Thursday’s Things


1.  Recruiting women right for Defense Industry. Contributor Jillian Hamilton explains, “Recruiting women for heavily male dominated fields or companies can be challenging. It is about finding the right individual for a job, but when diversity is desired, it is important to understand how to meet the recruiting challenge. When it comes to recruiting women, companies want candidates that are interested in career capital. So how do you sift through the resumes and profiles to find the standout candidates?”

2.  Pro tax tips and myths for OCONUS contractors. Editor Lindy Kyzer shares some professional advice: “Keep a list of job related expenses – these are deductions for you.  This can include travel, meals, weapons, supplies, body armor, computer, auto, telephone, postage, etc.  A simple spreadsheet with yearly totals is the best way to provide this . . . .” And more!


1.  EU puts Russian on the sanction scales. Reuters’ Luke Baker and Elizabeth Piper report, “European Union leaders were set to warn but not sanction Russia on Thursday over its military intervention in Ukraine after Moscow rebuffed Western diplomatic efforts to persuade it to pull forces in Crimea back to their bases. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov refused to meet his new Ukrainian counterpart or to launch a ‘contact group’ to seek a solution to the crisis at talks in Paris on Wednesday despite arm-twisting by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and European colleagues. The two men will meet again in Rome [today].” Pro-Russia troops control Crimea: AP’s Yuras Karmanau reports from Simferopol, Ukraine, “Pro-Russian forces numbering more than 11,000 controlled all access to Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula and have blockaded all military bases that have not yet surrendered . . . .” And Time reports, “Crimean Prime Minister: Pro-Russian Troops Are Now in Complete Control.”

2.  Iran’s ballistic missile range U.S. bases. Aljazeera.Com reports, “Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard said it had acquired missiles with multiple warheads, the latest armaments advance to be claimed by the country. At a ceremony held on Wednesday, Defence Minister Hossein Dehghan announced four types of ballistic missiles named Qiam, Qadr H1, Fateh-110 and Persian Gulf. The Qadr H1 and Qiam, he said, were equipped with multiple warheads, greatly boosting their destructive power. . . . Fars said Qiam was specifically built to target US bases in the region, which he said have encircled Iran. With a range of 800km, the six-tonne missile has been described in Iranian media as ushering in a new era of ballistic missile production for the country.” Nonetheless, Reuters reports, “Iran to get second tranche of payment under nuclear deal.”

3.  Jihadist “Victory Committee” arrives in Syria. LongWarJournal.Org’s Thomas Joscelyn reports, “Nasr, whose real name is Abdul Mohsin Abdullah Ibrahim Al Sharikh, has risen through al Qaeda’s ranks to become one of the organization’s most senior leaders. According to US officials, Nasr leads al Qaeda’s ‘Victory Committee’ (or Shura al Nasr), which is responsible for developing and implementing al Qaeda’s strategy and policies. The nom de guerre he uses, ‘Sanafi al Nasr,’ actually means ‘Cultivator of Victory.’ And as Nasr’s tweets following Abu Khalid al Suri’s death indicate, he has relocated to Syria. In other words, Nasr now leads an elite al Qaeda committee from Syria, and not from Afghanistan or Pakistan where he was previously based.”

4.  Compromising national security: Hagel and Dempsey – una voce on budget cuts. American Forces Press Service’s Cheryl Pellerin reports, “Congressional failure to fund the Defense Department above levels required by sequestration in fiscal years 2015, 2016 and beyond will compromise national security, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said . . . . The abrupt and severe budget cuts known as sequestration would result in ‘a military that could not fulfill its defense strategy, putting at risk America’s traditional role as guarantor of global security and, ultimately, our own security,’ Hagel told [the Senate Armed Services Committee] . . . .” Also from American Forces Press Service, “Global security threats are not fading, even as the Defense Department looks for ways to balance worldwide security demands with diminished resources, Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the Senate Armed Services Committee [Wednesday]. . . . The risks only increase if sequester-level cuts return in fiscal year 2016 . . . .”


1.  DISA survives President’s Budget request without cuts. NextGov.Com’s Bob Brewin reports, “The 2015 budget request for the Defense Information Systems Agency reflects the reality that even a slimmed down Defense Department still needs global connectivity. DISA’s 2015 budget request for operations and maintenance — which keeps its networks running on a daily basis — took only a $12 million hit from its 2014 budget, and still stands at a robust $1.3 billion dollars after you do the rounding things. . . . The top-line DISA budget does not contain totals for its procurement accounts request, but instead details 12 “major equipment projects” including $80 million for the worldwide Defense Information Systems Network, up a modest $3 million from $77 million in 2014.”

