Humph Day Highlights


Cleared careers. Editor Lindy Kyzer explains, “Finding a candidate with the right technical skills and right security clearances to get the job done is difficult. That means many employers are willing to pay significantly more to hire a candidate with a clearance. . . . If you have an active federal security clearance, there’s a good reason to put it to use. If attractive benefits packages, a higher-than-average salary and excellent job security sound like perks worth pursuing, create your career profile at”

Untapped opportunity: staffing companies. Also from Editor Lindy Kyzer: “If you’ve kept staffing companies off of your list, you may be missing out on the best way to take your cleared career to the next level. TAD PGS offers global staffing solutions to the US Government, contractors, and integrators. . . . [W]hen you launch your career with TAD PGS, you’re working with a team of professionals who are experienced in everything from security clearance processing to helping you find a career in your niche field.”


Cold War Deux: gearing up. DoD Buzz’s Brendan McGarry reports, “The U.S. Defense Department will send hundreds of Abrams tanks, Bradley fighting vehicles and Paladin howitzers to Eastern Europe, an official said. The move, announced Tuesday by Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, is designed to show support to regional allies who are increasingly concerned about Russia’s military involvement in the Ukraine and more aggressive posture on the continent.”

Juicing-up Iran. AP’s George Hahn reports, “The United States and other nations negotiating a nuclear deal with Iran are ready to offer high-tech reactors and other state-of-the-art equipment to Tehran if it agrees to crimp programs that can make atomic arms . . . . The West has always held out the prospect of providing Iran peaceful nuclear technology in the nearly decade-long international diplomatic effort designed to reduce Tehran’s potential ability to make nuclear weapons. But the scope of the help now being offered in the draft may displease U.S. congressional critics who already argue that Washington has offered too many concessions at the negotiations.” See also, “Pakistan: Lessons from the India-US Nuclear Deal.”

ISIS call to arms. The Long War Journal’s Thomas Joscelyn reports, “The Islamic State’s spokesman, Abu Muhammad al Adnani, has released a nearly 30-minute long audio speech online. . . . Some of the speech is devoted to an obligatory call for jihad on behalf of the Islamic State. Adnani also announces the Islamic State’s acceptance of a bayat (oath of allegiance) from jihadists in the Caucasus region. . . . Adnani is clearly concerned about the jihadist opposition to the Islamic State’s expansion plans. He specifically mentions the Islamic State’s opponents in Derna, Libya, the Khorasan, and Syria. In Derna, a coalition of pro-al Qaeda groups called the Mujahideen Shura Council (MSC) recently did significant damage to the Islamic State’s cause.”

Taliban’s ISIS response. Christian Science Monitor’s Howard LaFranchi reports, “The Taliban is taking bold steps not only to reassert itself after the departure of NATO forces, but perhaps more importantly, to stave off the rising influence of the Islamic State among jihadis in Afghanistan. On Monday, the Taliban claimed responsibility for an audacious suicide attack on the Afghan parliament in Kabul. By Tuesday, it had taken control of two districts in northern Afghanistan – well outside its traditional southern base of power – and was threatening to overrun the northern agricultural hub of Kunduz. These moves take advantage of the security vacuum created by weak Afghan security forces, some regional experts say. But the Taliban is also facing mounting pressure from fighters within its own ranks drawn to the stunningly successful Islamic State.”


Contractors: at fault for OPM breach. Federal Times’ Aaron Boyd reports, “A breach of KeyPoint Government Solutions — a contractor used by federal agencies to conduct background checks — gave hackers the credentials needed to access sensitive employee data held by the Office of Personnel Management, the agency director confirmed Tuesday. During a hearing in front of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government, OPM Director Katherine Archuleta told legislators there was a direct line between the August breach of KeyPoint systems and the two intrusions of OPM servers detected in April.” See also, “How hackers unlocked OPM systems and 6 other things we learned about the breach.”

Gray Eagle drones on order. Military & Aerospace Electronics Editor John Keller reports, “U.S. Army aviation experts are ordering 19 MQ-1C Gray Eagle reconnaissance and attack unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), as well as 19 satellite UAV control stations. Officials of the Army Contracting Command at Redstone Arsenal, Ala., announced a $121.4 million contract modification Tuesday to General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. in Poway, Calif., for the Gray Eagle attack drones and satellite communications air data terminals.”


