Delay in Seven Days of Security

There will be a delay in the December 7th Seven Days of Security - an update will be posted ASAP.

Seven Days of Security

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Maine Senator Susan Collins, speaking about her proposed bill to change defense security clearance procedures.

Staff Comment: Happy Friday! We’re still experimenting with a standard format for Seven Days of Security, let us know via e-mail how this weekly update could be better for you. Any other comments are appreciated.

Maine: (including some updates from late last week)

Much is happening at Bath Iron Works as they look ahead at a potential deal with the Saudi Arabian Navy, worth ~$20 billion to build two new ships.

Also at the Bath shipyard, Chuck Hagel made an appearance to survey the new DDG-1000, a brand new “stealth destroyer” and to speak about the ship’s role in new US geopolitical interests.

Finally, Bath Iron Works was granted a tax break by the City Council of ~$3.7 million to build a new outfitting hall.

Maine Senator Susan Collins has become embroiled in a debate over the future of US drone transparency. Sitting on the US Senate Intelligence Committee, Collins has opposed mandating that the US publish the number of civilians killed by US drone strikes. The relevant text can be found here.

Rhode Island:

Brown University’s Watson Institute for International Studies will be hosting a conference titled “Big Transparency for the NSA: Perspectives on Spying and Privacy” on December 4th. The conference will be made up of two panel discussions.  

A former US Navy contractor has been jailed on a 10-year sentence after being found guilty of leading a money funneling operation which stole funds from Navy operations,

Connecticut:

Accompanying Maine’s Bath Iron Works, General Dynamic’s Electric Boat station, a submarine contractor for the US Navy, was awarded $17 mil. for nuclear and non-nuclear submarine repairs and maintenance on Nov. 22nd.The maintenance will be reserved specifically for submarines stationed at Naval Submarine Base New London in Groton, CT. This monetary award is the latest in a recent trend given to Electric Boat.

New Hampshire:

The 157th Air Refueling Wing of the New Hampshire Air National Guard recently cut the ribbon on a newly established Operations Group operations facility (No article, see first photo caption here). USAF Operations Groups coordinate pilot activities and work as the hub of pilot-HQ communications.

Massachusetts:

Boston’s Mayor-elect Martin Walsh has taken a stand in opposition to a federal mandate which requires local law enforcement authorities to share finger prints with ICE (Immigration Customs and Enforcement). He is currently under fire from Bristol County Sheriff Tom Hodgson. Instead, Walsh favors the TRUST act, which limits the information local law enforcement can give to federal authorities.

Vermont:

Vermont’s Emergency Management Agency has put forth a new Emergency Management Plan, recently approved by FEMA. The plan updates Vermont’s preparedness policies in the hopes of ensuring more funding from FEMA should a disaster occur.

National/International:

After a long wait and some secret talks, Iran and the United States have negotiated a first stage agreement over Iran’s nuclear program.

Taking a “Human Rights” spin, a UN resolution, backed primarily by Brazil and Germany, aims to put pressure on the US and Britain in lieu of spying revelations.

Microsoft, after assessing the NSA damage to Google and Yahoo, plans to develop - quickly - increased digital security for itself.

The House Intelligence Committee passed legislation this week to continue the finance and protection of surveillance agencies. Among the highlights, Langevin (D) added lines to punish leakers, while Shiff’s (D) proposal to increase transparency around drone strikes was shot down. 

A decision is nearing on whether or not to split up the NSA and US Cyber Command, and to appoint a civilian director to the NSA after Alexander’s retirement in March. 

The Karzai blockage of the Bilateral Security Agreement hasn’t changed much since last week. Karzai has only added demands of the US such as release Afghani prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay, and the halting of all US house raids. At stake is potentially billions of dollars in US military aid.

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party headed by Imran Khan has named the top CIA drone program chief of Pakistan in response to drone strikes which killed Pakistanis earlier this week. The CIA has declined to comment,

Drone protests in Pakistan have frozen US and NATO supply lines in an effort to end drone strikes in the nation. Approximately 1,500 trucks have been stuck in the Northwest provinces for three days as of the 27th.

Seven Days of Security

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Taliban Graffiti located in Helmand Province, Reuters, Nov. 2010.

-   The United States and Afghan governments have reached agreement on a proposed Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA), yet to be voted on by the Loya Jirga. The latest known draft text of the BSA can be found here

-   Hamid Karzai advocated that the proposed BSA only be signed by the next incoming Afghan president, which, at earliest, could happen six months from now. For reference, the BSA document comes out of a mandate from the 2012 Strategic Partnership Agreement.

-   …Then, Karzai changed his mind and has stated he won’t sign the BSA. 

-   Differing views are coming from Loya Jirga representatives and provinces, and some local voices are heard in this Al Jazeera short.

-   Among the BSA discussion, Samantha Power, a US official has stated that the US “has nothing to apologize for" regarding the occupation.

-   Kabul villagers have found the bodies of six private contractors who’s work focused on building police compounds and checkpoints.

-   Flight Sergeant Dave Myers introduces the US Navy’s new  P8-A anti-surface/subsurface aircraft at the Dubai airshow. 

-   Despite warnings, the US Navy awarded lavish contracts to Leonard Glenn Francis, now accused of fraud. 

-   Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., and Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo are at odds over their respective proposals to tackle military sexual assault. Gillibrand supports a change in the powers of commanders to prosecute, putting more decision making in the hands of military legal prosecutors, while McCaskill would have them keep their current power.

-   The US and European Union have recently concluded a “Justice and Home Affairs” meeting. The meeting is the second of its kind this year and was conducted over issues such as cybersecurity, data protection, counter-terrorism, and more.

-  The original, extensively redacted FISA court order which created a precedent for massive NSA overextension has been released.

-   The mess of NSA backstabbing continues as one document reveals the potential for the NSA’s authorization to spy on the citizens of Britain without their government’s consent.

Massachusetts:

-   Discussing development opportunities, US Army Chief of Staff General Odierno visited Massachusetts on Nov. 15th. He met with Governor Patrick’s Massachusetts Military Asset and Security Strategy Task Force. Of particular interest to Odierno was the Natick Soldier Systems Center, one of only two research stations like it in the nation.

Connecticut:

-   Major General Martin, Commander of the CT National Guard has announced the return of 600 soldiers from Afghanistan, the first of which arrived on the 17th.