Weekly Briefing – February 22 – 27, 2015

By Rachel Ehrenfeld
Friday, February 27th, 2015 @ 1:57AM

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 Drones in the U.S. National Airspace SystemMajor Stephen Maddox & Captain David Stuckenberg —  in 2014 an American Airlines Group regional jet in Florida nearly collided with a drone at 2,300 feet. This type of UAS is supposed to remain within 400 feet of the surface. A collision at 2,300 feet might have ended in tragedy for the 23 passengers and crew. In a similar incident in 2011, an Air Force C-130 collided with an unmanned aircraft in Afghanistan. Though no one was injured, the incident resulted in costly repairs for the C-130. The number of accidents involving only military drones makes the need for SAA apparent. According to the Washington Post drone crash database, “About one-third of the crashes (since 9/11) occurred in Afghanistan, but nearly one-quarter happened in the United States.” The DOT Inspector General is also concerned that “FAA is not effectively . . . analyzing UAS safety datamore

Submission to the UN Commission of Inquiry on the 2014 Gaza Conflict Col. Richard Kemp (Col. Richard Kemp)I was in Israel for much of the summer 2014 Gaza conflict. This submission is based on observations on the ground during the conflict, 29 years’ military experience of conflicts of this type, intelligence work relating to Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and knowledge of the IDF and Israeli intelligence services.
In my opinion the actions taken by the IDF were necessary to defend the people of Israel from the ongoing, intensive and lethal attacks by Hamas and other groups in Gaza...More…

A Syrian Nuclear SnapshotEphraim Asculai and Emily B. Landau @ INSSSyria has a long history of deception and lying to the international community on matters concerning its development and use of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Therefore, any new information concerning these matters, even if highly speculative, should set the scene for further investigations, which in the past have revealed problematic Syrian intentions and activities in the chemical and nuclear realms…Syria did not give up its nuclear weapons development ambitions following the destruction of its almost completed, North Korean-constructed nuclear reactor near the town of Deir-al-Zor, on the banks of the Euphrates River…. it is in the process of erecting a new nuclear facility near the town of Qusayr, very close to Syria’s border with Lebanon… intelligence information from unnamed sources signifying that the facility is related to nuclear activities, without further assessment as to the nature of this facility, i.e., whether it is a nuclear reactor and/or a uranium enrichment facility. Both types of facilities can produce fissile materials – the materials from which nuclear weapons are produced.more

President Putin Visits Egypt Ephraim Kam and Zvi Magen @ INSSOn February 9-10, 2015, Russian President Vladimir Putin visited Egypt for the first time since 2005, when Mubarak was still in power. The most significant outcome of this visit, which reflects the notable improvement in bilateral relations over the last two years, was the signing of a memorandum of understanding on Russian aid for the construction of a nuclear reactor in western Egypt. The two sides also signed additional economic and commercial agreements, testifying to the significant increase in trade between the countries. Russia is clearly interested in expanding these relations as much as possible, especially militarily, which have been frozen since…. in November 2013, Russia’s defense and foreign ministers visited Egypt together – a first visit of this sort; and in February 2014 Egypt’s defense minister (a post then held by Sisi) and foreign minister paid a return visit to Moscow. Sisi visited Moscow again in August 2014, this time as president.more

Identifying Palestinians Killed in GazaThe Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center Examination of the names of Palestinians killed in Operation Protective Edge – Part Ten -…more

News & Analysis

The Struggle over the Iranian Nuclear Program Yossi Kuperwasser – “It is incumbent on Israel to use all the diplomatic and political tools at its disposal to halt the signing of an accord with Iran that leaves Teheran with the capability to produce nuclear weapons..

Assessing DHS’s Performance; Watchdog  Recommendations to Improve Homeland Security – Daniel  Gerstein, Testimony presented before the House Homeland Security Committee, Subcommittee on Oversight and Management Efficiency on February 26, 2015.

Cyber threats expanding, new US intelligence assessment says – Ken Dilanian

Vandals cut northern Arizona’s digital umbilical cord CBS/APFLAGSTAFF, Ariz. People across northern Arizona couldn’t use the Internet, their cellphones or landlines for several hours Wednesday after someone vandalized a fiber-optic line that brings communications to a large part of the state, officials said….