NSA’s French connection. Reuters’ James Regan and Mark John report, “The United States National Security Agency spied on French presidents Jacques Chirac, Nicolas Sarkozy and Francois Hollande, WikiLeaks said in a press statement published on Tuesday, citing top secret intelligence reports and technical documents. The revelations were first reported in French daily Liberation and on news website Mediapart, which said the NSA spied on the presidents during a period of at least 2006 until May 2012, the month Hollande took over from Sarkozy. . . .” See also, “France summons US ambassador after spying revelations.”

Space Co-Op: joint interagency and combined space ops. Breaking Defense’s Colin Clark reports, “For the first time, all the nation’s spy satellites and the military’s satellites will be tracked from a single   location, allowing the two communities to develop tactics, techniques and procedures together . . . . Work said the new center would be operational within six months, which means it must have been in development for some time. . . . Air Force Gen. John Hyten, head of Air Force Space Command, was tasked with developing the center in coordination with the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), which builds and operates the nation’s spy satellites.” See also, “Work Calls for Collaboration to Maintain Tech Dominance.”

DoD’s hoverbikes. Reuters’ Jim Drury reports, “The dream of a manned, truly functional hoverbike is a step closer to reality after British and American engineers announced a deal with the U.S. Department of Defense to develop and build the vehicle in the States. Developers Malloy Aeronautics says its Hoverbike prototype is built to do many of the jobs that a helicopter is used for, but without the problems inherent with helicopter design. Malloy have joined forces with U.S. firm SURVICE, 30 year veterans of defense research and development, to develop the vehicle in the U.S. state of Maryland.”


Stupid party. “In 2013 Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal called on the GOP to ‘stop being the stupid party.’ A former Rhodes scholar with serious policy chops, he appeared perfectly positioned to elevate the discussion of ideas. Instead, Jindal has chosen to run in 2016 as the stupid party’s standard-bearer. As Jindal prepares to make his White House bid official on Wednesday, he is struggling to break the one percent mark in national polls. . . . A governor who reshaped his state by overhauling the education and Medicaid systems now hardly talks substance at all.”

Vote of no confidence. “Defense Secretary Ashton Carter says he’s not sure President Obama can accomplish one of the main goals he has had since he was elected: closing Guantanamo Bay. ‘I’m not confident, but I am hopeful. I think we’ll have a good proposal, and I think we’re hoping it wins the support that it needs in Congress so that we can move forward,’ Carter said . . . . Overall, Carter said he would like to get rid of the facility, nothing that it’s ‘very expensive for the Defense Department to operate Gitmo. I would prefer to not have that expense.’”


A Dilemma of a Deal.” US News contributor James S. Robbins argues, “Given the complex and interconnected nature of the various sanctions the United States has levied on Iran to date, it is critical for the White House to make clear exactly which sanctions are eligible for relief under the proposed nuclear deal – and provide a rationale for why this is the case.”

 “The five most important issues in U.S.-China relations.” Reuters contributor William Johnson explains, “The diplomatic community has expected previous dialogues to produce substantial agreements, but they have lower expectations for this round — due partly to recent difficulties in the relationship, as well as an inclination on both sides to save major announcements until President Xi’s state visit. I’ll briefly explain the significance of these five major issues. . . .”

Japan, South Korea cozy up.” Christian Science Monitor’s Editorial Board argues, “The US, with 80,000 troops in the two countries, cannot remain the main guardian of peace in the region forever. China’s aggression and North Korea’s nuclear weapons require other Asian nations to resolve their disputes. Japan and South Korea, by recalling that day a half-century ago when they rose above their past, may be on the right path.”

Michael Oren Is Wrong — There Has Always Been Daylight Between the US and Israel.” Defense One contributor Steven A. Cook argues, “U.S.-Israel relationship will likely continue to follow the same pattern it always has—close cooperation with periodic public recriminations—but because Oren and others have set out unrealistic expectations, the coming crises will no doubt be more harmful to the relationship in the long run.”


Letters home.

Give ‘til it hurts.

Get on with it.

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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.