Thursday Morning


1.  Growing cyber talent. Contributor Jillian Hamilton explains, “With so many cybersecurity openings, some are making it seem simple to get into the cybersecurity field. Despite the supply and demand gap that is projected to continue to widen, false marketing will not fix the issue.”

2.  Cyber hiring race. Also from Hamilton, “Another week goes by, and the spotlight is still on cybersecurity recruiting. Until the Defense Department is able to compete with industry in the cybersecurity field, the discussion has to continue. Defense contractors and defense agencies are alike in looking for an edge in the cybersecurity recruiting race.”


1.  Sanctions—the new Cold War’s un-weapon of pessimism. AP’s Julie Pace reports from Tokyo, “Accusing Russia of failing to live up to its commitments, President Barack Obama warned Moscow on Thursday that the United States has another round of economic sanctions ‘teed up’—even as he acknowledged those penalties may do little to influence Vladimir Putin’s handling of the crisis in Ukraine. Obama’s frank pessimism underscored the limits of Washington’s ability to prevent Russia from stirring up instability in Ukraine’s east and exerting influence over elections scheduled for next month in the former Soviet republic.”

2.  Pull ‘em back, way back—Russia to Ukraine. Aljazeera.Com reports, “Russia has insisted that Kiev pull back its troops from eastern Ukraine as it accused Washington of distorting an agreement to ease the most serious confrontation between Moscow and the West since the end of the Cold War. ‘The Russian side once again insists on the immediate de-escalation of the situation in Ukraine’s southeast, the pullback of units of the Ukrainian army and the start of a genuine internal Ukrainian dialogue involving all of the country’s regions and political formations,’ the Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday.”

3.  Japan—we’ve got your back, and front. Reuters’ Mark Felsenthal and Linda Sieg report, “U.S. President Barack Obama assured ally Japan on Thursday that Washington was committed to its defense, including of tiny isles at the heart of a row with China, but denied he had drawn any new ‘red line’ and urged peaceful dialogue over the islands. His comments drew a swift response from China, which said the disputed islets were Chinese territory.”

4.  Afghanistan Aerospace. DefenseNews.Com’s Aaron Mehta reports, “Afghanistan is not a country known for its aeronautical industry, but at least one top-ranking US official believes that could change. ‘The aviation industry in Afghanistan is an opportunity for that country,’ Gen. Mark Welsh, US Air Force chief of staff, said Wednesday. ‘It’s an industry that could be incredibly successful and meaningful for them in that region, but it hasn’t been robust in the past. Their Air Force will lead that effort, their airmen will lead that effort.’” [Charge!]

5.  Vet Jobs—Michelle Obama’s new initiative. Washington Examiner’s Meghashyam Mali reports, “First lady Michelle Obama on Wednesday announced a new online initiative to help military members and veterans find new jobs in the private sector. The new online Veterans Employment Center at includes tools to help ‘translate military skills into the civilian workforce,’ the White House said. Veterans, servicemembers leaving the military and their spouses can upload resumes, connect with both public and private-sector employers and access career resources.”


1.  F-35 Paradise—$12 billion more Down Under. DefenseNews.Com’s Nigel Pittaway reports from Melbourne, “Australia will purchase 58 additional Lockheed Martin F-35A joint strike fighters for the Royal Australian Air Force, the country’s prime minister announced Wednesday. The deal — worth $AUS 12.4 billion (US $11.5 billion) — is one of the largest purchases of defense equipment in Australian history. The latest batch is in addition to 14 already approved by the Australian government, bringing the total order to 72 aircraft, enough to completely replace the country’s Boeing F/A-18A/B Hornets.”

2.  Acquisition—the Bradley-Stryker mongrel. DefenseMedia.Com’s Scott R. Gourley reports that “when the Army issued its AMPV Request for Proposals (RfPs) the month after the AUSA event, GDLS representatives characterized it as a competition ‘in name only,’ asserting that the RfP requirement to offer an existing combat vehicle was biased toward a Bradley tracked vehicle solution and that the technical data for that platform was only available to the original equipment manufacturer (BAE Systems) and the Army. The data situation contributed to what was described by some as insufficient time for others to compete.” [Lawsuit coming.]


