineers at N2 Imaging Systems LLC in Irvine, Calif., to build the Army’s first clip-on thermal weapon sight specifically developed and fielded for snipers. Officials of the Army Contracting Command at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., announced an $81.1 million five-year contract to N2 Imaging systems on Friday for full-scale development of the Army Family of Weapons Sights-Sniper.” (Military & Aerospace Electronics)


ISIS’ paranoia problems. “The fear of informants has fueled paranoia among the militants’ ranks. A mobile phone or internet connection can raise suspicions. As a warning to others, ISIS has displayed the bodies of some suspected spies in public — or used particularly gruesome methods, including reportedly dropping some into a vat of acid. . . . ‘Daesh is now concentrating on how to find informers because they have lost commanders that are hard to replace,’ said a senior Iraqi intelligence official in Baghdad . . . . Another Iraqi intelligence official said at least 10 ISIS fighters and security officials in Mosul were killed by the group in April on suspicion of giving information to the coalition because of various strikes in the city.” (Fox News)

Closing the vice on Falluja and Raqqa. “U.S.-backed Syrian fighters have surrounded the Islamic State-held city of Manbij from three sides as they press a major new offensive against the jihadists near the Turkish border . . . . But in a sign of the difficulty world powers have faced in building a coalition to take on the self-declared caliphate, the slow pace of a separate assault by the Iraqi army on a militant bastion near Baghdad caused a rift between the Shi’ite-led government and powerful Iranian-backed Shi’ite militia.” (Reuters)

Tracking AQ’s Abu Sulayman al Muhajir. “A senior al Qaeda religious official in Syria has returned to social media in the past 24 hours after a prolonged absence. The jihadist known as Abu Sulayman al Muhajir launched a new Telegram channel and Twitter feed. . . . The US Treasury Department added Abu Sulayman to its official list of designated al Qaeda terrorists on May 19. Treasury said that he ‘occupies a senior leadership position in’ Al Nusrah Front, which is al Qaeda’s official branch in Syria. Abu Sulayman has recruited Australians for the jihad in Syria and has also ‘solicited funds’ to finance the group’s ‘terrorist activities,’ according to Treasury.” (The Long War Journal)

Taking the fight to Baluchistan. “Baluchistan is an unforgiving place. It is bone-dry, water-starved, deeply impoverished, and home to a festering ethno-separatist insurgency that prompts brutal Pakistani military crackdowns. Baluchistan has also long served as the sanctuary for the Quetta Shura—the top leadership of the Afghan Taliban (Quetta is the province’s capital).  Baluchistan became the adopted home of the group’s leadership back in 2001, when the U.S.-led intervention in Afghanistan drove it out of that country. Pakistan’s security establishment has always allowed the group to make itself at home in Baluchistan.” (War on the Rocks)

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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.