Thirsty Thursday


Mental health, clearances, and stigma. “While about 20 percent of the 1.64 service members deployed between October 2001 and October 2007 have suffered from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or major depression, only half received minimally adequate treatment, according to a report by the Rand Corporation. The reasons for the gap between the need and use of mental services was attributed to the system . . . and ‘institutional, personal, and cultural factors,’ the report noted.”

Political hacks. “Those who enjoy the trust and confidence of the US Government via a security clearance understand foreign intelligence services have an interest in the plans and intentions of the United States Government. However, those who aren’t exposed to counterintelligence or operational security briefings, may lack an understanding of how the international geopolitical milieu is played out . . . .”


CYBERCOM in the ISIS fight. “While Congress considers elevating U.S. Cyber Command to a combatant command, the military’s nascent cyber teams are getting their first taste of combat in the fifth domain, conducting both offensive and defensive maneuvers in the fight against the Islamic State group. CYBERCOM currently has 46 teams at fully operational status. Another 59 teams are at initial operations, with the goal of having 133 teams at operational status by the end of the year. . . . Those teams are cutting their teeth in the fight against ISIS, which has added a cyber component of its own not seen before in large terrorist organizations.” (Federal Times)

Tangible landscapes and simulation technology. “The Defense Department is playing around with a shape-shifting, color-changing sandbox to limit the carnage from the next deadly flood, wildfire or other catastrophe. That is the promise behind the ‘Tangible Landscape.’ Made up of kinetic sand, a toy that feels like the stuff on the beach but has the consistency of Silly Putty, the system’s miniature bridges, lakes and other structures morph—or disappear—when a finger crushes critical infrastructure.” (Nextgov)

Terrorist blacklist hacked. “A database described by some as a ‘terrorism blacklist’ has fallen into the hands of a white-hat hacker who may decide to make it accessible to the public online. The database, called World-Check, belongs to Thomson Reuters and is used by banks, governments and intelligence agencies to screen people for criminal ties and links to terrorism. Security researcher Chris Vickery claims to have obtained a 2014 copy of the database. He announced the details on Tuesday in a post on Reddit.” (PC World)


On Elbit Systems’ Unmanned Surface Vessel, torpedoes away! “Israeli firm Elbit Systems has completed first trials of a torpedo launch system on its Seagull autonomous Unmanned Surface Vessel platform. . . . The 40-foot self-navigating launch is intended for a number of military and civilian missions, including high risk ASW and MCM, electronic warfare, maritime domain awareness and hydrography. It has a stabilized, remote-operated .50-caliber machine gun and sufficient fuel supplies for several days of independent endurance.” (Maritime Executive)

Raytheon’s Miniature Air Launched Decoy Jammer drones. “U.S. Air Force airborne weapons experts are asking Raytheon Co. to build potentially hundreds of electronic warfare (EW) jammer drones under terms of a four-year $118.5 million sole-source contract announced Wednesday. Officials of the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., are asking the Raytheon Missile Systems segment in Tucson, Ariz., to provide lot 9 of the Miniature Air Launched Decoy Jammers (MALD-J), which are relatively simple air-launched unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) designed to jam enemy radar. MALD-J is an electronic jamming version of the Raytheon Miniature Air Launched Decoy drone that navigates and operates much closer than conventional EW to the victim radar . . . .” (Military & Aerospace Electronics)


A hostage story: Christian Science Monitor’s Jill Carroll. “Jill Carroll, a freelance reporter for The Christian Science Monitor, was kidnapped by Sunni Muslim insurgents in Baghdad on Jan. 7, 2006. Over the next 82 days, she had closer contact with Sunni insurgents than any American who has lived to tell the tale.” (Christian Science Monitor)

Brennan: for ISIS, US may be next. “Four hours after three suicide bombers killed at least 41 people and wounded hundreds more at Istanbul’s Ataturk airport, CIA Director John Brennan said the attacks bore the grim hallmarks of ISIS and warned that the fanatically violent Islamic terrorist group wants to conduct similar large-scale attacks in the United States. . . . ‘I’d be surprised if Daesh is not trying to carry out that kind of attack in the United States.’” (Yahoo News) See also, “Turkey’s cat-and-mouse game with the Islamic State” and “Turkish Raids Target Islamic State Group Suspects.”

For Iraq, Mosul is next. “Riding high on Iraq’s victory over Islamic State fighters in Fallujah, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi confidently said the northwest city of Mosul would be next. But as Iraq’s second-largest city, Mosul is almost 10 times larger than Fallujah and has 10 times the population. . . . Military officials warn it will be a much tougher battle. Humanitarian agencies are worried it will be a much bigger humanitarian disaster.” (Voice of America) See also, “Fallujah’s Importance to Islamic State Helped Iraqi Forces Retake It” and “250 ISIS Fighters Reportedly Killed In U.S. Airstrikes Near Fallujah.”

Intractable Assad. “Russia will countenance Syrian President Bashar al-Assad leaving office, but only when it is confident a change of leader will not trigger a collapse of the Syrian government, sources familiar with the Kremlin’s thinking say. Getting to that point could take years, and in the meantime Russia is prepared to keep backing Assad, regardless of international pressure . . . .” (Reuters)

Taliban have 9 Afghan districts. “Afghanistan’s Ministry of Interior reported yesterday nine districts are under Taliban control, including four in the southern province of Helmand, and more than 40 others are heavily contested. The statement is an admission of the worsening security situation in Afghanistan since the last time the government disclosed such information one year ago. ‘The districts are in the northeastern, southern and also other parts of Afghanistan. The enemy has increased its activities in those areas,’ Ministry of Interior spokesman Sidiq Siddiqi said . . . .” (The Long War Journal)

Related News

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.