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Defense Roundup: No Fireworks Over Furloughs…Yet, the Rock Star Operator, Death Knell for Defense Contractors

Posted by Fred Wellman

Chambliss: US Intel Panel in Early Stages of Crafting Contractor-Access Bill

John T. Bennett (@BennettJohnT), Defense News. Leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee are in the preliminary stages of crafting legislation intended to restrict access to sensitive classified data by private-sector contractors after the Edward Snowden leak scandal. Contractor Booz Allen Hamilton employed Snowden when he used his access privileges to download and release a large amount of information on classified programs to the media. While months away from any kind of legislation, the plans have the potential to dramatically change the business models of the large number of intelligence contractors that have grown exponentially since 9/11.  Of course, we are also waiting for the “dramatic” changes to gun control laws after the Sandy Hook Elementary school shootings, so I wouldn’t start selling my stock yet.

650,000 Defense Employees Start Furloughs Monday

Jennifer Liberto (@jenliberto), CNN Money. After months of delay and analysis of the budget numbers, the long awaited and dreaded furloughs for hundreds of thousands Department of Defense employees around the world will begin this week. Most employees will face one unpaid day off each week amounting to a 20% cut in their pay through September 21. Just last week the Washington Post was writing about how wrong most of the predictions about sequesters effects would be, but now the largest agency of the federal government will start leaving employees at home and the effects will be a lot more obvious than we’ve seen so far. Predicted results include delays on repairs of military equipment, slowed shipments of supplies, and economic impacts in military communities that rely on purchases by DoD employees. Even full time National Guard servicemembers who keep the organization running will be left at home. When FAA ATC personnel went on furlough a few months ago leading to flight delays, Congress acted in just four days to enact budget changes to keep them working. We don’t recommend holding your breath for any fixes to the Defense Department situation as Congress and the public has shown almost zero interest in the impacts of the cuts on the military to date.

Pentagon Spent Millions to Counter Insider Threats After WikiLeaks Fiasco

Aliyz Sternstein, NextGov.com. After Bradley Manning downloaded and leaked thousands of classified documents in 2010 using writeable CDs, the Department of Defense enacted drastic rules banning the use of removable drives on department computers. To support the effort, the agency spent $12 million to purchase the Host-Based Security System by the Defense Information Systems Agency to prevent the unauthorized use of thumb-drives and other devices. It appears that Edward Snowden used these devices to steal the classified information he is now giving to media around the world and HBSS was not implemented at the National Security Agency according to recent employees. One aspect of the Snowden fiasco that hasn’t gotten a lot of attention is how a brand new contractor was able to so quickly access the vast and diverse amount of data he accessed, download it to removable devices, and make his way to Hong Kong without anyone noticing his activities.

Veterans and Military Issues

Troops Still Wary of Admitting Mental Health Problems

Gregg Zoroya (@greggzoroya), USA Today. Despite efforts to reduce stigma associated with seeking mental health care, a confidential survey of troops in Afghanistan found most still avoid treatment because of perceived weakness or career threats. A series of studies over the years of stigma and troops’ willingness to seek mental health care in combat zones shows little change in attitudes on the ground even as the brass and civilian leadership put a focus on ending that stigma. Through studies of troops at risk of suicide, the Army says it has made progress on identifying those most in need of immediate care. Though a majority of troops who commit suicide have never deployed, rates do spike after a soldier’s first deployment according to researchers. Male soldiers in the infantry, field artillery, SF communications, cav scouts, combat engineers, or M1 Abrams crewmembers are at increased risk for suicide. For female soldiers, their first year in uniform is the highest risk for a suicide attempt. It remains to be seen whether digging into the numbers and creating a formula for risk can help the Army and other services mitigate this broader mental health crisis affecting the military and America.

The Rock ’n’ Roll Casualty Who Became a War Hero

Clay Tarver, New York Times Magazine. The amazing story of the guy who got kicked out of two huge rock bands but ended up in the most badass group of all: Army Special Forces. Jason Everman didn’t last long in Soundgarden or Nirvana, so he followed in the footsteps of his family and joined the Army. His story is a reminder that the military is the great equalizer. Ranger School doesn’t care if you’re famous or not. Now Everman is attending Columbia using the Post-9/11 GI Bill (with an assist from General McChrystal) and in the words of the author is finally a “rock star”.

