Thirsty Thursday


1. Finding former employers. Contributor Andrew Levine explains, “A common concern for individuals undergoing a federal background investigation is the case of the elusive former employer. The applicant simply cannot provide substantive information about an employment during the course of an investigation, which creates a gap in the applicant’s profile. . . . If it appears as though an employment no longer exists, the applicant should take some precautionary measures to verify this is actually the case.”

2. Time to go. Editor Lindy Kyzer asks, “When should you leave? It is almost always better to look for a new job while you still have a job. Build your career network – online and offline – and when you do land a new opportunity, keep your network up. It’s easier to maintain a great network than to start from scratch. Happy job hunting!”


1. ISIS’ foreign legions. AP’s John-Thor Dahlburg and Misha Dzhindzhikhashvili report, “Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, the group’s leader, has appealed to Muslims throughout the world to move to lands under its control – to fight, but also to work as administrators, doctors, judges, engineers and scholars, and to marry, put down roots and start families. . . . The contingent of foreigners who have taken up arms on behalf of Islamic State during the past 3 1/2 years is more than twice as big as the French Foreign Legion.”

2. Running from Ramadi. Defense Media Activity’s Jim Garamone reports, “Iraqi security forces weren’t ‘driven from’ Ramadi, they ‘drove out of Ramadi,’ the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said . . . . Success against ISIL requires the commitment of the Iraqi government, the Iraqi security forces and the Iraqi people, he said. There must be political reconciliation among the various actors, a plan for the reconstruction of those areas that have been affected by ISIL attacks and the promise of ‘governance that gives the people the belief that they will be cared for in the future,’ Dempsey explained.” See also, “Iraqi forces say they repulse Islamist attack near Ramadi.”

3. China’s Arctic moves. The Diplomat’s Arthur Guschin reports, “China’s efforts in recent years to increase its presence in the Arctic can now be considered to have been a success. Until 2014, observers were surprised by the activities of Chinese diplomats, executives, and scientists in the region, and even debated ‘China’s threat’ in the Arctic. These days, though, China is seen as an essential actor that provides strong links for the region and drives economic development.” See also, “U.S. says South China Sea reclamations stoke instability.”


1. French buys. Defense News’ Pierre Tran reports, “France has set aside an extra €1.5 billion (US $1.7 billion) to acquire additional equipment, including the C-130 Hercules, and maintain weapon systems over the next four years, reflecting the intense operations of the armed forces in sub-Saharan Africa . . . Helicopters, transport and inflight refueling aircraft, intelligence gathering, cyber defense and maintenance of equipment are the key elements . . . .”

2. Reapers on order. Military & Aerospace Electronics Editor John Keller reports, “U.S. Air Force unmanned systems experts are ordering eight MQ-9 Reaper Block 5 attack drones from manufacturer General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. in Poway, Calif. Officials of the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, announced a $72.1 million order with General Atomics Wednesday to provide the eight additional Reaper armed unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).”


1. Shuttering NSA spying. National Journal’s Dustin Volz reports, “The Patriot Act provisions that have allowed the National Security Agency to vacuum up Americans’ phone records officially expire on June 1. But the Obama administration says the NSA must begin preparing to end its bulk-telephone-spying program as soon as Friday.”

2. Hacker hijacks. Homeland Security News Wire reports, “Reports that a cybersecurity expert successfully hacked into an airplane’s control system from a passenger seat raises many worrying questions for the airline industry. It was once believed that the cockpit network that allows the pilot to control the plane was fully insulated and separate from the passenger network running the in-flight entertainment system. . . . But the unfolding story of this hacker’s achievement, which has prompted further investigation by authorities and rebuttals from plane manufacturers, means that this assumption needs to be revisited.”

3. Hypersonic weapons. The Christian Science Monitor’s Rowena Lindsay reports, “In an effort to develop a defense mechanism that can reach any target in the world in just an hour, the US Air Force is developing hypersonic weapons, which are currently nearing the testing stage. While the technology is not expected to be fully developed for years, some in the international community are worried about the risks of inadvertent nuclear warfare.”


1. NSA filibuster. “[Sen. Rand] Paul, a Kentucky Republican who is running for president, walked onto the Senate floor around 1:18 p.m. on Wednesday after tweeting his intention to begin an hours-long floor speech that essentially became a filibuster. His decision to occupy the floor for the rest of the day dashed any hopes senators may have had to speed up votes before the Memorial Day recess. He continued his remarks through the evening hours and finished just before midnight, about 10 and a half hours later.”

2. Blame Boehner. “White House spokesman Josh Earnest on Tuesday rejected House Speaker John Boehner’s suggestion that President Obama should re-write his plan to fight the Islamic State, and instead blamed Boehner for failing to take up the plan Obama sent Congress in February. Earlier in the day, Boehner said that in light of the Islamic State’s takeover of the Iraqi city of Ramadi, Obama needs to send up a tougher authorization for use of military force, or AUMF, for fighting the terrorist group.”


1. “Nearly all of Osama bin Laden’s files should be released.” The Long War Journal’s Bill Roggio and Thomas Joscelyn argue, “Given the complexity of the post-9/11 wars, and the debates swirling around them, we can think of no better source to inform the public than bin Laden’s files. . . . Nearly all of the Abbottabad documents and files should be released to the public.

2. “It’s Time To Arm the Sunni Tribes.” Defense One contributor Paul Scharre argues, “Iraq is collapsing. . . . empowering moderate Iraqi Sunnis to provide for their own local security is not only central to defeating ISIS, but to protecting Iraq’s future as well.”

3. “The ISIS March Continues: From Ramadi on to Baghdad?Foreign Policy contributor Hassan Hassan argues, “Despite attempts by U.S. officials to downplay the significance of Ramadi’s fall, the development marks a dangerous new phase of the war. The Islamic State seems poised to take new areas despite American firepower and despite Iranian backing of tens of thousands of Shiite and Kurdish forces. The idea that the Islamic State is losing or declining now seems absurd.” See also, “Ramadi has fallen to Isis. But there is still good reason for hope.”


1. SOL time.

2. #apocalypse

3. Service animal.

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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.