Hump Day Highlights  


Freelance options. Contributor Peter Suciu writes, “The freelance workplace could be not only be the future for many, but it could mean good news for those freelancers who seek employment – whether it be for short term jobs or semi-long term positions that still offer the overall freedom and flexibility that comes from being an independent.”

Resourcing resolution. Editor Lindy Kyzer writes, “As a passive-candidate hunter, you’re on the look-out for problems to solve. One of the best ways to gather that intel? Reach out to your entire talent pipeline and ask them what their New Year’s Resolutions are. . . . [B]y understanding your talent pipeline’s goals for 2016, you’ll have a reason to reach out months down the road.”


The Islamic coalition. Christian Science Monitor’s Howard LaFranchi reports, “[A]s encouraging as the new coalition and the rhetoric around it may sound, the effort may end up as little more than window dressing. The announcement may be aimed at assuaging a world that after the Paris and San Bernardino attacks is demanding action by Muslims against the rising Islamist terrorist threat, some terrorism analysts say.”

AQ in Afghanistan. The Long War Journal’s Bill Roggio reports, “The Department of Defense asserts in its biannual Enhancing Security and Stability in Afghanistan report, which was released today, that al Qaeda is largely confined to the east and northeast. The military also claims that Pakistani military operations in North Waziristan over the past year, and not orders from Osama bin Laden that date back to 2010, caused al Qaeda leaders to be ‘displaced into Afghanistan.’ Read the report: Enhancing Security and Stability in Afghanistan. See also, “Afghan Security Worse in Second Part of 2015.”

Ash Carter on ISIS. Reuters’ Yeganeh Torbati reports, “U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter arrived in Baghdad on Wednesday for talks with U.S. military commanders, seeking ways to intensify the fight against Islamic State militants. Carter said earlier, at the start of his trip to the Middle East, that he would be speaking to commanders to ‘get their latest reading on the battlefield situation and also very importantly their thinking about ways that we can continue to accelerate the campaign to defeat ISIL’.” See also, “Carter Calls for More Global Cooperation to Defeat ISIL” and “France uses first cruise missiles against ISIS.”

Sinjar: ripe for revenge. AP’s Balint Szlanko reports, “After Kurdish forces and Yazidi militants backed by U.S.-led airstrikes drove the extremist group from the town last month, there were widespread reports of vandalism and the looting of Muslim homes. Many Sunni Muslim residents have yet to return, saying they fear revenge attacks. . . . Many of the displaced say they feel trapped between IS and the Yazidis, both of which view them as traitors.”

Missile play: Iran breaks the ban. Reuters’ Louis Charbonneu reports, “Iran violated a U.N. Security Council resolution in October by test-firing a missile capable of delivering a nuclear warhead, a team of sanctions monitors said, leading to calls in the U.S. Congress on Tuesday for more sanctions on Tehran. The White House said it would not rule out additional steps against Iran over the test of the medium-range Emad rocket.” See also, “Pakistan test-fires second missile in three days.”


Lockheed’s top three. Motley Fool contributor Katie Spence reports, “With literally thousands of defense contracts out there, it can be hard to keep track of which are the most important for each company. But considering these contracts have a fairly significant impact on each company’s bottom line, keeping an eye on a company’s biggest defense contracts is a wise move. So to help with that, here are the three most important defense contracts for Lockheed Martin. . . . .” See also, “Lockheed Receives $1.1 Billion Contract for PAC-3 Missiles.”

Abaco Systems wins Spearfish contest.  Military & Aerospace Electronics Editor John Keller reports, “Torpedo designers at BAE Systems needed rugged embedded computing to control the United Kingdom Royal Navy submarine-launched Spearfish heavyweight torpedo. They found their solution from Abaco Systems (formerly GE Intelligent Platforms) in Huntsville, Ala. Officials of the BAE Systems Maritime Services business in Portsmouth, England, have place $11.5 million in orders with Abaco Systems for rugged embedded computing within the electronic system computer unit (ESCU) that controls the Spearfish torpedo in deployment . . . .”


ISIS hack ahead. Nextgov’s Aliya Sternstein reports, “The new cybersecurity adviser hired by the Office of Personnel Management after a Chinese-originated hack says he expects ISIS may ultimately pierce the agency’s systems, too. . . . Clifton Triplett—named OPM’s first-ever senior cyber and information technology adviser last month—says forthcoming access controls will blunt the severity of any future hack.”

Cyber-talent search. Nextgov’s Jack Moore reports, “Federal agencies face a rapidly approaching deadline to identify cybersecurity workforce shortages. . . . By Dec. 31, agencies are required to report to the White House the top five areas — network services, cyberthreat analysis, systems development, and others — where they lack sufficient personnel. . . . There are currently nearly 400 open information security positions posted on . . . . And those are just the open jobs specifically categorized as information security . . . .”


Compromise. “House and Senate lawmakers have reached an agreement on a $1.1 trillion spending and tax cut deal that will fund the government through 2016 and lift the decades-old ban on exporting crude oil. . . . ‘A lot of us feel like we didn’t get what we wanted, but we got some stuff that we did want,’ Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., said as he left the meeting.”

Green Christmas. “First daughters Malia and Sasha Obama won’t have any gift-wrapped presents under the Christmas tree this year, but that shouldn’t be a problem. ‘They don’t want me to waste my energy picking out something they don’t want so it’ll just be the money,’ first lady Michelle Obama told a patient at Children’s National Medical Center Monday when asked what she was giving her family. She also divulged what the president will find under the tree. . . .”


The United Nations Must Clamp Down on ISIS Oil Profits.” Defense One contributor Daniel Depetris argues, “Any unified effort from the international community should be welcomed, and the Dec. 17 meeting in New York certainly won’t hurt the war effort. Yet we must be cognizant of reality: the Security Council doesn’t have a lot of leverage over the situation. What leverage the body does have must be maximized to the greatest possible extent.”

Russia’s payback.” Reuters contributor Josh Cohen argues, “To be sure, calmer heads may still prevail, and Moscow-Ankara tensions will likely subside over time. Given that the Turks have fought and lost 17 wars against Russia since the 15th century, Ankara likely hopes this is the case.”

A Much Needed Post-Obama Course Correction on Iran.” US News contributor Lawrence J. Haas argues, “All told, Washington’s stance toward Tehran is fueling criticism from both parties, with leading figures questioning why Obama hasn’t responded forcefully to the missile tests and why anyone should trust Iran to fulfill the nuclear accord.”


Naughty list.

Opportunity seized.

PC awry.

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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.