Humph Day already


1.  Hiring—the break in comms. Contributor Luke Mann explains, “Job seekers are increasingly frustrated with the lack of feedback after they apply to a job. They feel undervalued and disrespected.  Recruiters are feeling overwhelmed by the sheer volume of applicants applying to their jobs and they’re also feeling frustrated with the amount of candidates that apply to their job but don’t meet the posted minimum requirements.” See also Luke’s “Silence of the Job Posting.”

2.  Salary negotiations. Editor Lindy Kyzer advises, “In an era of sequestration and declining Department of Defense budgets, golden tickets are hard to come by. Unfortunately, the days when cleared professionals could name their price in the job market are gone. But that doesn’t mean you can’t still negotiate top dollar.”


1.  Drawdown from Afghanistan—the plan. Washington Post’s Karen DeYoung reports, “President Obama revealed his long-awaited plan for Afghanistan on Tuesday, announcing that a residual force of 9,800 U.S. troops will remain there for one year following the end of combat operations in December. That number will be cut in half at the end of 2015, and reduced at the end of 2016 to a small military presence at the U.S. Embassy.” See also, “Hagel Expresses Support for Afghanistan Troop Decision” and “Obama plans to end U.S. troop presence in Afghanistan by 2016.”

2.  Training Syrian rebels. Aljazeera.Com reports, “US President Barack Obama may soon sign off on a project to train and equip Syrian rebels not affiliated with al-Qaeda, administration officials said. Officials speaking on condition of anonymity on Tuesday, said the project would mean sending a number of US troops to Jordan that would help instruct carefully vetted members of the Free Syrian Army on tactics, including counterterrorism operations. The White House did not confirm or deny the plan, but said it was ‘constantly considering available options to combat the terrorist threat emanating from Syria and to facilitate an end to the crisis.’”

3.  New foreign policy. AP’s Julie Pace reports, “As the nation emerges from more than a decade of war, President Barack Obama is seeking to recast U.S. foreign policy as an endeavor aimed at building international consensus and avoiding unilateral overreach. . . . ‘I’m confident that if we carry out this approach, we can not only responsibly end our war in Afghanistan and achieve the objectives that took us to war in the first place, we’ll also be able to begin a new chapter in the story of American leadership around the world’ Obama said Tuesday during an appearance in the White House Rose Garden.”

4.  Special Ops sneaking into Africa. New York Times’ Eric Schmitt reports, “United States Special Operations troops are forming elite counterterrorism units in four countries in North and West Africa that American officials say are pivotal in the widening war against Al Qaeda’s affiliates and associates on the continent, even as they acknowledge the difficulties of working with weak allies. The secretive program, financed in part with millions of dollars in classified Pentagon spending and carried out by trainers, including members of the Army’s Green Berets and Delta Force, was begun last year to instruct and equip hundreds of handpicked commandos in Libya, Niger, Mauritania and Mali.”


1.  BAE U.S. filling UK Missile Warning System requirements. DefenseNews.Com’s Andrew Chuter reports, “Britain is buying a BAE Systems third-generation (Gen 3) common missile warning system (CMWS) that helps protect helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft against small arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades, as well as missiles. The Ministry of Defence is spending $28 million acquiring the latest version of the missile warning system from the US arm of BAE, having previously acquired a second-generation version of the company’s technology. The military will replace some second-generation systems and outfit new aircraft.”

2.  F-35 woes—landing. AviationWeek.Com’s Bill Sweetman reports, “At least $21 billion of the JSF’s research and development bill—including the F135 engine and the crash weight-reduction program of 2004 as well as the powered-lift system—is directly attributable to the F-35B, which also has the highest unit cost of any military aircraft in production. The design compromises in the F-35B have added weight, drag and cost to the F-35A and F-35C. It would be nice to know that . . . it will deliver some of its promised operational utility.”


1.  Snowden—I was a spy, damnit! I was a spy! Time’s Nolan Feeney reports, “Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor behind one of the biggest leaks of classified intelligence in American history, describes his previous job as more Bond-like than reported in the past. . . . ‘I was trained as a spy in sort of the traditional sense of the word in that I lived and worked undercover overseas—pretending to work in a job that I’m not—and even being assigned a name that was not mine.’”