On Independence Day, a Salute to the Brave

Stuart Elliot, New York Times. Fourth of July took on a veteran theme this year in advertising as the industry looks to capitalize on the country’s support for the troops and veterans ahead of next year’s withdrawal from Afghanistan. On a less cynical note, it is good to see stories of veterans spread throughout the calendar to keep attention on the issues and needs of veterans. The real question will be what Fourth of July advertisements look like next year and beyond.

Post-9/11 G.I. Bill Nears 1 Million Veterans with Benefits

Gregg Zoroya (@greggzoroya), USA Today. Signed into law in 2008, the Post-9/11 GI Bill celebrated its fifth anniversary this week. Nearly 1 million veterans and their eligible dependents have used the benefits to advance their education. It’s a sign that veterans are dedicated to success in and out of uniform, said Mike Dakduk of Student Veterans of America. While headlines about the VA and veterans usually focus on the struggles between the two, the Post-9/11 GI Bill is one of many areas that show veterans and thriving and that VA is helping them succeed.

Congressional Hearings

House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Health: Legislative Hearing on ‘Draft Legislation, the Long-Term Care Veterans Choice Act’; H.R. 1443; H.R. 1612; H.R. 1702; H.R. 2065 Who: Danny Werfel, Acting Commissioner, Internal Revenue Service, J. Russell George, Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, Internal Revenue Service When: 10:00 AM, Tuesday, July 9, 2013 Where: 334 Cannon House Office Building

House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response and Communications: Emergency MGMT 2.0: How SocialMedia and New Tech are Transforming Preparedness, Response, and Recovery Disasters Who: Shayne Adamski, Senior Manager of Digital Engagement, FEMA, Suzanne C. DeFrancis, Chief Public Affairs Officer, American Red Cross, Albert Ashwood, Director, Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management, Sergeant W. Greg Kierce, Director, Jersey City Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security When: 10:00 AM, Tuesday, July 9, 2013 Where: 311 Cannon House Office Building

House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Oversight and Management Efficiency: Threat to the Homeland: Iran’s Extending Influence in the Western Hemisphere When: 2:00 PM, Tuesday, July 9, 2013 Where: 311 Cannon House Office Building

House Homeland Security: Assessing Attacks on the Homeland: From Fort Hood to Boston When: 9:00 AM, Wednesday, July 10, 2013 Where: 311 Cannon House Office Building

House Veterans’ Affairs: DOD and VA Collaboration to Assist Service Members Returning to Civilian Life When: 10:00 AM Wednesday, July 10, 2013 Where: 2118 Rayburn House Office Building

Joint Economic Committee: Building Job Opportunities for Veterans Who: Ryan Gallucci, Deputy Director of National Legislative Service, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Benjamin G. S. Fowke III, Chairman of the Board, President and CEO, Xcel Energy, Kyle Mitchell, Executive Director, Texas Veterans Commission, Shawn Deabay, Director of Veterans Employment Services, Texas Veterans Commission When: 10:00 AM, Wednesday, July 10, 2013 Where: 216 Hart Senate Office Building

Tradeshows  & Conferences

15th Military Child Education Coalition Training Seminar (Mon-Tue, 8-9 July); National Harbor, MD. This training conference will bring together kids, educations, child development experts, SecDef Hagel, Chairman Dempsey, and others from the military community to discuss and learn the best ways to support military children. MCEC is a well-respected organization that has been working in the field for years to strengthen educational opportunities for the children of servicemembers.

4th Annual Integrated Air & Missile Defense Symposium (Thu, 11 July); Laurel, MD. A classified, no-media symposium will give an unvarnished look into the integrated missile systems just days after the latest failed test of the missile defense system.

Our website has a full list of upcoming tradeshows.

Think Tanks & Other Events

Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies: ‘How Does Our Need for Foreign Energy Resources Impact Our National Security? A Conversation With Former C.I.A. Director Ambassador James Woolsey’ When: 6:30 PM, Monday, July 8, 2013 Where: 1740 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington, DC

Carnegie Endowment for International Peace: Senator Carl Levin on the Conflict in Syria and America’s Role When: 9:00 AM, Wednesday, July 10, 2013 Where: 1779 Massachusetts Ave NW. Washington, DC

Center for Strategic and International Studies: Military Strategy Forum: Admiral Jonathan W. Greenert and General James F. Amos When: 9:00 AM, Thursday, July 11, 2013 Where: 1800 K Street, NW, Washington, DC

Fred Wellman, President ScoutComms, brings us his weekly review of defense industry news via The Scout Report. Fred served over twenty years as an Army officer in both aviation and public affairs. You can follow Fred on Twitter @ScoutComms.

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This entry was posted on Monday, July 08, 2013 3:08 pm

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