1.  The Snowden factor. NationalJournal.Com contributor Dustin Volz explains, “A cohort of Edward Snowden’s confidants are now casting verbal stones at a pair of liberal lawmakers long thought to be among their biggest anti-spying allies in Congress: Sens. Mark Udall and Ron Wyden. . . .”

2.  Combat auto pilot. DefenseOne.Com’s Patrick Tucker reports, “The Defense Advanced Projects Research Agency, or DARPA, announced a new program to build an automatic pilot kit to install into military planes. The kit, called the Aircrew Labor In-Cockpit Automation System, or ALIAS, would be ‘rapidly adaptable’ for a variety of aircraft and would take on many of the tasks normally associated with piloting military jets.”

3.  Sentinel—a new way of applying anti-virus software. VentureBeat.Com’s Jordan Novet reports, “McAfee and Symantec have had their day. Now a startup called Sentinel Labs wants a shot at the antivirus market. Sentinel started last year, picked up some seed funding, and quietly released software to protect individual devices against advanced threats. . . . The investors must have liked the pitch, because now Sentinel has completed a new $12 million funding round. The funding hints at the value of bolstering security on the devices that lots of employees use—smartphones, tablets, desktops—rather than the networking devices that a few data center administrators might have access to. Funding for companies like Lookout Mobile and CrowdStrike, as well as FireEye’s Mandiant acquisition, also hint at the sensibility of keeping watch on individual client devices.”


1.  You don’t know jack: “First lady Michelle Obama took her campaign to help veterans find jobs to Fort Campbell, Ky., Wednesday where she said that most Americans don’t know much about the military. . . . She added that 99 percent of the nation takes the military’s service for granted. ‘Because when one percent of the country is serving and protecting the freedoms of the other 99 percent, it’s very easy for the other 99 percent to take that for granted.’”

2.  Ruthless Politics—gang-up on the old guy: “Congress may soon lose its oldest member. Rep. Ralph Hall (R-Texas), who turns 91 next week, is in the fight of his political life, facing a better-funded challenger who held him to less than 50 percent of the vote in March to force a runoff. ‘I’ve made tenure a bigger issue than anything else. The fact that Congressman Hall has been in there 34 years is anathema to the Constitution, and that’s a really big issue for people,’ Ratcliffe told The Hill in a recent interview. ‘And Congressman Hall is not nearly as conservative as he sometimes gets credit for—his voting record is all across the board and as people are looking more closely they see that.’”


1.  “Putin learning what U.S. didn’t.” Reuters’ contributor Nicholas Wapshott argues, “Understanding the lessons of Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq, Putin has invaded Ukraine in disguise—first annexing Crimea and now, through not-so-covert forces, destabilizing largely Russian-speaking eastern Ukraine to provide himself with an open invitation to invade with tanks if and when he thinks fit.”

2.  “Eastern Ukraine: A new pawn in Putin’s dangerous game.” Aljazeera.Com contributor Peter Zalmayev argues, “Putin’s course of action in Ukraine remains clear only to himself (if that) and it is hard not to assume that he enjoys keeping the whole world in suspense and on edge. At the very least, the continuing unrest in eastern Ukraine is a way for Moscow to have a say-so in Ukraine’s May 25 presidential election, to achieve its goal of Ukraine’s federalisation (and de facto partition) and to prevent Ukraine from drifting further into the Western orbit and joining NATO.”

3.  “Why Obama reassures allies.” Christian Science Monitor’s Editorial Board argues, “Many of America’s friends have begun to worry about US stamina for defense and its commitments to others. Their concern was first sparked by Obama not living up to his ‘red line’ threat last year against Syria for its use of chemical weapons. But it was reinforced by his ambiguous support for Japan in its struggle with China over the Senkaku Islands, and now a tepid response to Russia’s taking of Crimea in Ukraine.”


1.  Word processing.

2.  Easter Putin.

3.  Cold War.

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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.