Greetings Fiscal Cliff Dwellers! By the time you read this there will be less than two weeks before automatic sequestration cuts take effect - - - a week of which the Congress will be in recess! What was meant to be a “poison pill” to force the legislative and executive branches to compromise on rational budgets so the government could reduce the deficit by $1.2 trillion over the next ten years now appears inevitable. Since January we have been fed a steady stream of increasingly dire consequences from Navy aircraft carriers not deploying, to Army readiness declining, to Air Force airplanes not being maintained, to civilian workers being furloughed, and to contracts being canceled unless there is some relief from the automatic 9.4% se
Unless we are existing in a weird parallel universe, the Mayan’s were clearly wrong about the world ending last month, but the National Intelligence Council’s “Global Trends 2030: Alternative Worlds” does warn the U.S. will likely lose its status as the planet’s only superpower by then. And how about that fiscal cliff?!? Lots of drama for New Year’s Day legislation that only raised taxes on those making $400k or more without any meaningful impact on reducing the deficit or dealing with sequestration. More or less a two month “U” turn at the fiscal cliff or a demonstration of “Democracy Inaction!”
Given the unknowns about whether the world will end on 21 December as foretold by the Mayan Calendar or if the US government will find itself mired at the bottom of “Fiscal Cliff Washington” come New Year’s Day, any discussion about what will hold the Intelligence Community’s (IC) attention in 2013 seems premature. However, despite the notoriety of both of these “black swans,” I remain unabashedly optimistic the Mayan Astrologers have miscalculated and that the IC can muddle through 2013 on $65 billion even if most of it is borrowed money.
My initial intent was to discuss with you the intelligence related issues associated with the September 11th Benghazi attack and offer my views on the proceedings of AFCEA’s Fall Intelligence Symposium that focused on the importance of implementing the Intelligence Community Information Technology Enterprise (IC ITE, pronounced “eye sight”). This train of thought, however, was jarringly interrupted Friday (9 Nov) afternoon with the mind bending announcement that the President had accepted (reluctantly) David Patraeus’ resignation as CIA Director because of an extra-marital affair with his biographer Paula Broadwell (“ALL IN - - - The Education of General David Patraeus” with Vernon Loeb). Ironically, Patraeus’ necessary but unforced
Last month when we gathered around the browser, I was expressing my concerns about a “guns of October” scenario emerging in the Middle East and assuring you that I did not believe the attack in Benghazi on September 11 represented an intelligence failure. Within days of posting, the conflict in Syria expanded to Turkey retaliating with cross border fire against Assad’s government forces. Then on September 28th the DNI issued a statement clarifying that subsequent intelligence showed the attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi was not a spontaneous reaction to the YouTube “Innocence of Muslims” film trailer but rather it was a planned terrorist attack meant to kill Americans and embarrass the United States (
I started over Labor Weekend to write about my increasing concern about the escalating number of Green on Blue attacks in Afghanistan during August, and even though they are continuing they seem to have receded in importance relative to raising level of violence in Cairo, the death of Ambassador Christopher Stevens (along three other Americans) in our Benghazi Consulate, and anti American demonstrations in 20 other countries all triggered by the offense taken at an amateurish YouTube video that seems to mock the Prophet Muhammad. As with the Danish cartoons from years past, Arab Muslims again seem to be looking for the opportunity to be offended so they can blame the West for what ails their societies. Or perhaps there is latent Arab a
Since my last interaction with you just before the 4th of July quite a bit as transpired - - - - most of it troubling to me - - - - but the Olympics, the preseason début of the Redskin’s RG III, and the Nationals pennant run, all seem to be acceptable diversions in the swelter of the dog days of July and August in DC.
I am just back from the DoDIIS Conference in Denver where the message was moving military intelligence, if not the entire national Intelligence Community (IC), to an Information Technology (IT) Enterprise (ITE; aka “the cloud”) is a mission imperative. I will return to DoDIIS, but first I want to comment on the book “INTEL WARS: The Secret History of the Fight Against Terror” by Matthew Aid and share some thoughts on the current situation in Afghanistan
January was an intense month for me personally with my daughter’s return from Afghanistan as I sorted out some challenging career options associated with the ending of myself imposed sabbatical as an unemployed Navy pensioner, but all that is loose change relative to events impacting the IC during 2012’s first month.
For someone who self-selected himself for a pre-holiday season sabbatical from the IC private sector work force grind, I have not had much time to get to my monthly discourse with you. Actually I have started the December version of MazzInt several times but events have been occurring faster than I could assimilate them and certainly more swiftly than I could put them cogently into some broader context so I would just not be recounting media reports to you.
I am late with this November edition because of some ongoing changes in my professional life that are of no great importance to any of you, but could impact the Social Security Administration.
Happy FY 12 New Year!
Over Labor Day Weekend I read Vice President Cheney’s personal and political memoir “In My Time” and I happy to report that “my head did not explode” from the “revelations” in this short book. For the most part this is droll and self-serving quick read, but I was happy for his confirmation that as Vice President he never politicized intelligence for policy reasons.
There probably should be more on my mind this Fourth of July Weekend to engage you with, but I keep coming back to how historically ineffective most Intelligence Community (IC) industry days are and how the Arab Spring is Déjà Vu all over again re the Iranian Revolution of 1979. The connection between IC industry days and reading the Arab Spring I have to admit is not-obvious (and some will say contrived), but for me they show an institutional flaw that the IC reflexively seems to ignore.