Tuesday’s Top Ten


1. Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs. Editor Lindy Kyzer explains, “If you’re a federal contractor, OFCCP applies to you. OFCCP compliance is a critical element of your HR and recruiting efforts. But even if you take every step to eliminate workplace discrimination, you may be faced with a complaint. Here’s what to expect if you receive a discrimination complaint. . . .”

2. Cleared jobs across the pond. Also from Editor Lindy Kyzer, “Are you physically fit, able to ‘go-with-the-flow’ and mission minded? Overseas contracting careers can be a great option for transitioning military, veterans or service minded civilians. Of the more than 8500 openings currently listed on the ClearanceJobs.com site, more than 150 are located OCONUS, in locations from Iraq and Afghanistan to Russia and the Netherlands.”


1. Pakistan on terrorism. Reuters’ Arshad Mohammed reports from Islamabad, “Pakistan must fight militant groups that threaten Afghan, Indian and U.S. interests, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Tuesday as he offered sympathy for the victims of last month’s massacre of children at a Pakistani school. Nuclear-armed Pakistan has long been suspected by the West of playing a double game, fighting some militants while supporting those its generals have regarded as strategic assets to be used against rivals and neighbors, India and Afghanistan.”

2. Peace conference cancelled for Ukraine. The Moscow Times covers, “Germany, Russia, Ukraine and France have decided not to hold a summit on the conflict in Ukraine on Thursday because of a lack of progress in implementing a four-month-old cease-fire agreement. The Russian, German and French leaders had been invited to talks in the Kazakh capital Astana by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. But the four countries’ foreign ministers said in a joint statement after talks in Berlin late on Monday that the failure to implement the truce effectively, and the need to agree on how to deliver aid and free prisoners, meant ‘further work needs to be done’ before a summit is held.”

3. Palestinian politics and last resorts. AP’s Karin Laub and Mohammed Daraghmeh report, “After a decade in power, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has little to show. He is no closer to a deal on Palestinian statehood, has failed to reclaim the Gaza Strip from political rival Hamas and is being disparaged by some as a pliant guardian of Israeli security needs in the West Bank. But the typically cautious 79-year-old dramatically changed course in the days before this week’s tenth anniversary in office by signing up to the International Criminal Court. That could allow for war crimes complaints against Israel in what many believe is his strategy of last resort.”

4. China’s infantry. Defense One contributors Lauren Dickey and Emerson Brooking report, “A recent report by the Guangzhou-based Southern Weekly on investments to outfit and equip Chinese soldiers in the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has sparked controversy both within China and abroad—revealing sharp fissures in China’s ballooning defense budget. With a total defense budget estimated at $132 billion in 2014 and 2.28 million active duty soldiers on payroll, the PLA allocates a mere $1,523 (9,460 yuan) in outfitting each soldier, roughly one-thirteenth the value of the average deploying U.S. serviceman’s personal gear.”


1. CGI Federal and DRS Laurel Technologies aboard $2.5 billion CANES. Defense Systems reports, “Following a round of protests, the Navy has added two more companies to the $2.5 billion CANES contract for its next-generation shipboard tactical network. CGI Federal and DRS Laurel Technologies will join five other companies in bidding for work under CANES, which stands for Consolidated Afloat Network Enterprise Services. Initiated in 2010, the CANES program is intended to upgrade and streamline shipboard tactical operations and improve interoperability by replacing five legacy systems.”

2. OMB opens 10 new marketplace categories. Government Exec’s Jay Clemens reports, “The Office of Management and Budget’s Strategic Sourcing Leadership Council has approved 10 new marketplace categories of commonly purchased items under the government’s category management approach. The categories cover spending areas such as information technology, transportation, travel and professional services . . . . According to the office, the category management approach is intended to identify categories of spend, develop levels of expertise, share best practices, streamline services, and manage supply and demand. A team of experts will lead each category by developing a government-wide strategy for acquisition.”