The FCC’s Orwellian Internet policy; Concise statutory statements are no match for the FCC’s linguistic gymnastics — Bret Swanso

Organized crime poses major threat to Asia-Pacific nations Deutsche Welle

Changing Japanese Defense Policies 

Iran opposition unveils ‘secret’ Tehran nuclear siteAFP 

Iran coordinating with Al-Qaeda since 2007 to target US interests in Kingdom, Dubai: sources. Allegations revolve around Saudi founder of Al-Qaeda affiliate whom sources say worked with Tehran on a number of failed operationsAAWSAT.NET

The Reform Delusion. Bright people in Washington have long dreamed about the possibility of a reformed Iran. Barack Obama is just the latest.Reuel Marc Gerecht

Russia Bullies Sweden and Sweden BlinksElisabeth Braw

Moscow’s ‘Main Goal’ in Baltics is to Sow Doubts about NATO, Vilnius Analysts SayPaul Goble

Staring Back at Putin: The hallmark of Western policy toward the Kremlin has been its eagerness to forget. With the Litvinenko inquiry, there’s an opportunity to remember. – Bret Stephens

The progressive ideas behind the lack of free speech on campusWendy Kaminer,

National Demographic Survey of American Jewish College Students 2014, Anti-Semitism Report, Brandeis Center, Trinity College, February 2015Barry A. Kosmin & Ariela Keysar [More than half those surveyed have said that they’ve experienced anti-Semitism on campus.]

I don’t care that Muslims are standing in front of a synagogue Marc Goldberg

Capitol Hill

House-

Subcommittee Hearing: Review of the Department of Homeland Security’s Policies and Procedures for the Apprehension, Detention, and Release of Non-Citizens Unlawfully Present in the United StatesCommittee on Oversight & Government Reform Committee, Subcommittee on National Security

Subcommittee Hearing: Preventing Another MH370: Setting International Standards for Airline Flight TrackingOversight and Government Reform Committee, Subcommittee on Transportation and Public Assets

Hearing: How is DOD responding to Emerging Security Challenges in EuropeArmed Services Committee

Hearing: Examining the President’s Cybersecurity Information Sharing ProposalHomeland Security Committee

Hearing: The Uncertain Future of the InternetEnergy & Commerce Committee

Hearing: FCC Process: Examining the Relationship Between the FCC and the White House Oversight & Government Reform Committee

Hearing: Information Technology Investments and Programs: Supporting Current Operations and Planning for the Future Threat EnvironmentArmed Services Committee

Subcommittee Hearing: The President’s New Cuba Policy and U.S. National SecurityForeign Affairs Committee, Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere

Hearing: ISIL in America: Domestic Terror and RadicalizationJudiciary Committee, Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations

Subcommittee Hearing: Across the Other Pond: U.S. Opportunities and Challenges in the Asia Pacific Foreign Affairs Committee, Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific

Hearing: Outside Perspectives on the President’s Proposed Authorization for the Use of Military Force Against the Islamic State of Iraq and the LevantArmed Services Committee

Joint Subcommittee Hearing: The Shame of Iranian Human RightsForeign Affairs Committee, Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations, Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa

Subcommittee Hearing: Addressing Remaining Gaps in Federal, State, and Local Information SharingHomeland Security Committee, Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence

Senate-

Hearing: Worldwide ThreatsArmed Services Committee

Subcommittee Hearing: Regional Nuclear Dynamics Armed Services Committee, Subcommittee on Strategic Forces

Hearing: Preserving the Multistakeholder Model of Internet Governance Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee 

Hearing: The Fight Against ISIS: Building The Coalition And Ensuring Military Effectiveness Foreign Relations Committee

Hearing: Human Trafficking in the United States: Protecting the Victims Judiciary Committee

GAO Reports

African Growth and Opportunity Act: Lessons Learned from Other Countries’ Trade Arrangements with Sub-Saharan Africa GAO-15-393R

Information Technology: Management Needs to Address Reporting of IRS Investments’ Cost, Schedule, and Scope InformationGAO-15-297

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