Thirsty Thursday


1.  Hot jobs for cleared Vets. Contributor Tranette Ledford reports, “As the first quarter of 2014 closes, the employment picture looks good, with some 57,000 jobs added in the business and professional sectors alone.  With hiring happening at a steady pace, check out the following skills and list them prominently on your resume if you have them.”

2.  Hot regions for cleared IT pros. Also from contributor Tranette Ledford, “Despite the fact that IT job postings are down a bit over last year’s numbers, the demand for cleared IT professionals is still high, particularly in specific regions.  The following five regions make up those with higher than average job opportunities with great salaries. . . .”


1.  Terrorist kegger in Libya. TheDailyBeast.Com contributor Eli Lake reports, “In the nearly 20 months since the September 11, 2012 Benghazi attacks, al Qaeda operatives and allied terrorists have flocked to Libya, making the fragile North African country a hub for those seeking to wage jihad from north Africa . . . . leaders from at least three regional al Qaeda affiliates . . .  have all established havens in the lawless regions of Libya outside the control of the central government.”

2.  Weary Putin back from the brink. Reuters’ Nigel Stephenson reports from Moscow, “Vladimir Putin’s call for pro-Moscow separatists to postpone an independence referendum in eastern Ukraine shows the Russian president has achieved as much as he can for now without taking the potentially catastrophic step of sending in troops. The Russian president’s assertion that he has withdrawn forces from the Ukraine border—the White House says it has seen no evidence of this—was a clear sign that he wants to take the heat out of worst East-West row since the Cold War.” Christian Science Monitor asks, “Has Putin extended an olive branch to Kiev?

3.  Problems in Nigeria. AP’s Michelle Faul and Andrew Meldrum report, “Islamic militants who have triggered international outrage over the kidnapping of more than 270 Nigerian schoolgirls opened fire on a busy marketplace, killing hundreds of people in a new spasm of violence in the country’s northeast. The attack escalates Nigeria’s growing crisis from a campaign of bombings, massacres and abductions being waged by the Boko Haram terrorist network in its campaign to impose an Islamic state on Africa’s most populous nation.”

4.  Strong military = safer world. American Force Press Service’s Tyrone C. Marshall Jr. reports, “As nations worldwide experience a period of unprecedented economic and political transformation, the world would be a more dangerous place without a strong U.S. military, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said . . . . This process must continue at a time in which the nation must wisely use all of its resources, dimensions and instruments of influence and power, the secretary said. Though the big issues and challenges the world faces mostly cannot be solved militarily, Hagel said, the world becomes more dangerous without a strong, cutting-edge U.S. military that has the best-led, best-trained, best-educated and most-motivated people.”

5.  al Qaeda threats over Yemen drone strikes. Dawn.Com reports, “Al Qaeda’s Yemen affiliate on Friday threatened to strike back at any party involved in the US drone campaign, which has killed scores of jihadists ahead of a government ground offensive. The warning from senior Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula leader Qassem al-Rimi came in a video posted online. He accused Yemeni security forces of placing tracking devices on vehicles to help US drones target them, warning his group would attack ‘any establishment, ministry, camp or barracks’ involved in the tactic.”


1.  Igor Sikorsky wins big—$1.2 billion big. DefenseNews.Com’s Aaron Mehta reports, “The US Navy has officially selected Sikorsky to develop the next-generation of presidential helicopters. The contract, a $1.2 billion deal, covers the engineering and manufacturing development phase of the Presidential Helicopter Replacement program. The EMD phase calls for the procurement of six test aircraft and two simulators, with an October 2020 completion date. Sikorsky plans to deliver 21 aircraft to the Marines by 2023; $42 million for fiscal 2014 is being awarded to start the program immediately.”

2.  Pentagon police out of service. NextGov.Com’s Bob Brewin reports, “The agency that manages the Pentagon Police Department and also runs its networks and computers experienced a ‘catastrophic network technological outage’ on Jan. 3, and repairs may not be complete until January 2015, an obscure document on the Federal Business Opportunities website revealed. . . . The contracting document, posted on May 2, said the outage experienced by the Pentagon Life Safety System Network and Life Safety Backbone left the Pentagon Force Protection Agency ‘without access to the mission-critical systems needed to properly safeguard personnel and facilities, rendering the agency blind across the national capital region.’”