2.  Quantum leap—maybe. Wired.Com’s Clive Thompson reports, “Located at NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California, a couple of miles from the Googleplex, the machine is literally a black box, 10 feet high. It’s mostly a freezer, and it contains a single, remarkable computer chip—based not on the usual silicon but on tiny loops of niobium wire, cooled to a temperature 150 times colder than deep space. . . . the black box is the world’s first practical quantum computer, a device that uses radical new physics to crunch numbers faster than any comparable machine on earth. If they’re right, it’s a profound breakthrough.”

3. No new cyber-regulation, for now. FierceGovernmentIT.Com reports, “The Obama administration doesn’t need to develop new cybersecurity regulations, a review by the administration has concluded. That conclusion doesn’t apply to independent regulators, such as the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which are responsible for much of the nation’s critical infrastructure. The review stemmed from an executive order, which can only apply to agencies under the purview of the White House. . . . [Departments of Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, and the Environmental Protection Agency] concluded that voluntary implementation of the cybersecurity framework that the National Institute of Standards and Technology released in February would suffice for now.”


1. Tea Baggers? “’Barack Obama autograph letter signed as president. Upon White House stationery, letter reads in full, ‘’Dear Mr. Ritter—I received your letter and appreciate your concerns about the toxic political environment right now. I do have to challenge you, though, on the notion that any citizen that disagrees with me has been ‘targeted and ridiculed’, or that I have ‘made fun’ of tea-baggers. I think a fair reading is that I have gone out of my way to listen to legitimate criticism, and defend strongly the right of everyone to speak their mind—including those who routinely call me ‘socialist’ or worse. I sincerely believe that the health care reform bill was the right thing to do for the country. It certainly wasn’t the smart ‘political thing!’ And I hope that in the months to come, you will keep an open mind and evaluate it based not on the political attacks but on what it does or doesn’t do to improve people’s lives. Sincerely, Barack Obama'”

2.  Michael Grimm Fairy Tales: “Rep. Michael Grimm, in his most extensive interview since federal prosecutors accused him of rampant fraud, accused the media on Tuesday of trying to destroy him and vowed to campaign hard for reelection—even as the New York Republican acknowledged his fundraising has dried up to the point he can’t air TV ads. . . . The National Republican Congressional Committee, meanwhile, recently removed Grimm from a fundraising event aimed at supporting the GOP’s most imperiled incumbents. Boehner has declined to endorse his reelection bid. And Grimm’s campaign manager, Bill Cortese, left last week. The federal indictment accuses Grimm of defrauding the government by hiding some $1 million in sales and wages and employing illegal immigrants at a Manhattan fast-food restaurant he operated from 2007 to 2010. Among the charges are mail and wire fraud, hiring illegal immigrants and perjury.”


1.  “Who Cares About Shinseki? Let’s Focus on Understanding Vets.” Time’s Mark Thompson argues, “Regardless of what happens to Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki, the sturm und drang surrounding his VA tenure is doing little to help the U.S. public understand the nation’s veterans at a time when such insight is desperately needed. The high-profile attention on ailing vets can only exacerbate, in the public’s mind, that most of them are coming home broken one way or another.”

2.  “Russia’s Navy: More rust than ready.” Reuters’ contributor David Axe argues, “Moscow’s warships are old and unreliable. Yet the government is finding it increasingly difficult to replace them with equally large and powerful new vessels. Russia is a geriatric maritime giant surrounded by much more energetic rivals.”

3.  “China’s Human Rights Spin.” USNews.Com contributor Mark C. Eades argues, “Despite Beijing’s claims, the human rights situation in China is growing worse, not better. China’s white paper on human rights progress isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on. Until real human rights progress is made in China, statements such as this from the Chinese government simply cannot be taken seriously.” Read China State Council’s white paper.


1.  Beyond recovery.

2.  Nonconformist.

3.  Rubik Coup.

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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.