1. CENTCOM hacked. Defense News’ Aaron Mehta reports, “The Twitter and YouTube accounts of US Central Command were hacked Monday by people claiming to be sympathizers to the Islamic State militant group, commonly referred to as ISIS. Just after noon East Coast time, the banner image on the @CENTCOM Twitter account shifted to an image of an ISIS fighter with ‘CyberCaliphate’ written next to it. A link was tweeted to a message declaring ‘AMERICAN SOLDIERS, WE ARE COMING, WATCH YOUR BACK.’” See also from Defense One, “Pro-Islamic State Group Hacks US Military Twitter, YouTube Accounts.”

2. Navy’s very real exoskeletons. Defense One’s Patrick Tucker reports, “One day, troops will strap on bulletproof Iron Man suits and fly into battle, but only after a breakthrough in portable power storage that may not arrive for another decade. In the meantime, exoskeletons do have real military potential today, if only the Pentagon can shed some of its comic-book inspired notions and deploy them where they can do the most good—on ships. That’s according to a new report from the Center for New American Security.” Read the report: “Between Iron Man and Aqua Man: Exosuit Opportunities in Maritime Operations.”

3. Spy gear. Venture Beat’s Emil Protalinski reports, “Privacy and security researcher Samy Kamkar has released a keylogger for Microsoft wireless keyboards cleverly hidden in what appears to be a rather large, but functioning USB wall charger. Called KeySweeper, the stealthy Arduino-based device can sniff, decrypt, log, and report back all keystrokes — saving them both locally and online. This is no toy. KeySweeper includes a web-based tool for live keystroke monitoring, can send SMS alerts for trigger words, usernames, or URLs (in case you want to steal a PIN number or password), and even continues to work after it is unplugged thanks to a rechargeable internal battery.”


1. Regrets. “White House press secretary Josh Earnest delivered a mea culpa Monday and conceded that President Obama and other White House officials agree that the president should have attended or sent a high-profile surrogate to Paris to participate in the solidarity march against terrorism Sunday. ‘I think it’s fair to say we should have sent someone with a higher profile,’ Earnest said, quickly adding that there’s no doubt that the Obama administration stands squarely behind France in its effort to stand up to extremists and that it regularly coordinates intelligence operations and shares information.”

2. Beating the bushes: “Calls from Florida are starting to ring in Washington as Jeb Bush’s 2016 presidential team begins to hunt for a campaign staff. Insiders reveal that the Republican is sniffing around for a spokesman, communications director and even campaign manager. ‘It’s smart for him to start this soon. He’s already established himself as the front-runner and the top talent will be ready to work for him,’ said one who received a call. The Bushies are targeting the NRSC and National Republican Congressional Committee. In focus are NRSC Executive Director Rob Collins and Communications Director Brad Dayspring as well as Ken Spain, former NRCC communications director.”


1. “Russia and Ukraine: a contest less of war and more of governance.” Christian Science Monitor’s Editorial Board argues, “Russians are being offered a tenuous security at the cost of their freedom while Ukraine, venturing into new freedom, feels very insecure. Which one will succeed? For two countries so steeped in history, each should know freedom is the best horse to ride.”

2. “Islam and free speech: What’s so funny?Aljazeera contributor Sharif Nashashibi argues, “The solidarity rally in Paris was attended by a who’s who of enemies of free speech and independent journalism. Those hoping the mainstream media would highlight this hypocrisy were disappointed. The irony was not lost on Charlie Hebdo cartoonist Bernard Holtrop, who said: ‘We vomit on all those people who are suddenly saying they are our friends… I’ve got to laugh about that.’ Yet, recurrent problematic coverage is no laughing matter.”

3. “Oil kings: The House of Saud’s uncertain future.” Reuters contributor Mohamad Bazzi explains, “The Saud dynasty views itself as the rightful leader of the Muslim world, but Iran has challenged that leadership for several decades. Although Saudi Arabia has a Sunni majority, its rulers fear Iran’s potential influence over a sizable, and sometimes-restive, Shi’ite population concentrated in the kingdom’s oil-rich Eastern Province.”


1. Marketplace of ideas.

2. Goofy Golf.

3. Irony of ironies.

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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.