Friday Finale & This Time Last Year: NSA’s French Connection


It’s here: Defense Information System for Security. “According to DLA, the [Defense Information System for Security] will be the authoritative source for the management, storage, and timely dissemination of personnel security information, accelerate the clearance process, reduce security clearance vulnerabilities, decrease back-end processing timelines, and support information sharing. In addition to these positives, more information will be available for evaluation to determine eligibility for a clearance.”

Cleared creeps. “We’ve all heard stories about people who get caught watching pornography at work. But rarely do we encounter situations where someone decides to, shall we say, take it to the next level in their office. The applicant in this case did exactly that on multiple occasions. . . .”


Top-secret plan NSC 26/2 uncovered. “Recently uncovered documents shed further light on an ultra-secret plan, devised by the British and American governments, to destroy oil facilities in the Middle East in the event the region was invaded by Soviet troops. The documents, published on Thursday by George Washington University’s National Security Archive, were found in the British government archives and date from 1951 to 1955. They describe a top-secret United States plan known as NSC 26/2, which was approved by the National Security Council in 1949 and authorized by President Harry Truman. The plan aimed to prevent the use of Middle East oil facilities by Soviet troops if the latter were able to successfully invade the region.” (IntelNews)

New slant on CIA torture. “In a passage from a 2007 memo by the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, the CIA said it would only subject detainees to harsh techniques, such as waterboarding, in order to break a detainee down to the point where he would no longer withhold information. The interrogations weren’t designed to get answers to specific questions; in fact, the agency interrogator ‘generally does not ask questions… to which the CIA does not already know the answers,’ the memo states.” (Vice News)

Coding summer camp. “A few years ago, the idea of coding bootcamps—unaccredited programs that teach adults eager to break into the tech industry how to write software—was foreign even in Silicon Valley. Today, though, bootcamps are a normal part of the tech hiring landscape, pumping out thousands of developers each year who compete against new computer-science grads for entry-level software jobs.” (Nextgov)


Brexit and Defense spending. “If Britain leaves the European Union, its departure could create years of economic uncertainty for global aerospace and defense firms, with effects not unlike the U.S. sequester. Experts say Brexit could cause nations to scale back arms buys, reduce collaboration, and prompt firms to reassess their strategic goals.” (Government Executive)

Revisiting Rapid Acquisition. “Sensibly, policymakers are trying to figure out how rapid acquisition ideas could help the conventional acquisition system perform better. Early this year, the Pentagon enshrined rapid acquisition by including a dedicated section on it in the latest regulations governing acquisition. The Air Force recently announced that it is procuring its new B-21 bomber through its rapid capabilities office, and the Navy is setting up a similar office to speed up acquisitions. Yet rapid acquisition practices that worked during recent wars may not easily translate to peacetime endeavors.” (Defense One)  

The cost of the B-21. “The Air Force official charged with managing the B-21 program reaffirmed that the service has no plans to disclose the overall contract value, contending that publicizing the figure would give U.S. adversaries too much insight into the program. . . . The service would disclose any cost overruns if they were to constitute a Nunn-McCurdy breach, which requires congressional notification . . . .” (Defense News)


Averting a Taliban “catastrophic success.” “[E]xpanded authorities allow Army Gen. John Nicholson to bolster Afghan offensives with U.S. combat advisers, airstrikes, surveillance aircraft and pilots to fly alongside the fledgling Afghan air force . . . .  Nicholson alone has the authority to order the new missions, the Defense official said. The four-star Army officer took command in March and has been assessing the security situation there. Expanding the U.S. combat role grew out of that assessment. (USA Today)

Funding terror schools in Pakistan. “A Pakistani provincial government has given a $3 million grant to a hard-line Islamic school once attended by the founder of the Taliban and other militant leaders, officials said. Darul Uloom Haqqania seminary, a giant madrassa in the northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, which borders Afghanistan, counts Taliban founder Mullah Mohammad Omar among its former students. Other graduates include Jalaluddin Haqqani, the veteran Afghan jihadist who headed the Haqqani network, a militant group the U.S. regards as the most deadly insurgent outfit in Afghanistan.” (The Wall Street Journal) See also, “Pakistan Province Gives $3 Million to Taliban-Linked School.”

Community COIN. “A new manual designed for police departments identifies a set of promising practices for using community policing to prevent violent extremism. . . . The manual includes advice on how police departments can plan and implement a community outreach and engagement program to prevent violent extremism. These techniques can be used to address multiple forms of violent extremism and promote public safety.” (Homeland Security News Wire)

Prime Minister Cameron resigns. “I will do everything I can as Prime Minister to steady the ship over the coming weeks and months but I do not think it would be right for me to try to be the captain that steers our country to its next destination. This is not a decision I’ve taken lightly but I do believe it’s in the national interest to have a period of stability and then the new leadership required.” (Newsweek) See also, “The downfall of David Cameron: a European tragedy.”



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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.