2.  L-3’s new Maritime Systems President. GovConWire.Com reports, “Robert Gaylord, formerly a senior vice president and general manager at L-3 Communications (NYSE: LLL), has been promoted to president of the company’s maritime systems business, GovCon Wire has learned. The business comprises of 80 employees across two facilities in New Orleans and Leesburg, Va. that work to integrate electrical and electronic systems onto naval and marine platforms. Gaylord, a nearly three-decade industry veteran, joined L-3 in October 2010 as vice president of programs for the company’s global security and engineering solutions unit.”


1.  Incestuous spying—CIA on the Senate. AP’s Kimberly Dozier reports, “The CIA is investigating whether its officers improperly monitored members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, which oversees the intelligence agency . . . The CIA inspector general is looking into the circumstances surrounding the committee’s investigation into allegations of CIA abuse in a Bush-era detention and interrogation program, Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., told reporters. The allegations include whether CIA officers improperly monitored Senate investigators and possibly accessed the computers they were using . . . .”

2.  Firing lasers—Israel’s commercial jets. Wired.Com contributor Allen McDuffee reports, “Israel is finally ready to combat shoulder-launched missiles and they’re going to do it with lasers. Israel’s Ministry of Defense announced Wednesday that SkyShield, developed by Israeli defense contractor Elbit Systems, had successfully completed testing and is certified for commercial use to combat the threat of man-portable surface-to-air missile systems (MANPADS) by combining advanced laser detection and disruption technologies.”

3.  $5 billion for cyber—but for what? DefenseOne.Com contributor Patrick Tucker explains, “The Pentagon’s wants $5.1 billion for cyber operations next year, an increase of about $4 million over this year’s budget, but exactly what the military wants to buy with that money is unclear. . . . Budgeting for more cybersecurity makes sense to defense planners who argue the threat continues to grow. But how to spend that money is still very much up for debate at the Pentagon.”


1.  Putin leads Congressional bi-partisanship: “Republicans criticized President Obama for a foreign policy strategy they say enabled Russia’s intervention in Ukraine, but lawmakers from both parties appear closer to an agreement on how to respond. Republicans and Democratic lawmakers on Tuesday called for possible sanctions against Russia and expressed support at a measure to provide an economic aid package to Ukraine worth $1 billion. Both parties also agreed that sending U.S. forces into the region is out of the question.”

2.  If reporters only had a brain: “Republicans think Harry Reid is running the Senate like a dictator: His no-compromise style is almost like Vladimir Putin’s, and his inflammatory rhetoric is reminiscent of the Joe McCarthy era. But Reid doesn’t seem to care. ‘Get a brain, OK?’ the Senate majority leader snapped at a reporter, when asked why he doesn’t permit far more votes on GOP amendments. ‘You’re a smart guy.’”


1.  “How the Ukraine crisis ends.” Washington Post contributor SecState Henry Kissinger argues, “Russia must accept that to try to force Ukraine into a satellite status, and thereby move Russia’s borders again, would doom Moscow to repeat its history of self-fulfilling cycles of reciprocal pressures with Europe and the United States.”

2.  “Assessing corporate risk in Ukraine.” Reuters’ contributor Lucy P. Marcus argues, “Most multinational companies doing business directly or indirectly in the region likely have a plan in place to mitigate the risk. Even so, no amount of preparation will avoid some impact on the bottom line — particularly as the markets grow jittery.”

3.  “Former Soviet Republics: Fear, concern and frustration.” contributor Vartan Oskanian argues, “If we are going to understand Russia’s behaviour and intentions, we have to begin with Russia’s perception of its fundamental weakness – its borders, particularly in the northwest. Russia believed the farther west into Europe its borders extend, the farther conquerors would have to travel to reach Moscow. Therefore, Russia is always pressing westward. But Europe is always pressing eastward. Thus, given its historical experience, Russia is bound to have a special concern for security around its vast periphery and the West needed to be careful.”


1.  Gee!  Eight.

2.  Putin getting smart.

3.  Irony.

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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.