1.  Putin’s spy network. Time’s Massimo Calabresi reports, “Over the last decade, Putin has established a well-organized, well-funded and often subtle overt and covert operation in the vast swath of neighboring countries, from Estonia on the Baltic Sea to Azerbaijan in the Caucuses, say western and regional government officials. . . . The operation has been described by local intelligence officials as ‘soft power with a hard edge’ and includes a range of Cold War espionage tools.”

2.  Transformation, literally speaking. DefenseOne.Com’s Ben Watson reports, “Enter the Black Knight Transformer, a hybrid ‘multi-copter’ that will bring the Army one step closer to an unmanned vehicle that can move troops and equipment in poor weather, by land or air. California-based manufacturer Advanced Tactics released this video Tuesday showing the futuristic aircraft take off and land. . . . Watch its first successful test flight, conducted in late March . . . .”

3.  Becoming robot. NextGov.Com’s Andrew Smart reports, “We have moved beyond creating robots and software to do work for us. We now want to become robots ourselves so that we can even more work – all the time, in a heightened state of ‘peak productivity.’ Our cyborg fantasies have been completely co-opted by the cult of productivity.  The much-hyped Singularity, in which machine intelligence becomes superintelligence and surpasses human intelligence, and then merges with it (or something), is not about some deep philosophical and technological barrier—it’s about becoming a superworker: a cyborg of extreme productivity.”


1.  Contempt of Congress: “After months of partisan wrangling, the House of Representatives voted Wednesday to hold former IRS official Lois Lerner in contempt of Congress for refusing to testify about alleged partisan targeting. Hewing largely to party lines, members voted 231-187 to send the resolution to the Justice Department, which must now decide whether to prosecute her. Six Democrats—Ron Barber of Arizona, John Barrow of Georgia, Patrick Murphy of Florida, Collin Peterson of Minnesota, Mike McIntyre of North Carolina and Nick Rahall of West Virginia—voted for the resolution.”

2.  Bucks for Benghazi: “Republicans have no intention of listening to Trey Gowdy. A number of Republican candidates and conservative groups have openly used the Sept. 11, 2012, attacks in Benghazi, Libya, as a cash grab. And that’s likely to continue despite a strongly worded rebuke from the new chairman of the Republican select committee assigned to investigate the response to the attacks. . . . That’s put the party in an awkward spot. Republicans on Capitol Hill are eager to lend the looming committee investigation into the murder of four Americans an air of sobriety, dignity and seriousness. But political strategists are eager to mobilize the GOP base and amp up grassroots fundraising by capitalizing on the base’s outrage over how the Obama administration handled the attacks.”


1.  “N Korea: On the verge of collapse?Aljazeera.Com contributor Andrei Lankov argues, “China . . .  seems to be positioned to suffer most in the event of a North Korean regime collapse. As it is preoccupied with economic growth, China needs a stable and predictable environment in North East Asia, and a civil war in a neighbouring country, which also happens to have nuclear weapons, is not on the wish list of Beijing strategists.

2.  “US, Britain, and Nigeria must not let Boko Haram act with impunity.” Christian Science Monitor contributor Gordon Brown argues, “Tackling this terrorist threat demands that we help locate the girls who are now in captivity and show Boko Haram that its actions will be met with reprisals. Surveillance and other equipment has to be made available to the Nigerian authorities to root the terrorists out — but we must also make sure that schools are safe for children to attend.”

3.  “Every Country Will Have Armed Drones Within Ten Years.” DefenseOne.Com’s Patrick Tucker argues, “Virtually every country on Earth will be able to build or acquire drones capable of firing missiles within the next ten years. Armed aerial drones will be used for targeted killings, terrorism and the government suppression of civil unrest. What’s worse . . . it’s too late for the United States to do anything about it.”


1.  Escape and Evade.

2.  The definition of is.

3.  Chains of command.

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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.