Humph Day Highlights & Netanyahu’s Address to Congress


1. Jobs for cleared engineers. Contributor Tranette Ledford reports, “Job opportunities are widening for cleared women veterans, particularly those interested in cleared engineering jobs. It’s no secret women veterans face employment challenges. But the growth of cleared engineering jobs continues to expand for women.  Those with a bachelor’s degree in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), or related fields who also have a security clearance have the best opportunities for cleared engineering jobs.”

2. Cleared engineers: “nowhere but up.”Editor Lindy Kyzer reports, “While the government offers a more stable career track than most, there are some sectors that are going nowhere but up, no matter the employer. Engineering is one of those sectors. . . . If you’re an engineer looking for work and having trouble, it probably comes down to location. Engineering jobs are everywhere. You may be familiar with the major hubs in places like Huntsville, but cities from Topeka to Philadelphia also have amazing opportunities.”


1. Petraeus’ end. New York Times’ Michael S. Schmidt and Matt Apuzzo report, “David H. Petraeus, the best-known military commander of his generation, has reached a plea deal with the Justice Department and admitted providing his highly classified journals to a mistress when he was the director of the C.I.A. Mr. Petraeus has agreed to plead guilty to one count of unauthorized removal and retention of classified material, a misdemeanor. He is eligible for up to one year in prison, but prosecutors will recommend a sentence of probation for two years and a $40,000 fine.” See also, “‘There’s code-word stuff in there,’” “David Petraeus to plead guilty over leaks to lover,” “Ex-CIA chief David Petraeus admits sharing military secrets with mistress,” and “NSA whistleblower denounces Petraeus plea bargain.”

2. Ash Carter, the budget and national security. Defense News’ John T. Bennett reports, “US Defense Secretary Ash Carter pleaded with senators Tuesday to roll back planned cuts to the military’s annual budget, saying US interests around the globe are at risk. . . . That amount of funding, Carter and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey told the Senate Armed Services Committee, means the military would be unable to carry out the current national defense strategy.” See also, “Carter Blasts Spending Cuts in His First Budget Pitch to Congress” and “Nation ‘Would be Less Secure’ Under Sequestration.”

3. Taking back Tikrit. The Long War Journal’s Caleb Weiss and Bill Roggio report, “The Iraqi Security Forces, supported by several Iranian-backed Shiite militias and Sunni tribal fighters, have launched an offensive to retake Tikrit from the Islamic State, which has held the central Iraqi city since June 2014. Massive columns of Shiite militias, including some groups that are listed by the US as Foreign Terrorist Organizations, have been leading the fight in Tikrit. The operation, which involves more than thirty thousand Iraqi security personnel and militia forces, started on the morning of March 2. . . . Iraqi forces and allied militias attacked the city from three sides while Iraqi aviation launched an aerial bombardment.”

4. World views and national security. Christian Science Monitor’s Francine Kiefer reports, “Even before Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made his address to Congress Tuesday, it was abundantly clear that his invitation to speak exposed something much deeper than the typical partisanship that so often convulses Washington. It exposed the raw and sometimes rancorous rift between two starkly different worldviews. . . .”


1. Army acquisition: the fix is in. Breaking Defense’s Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. reports, “The top question on defense lawmakers’ minds right now is: ‘Can we trust you with the people’s money?’ And no large military organization has a worse record in that respect than the US Army, with its unhappy track record of canceled programs and wasted billions dating to before 9/11. It’s such a sensitive and high-stakes question that, when I started to ask Army Secretary John McHugh about his service’s uphill battle to fix procurement, the normally mild-manned McHugh cut me off mid-question to deliver an impassioned defense.”

2. Brandeis program: opportunities in privacy science. Military & Aerospace Electronics Editor John Keller reports, “U.S. military researchers will brief industry on 12 March 2015 on an upcoming new cyber security research program to develop ways of protecting the private and proprietary information of individuals and enterprises. Officials of the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in Arlington, Va., will detail the upcoming Brandeis program . . . . The Brandeis proposers day is to familiarize participants with DARPA’s interest in privacy science; identify potential proposers; and provide an opportunity for potential proposers to ask questions about the upcoming Brandeis program.”


1. Leaking secrets. Defense One contributor David A. Graham reports, “The Obama administration is against intelligence officials leaking classified information—but some conditions may apply. If you’re a CIA analyst who talks to reporters, you might end up serving 30 months in federal prison or facing more. Even a reporter could end up being named a co-conspirator by prosecutors. But if you’re a decorated general, a former CIA director, and a former member of the Cabinet, you might get off with a $40,000 fine and two years of probation.”

2. A brief history of commercial espionage. Nextgov contributor Bruce Schneier reports, “Many countries have a long history of spying on foreign corporations for their own military and commercial advantage. The U.S. claims that it does not engage in commercial espionage, meaning that it does not hack foreign corporate networks and pass that information on to U.S. competitors for commercial advantage. But it does engage in economic espionage, by hacking into foreign corporate networks and using that information in government trade negotiations that directly benefit U.S. corporate interests.”

3. Burying Nemtsov. The New York Times’ Neil MacFarquhar and Andrew E. Kramer report, “The funeral on Tuesday for Boris Y. Nemtsov, the assassinated Kremlin critic, drew a gloomy band of politicians and supporters from the faltering liberal opposition, with mourners grieving that they were burying not just a friend, but also their dream for a different Russia.” See also, “Obama Extends Sanctions Against Russia, Citing Threat to ‘National Security.’”


1. Conservative crosshairs: “Conservatives said Tuesday there are no plans to attempt to overthrow House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, despite the passage of a $40 billion Homeland Security Funding measure that does not curb President Obama’s executive actions on immigration. Instead, their focus is on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. . . . Freedom Caucus has set its sights on the Senate. The lawmakers plan to pressure Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to change the rules of the upper chamber so that legislation can pass with just 51 votes, instead of 60.”

2. Weakened Boehner: “Nothing has changed for John Boehner. When he kept hold of the speaker’s gavel fewer than 60 days ago, his advisers and close allies said the worst was behind them. He now had the largest Republican majority in eight decades. He had moderates willing to back him up. And he had a partner in Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell who would bolster Boehner in his battles against President Barack Obama. But that majority abandoned him in droves . . . .”


1. “Don’t Blow Up an Effective Iran Deal.” Defense One contributor Daryl Kimball argues, “If members of Congress try to delay, block or reject the emerging P5+1 agreement with Iran, hoping that more sanctions will lead to a better deal, they are dangerously mistaken.”

2. “Netanyahu at the Capitol: Political points scored, Israel’s security undermined.” Reuters contributor Dimi Reider argues, “Netanyahu agreed to speak in front of the U.S. Congress in part to please his Republican allies and to pique the Obama administration. He achieved both of those aims in spectacular fashion.”

3. “Mideast looks for a ‘Switzerland.’Christian Science Monitor’s Editorial Board argues, “Switzerland, while certainly preserving its interests, has served to counter that view of all nations being in frequent contention. As Europe’s calm center, it may have contributed to the idea of the European Union as a bulwark against war. Perhaps if enough nations in the Middle East want to imitate it, someday that might just happen.”


1. Then, reality sets in . . . .

2. Perspective.

3. Thick red line.

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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.