Tuesday’s Top Ten


Cyber-master degrees. Contributor Jennifer Cary writes, “Cyber attacks are on the rise and more and more companies are turning to cybersecurity professionals to safeguard their important data. With such a high demand for trained professionals, those with bachelor’s degrees have their pick of jobs. And if you think that’s nice, consider the candidates with master’s degrees. . . . Check out these eight reasons you should consider getting your master’s degree in cybersecurity.”

Clearance frustrations.  Contributor Mako Hakamaa writes, “. . . some cases get done within days or weeks of the investigation getting closed, but then other cases languish in a black hole for months and even sometimes over a year. This is frustrating for clearance applicants who are trying to get a job, for facility security officers who are stuck in the middle between applicants and managers, and for recruiters who are trying to provide qualified candidates for job openings.”


Falluja fight. Reuters’ Stephan Kalin reports, “A senior Iraqi official has appealed to the U.S.-led coalition to air-drop food and medicine to tens of thousands of civilians trapped in Falluja, the Islamic State stronghold under siege by security forces. The city’s population is suffering from a shortage of food, medicine and fuel, according to residents reached by phone, and local media said several people had died due to starvation and insufficient medical care. Insecurity and poor communications inside the city make those reports difficult to verify.” See also, “Carpet-Bombing Is Not How You Defeat ISIS” and “Strikes, Indigenous Forces Grind Down ISIL.”

Taliban momentum. AP’s Lynne O’Donnell reports, “The Taliban suicide bombing against a bus carrying employees of Afghanistan’s biggest media company last month has shocked local journalists, who fear they are now in the cross hairs of an increasingly lethal insurgency. . . . Calling it ‘a watershed moment,’ he said the Taliban now equate attacks on media with ‘any other military operations they’ve done and taken credit for – and the implications are chilling.’”

Al Qaeda takes Azzan. Vice News’ Avi Asher-Schapiro reports, “Al Qaeda militants just captured the Yemeni city of Azzan, the latest sign that the group is capitalizing on the chaos wrought by nearly a year of bloody multi-sided civil war. . . . On Monday, security officials and residents reported that local militiamen defending the city retreated in the face of an al Qaeda advance. By midday on Monday, fighters with al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) had set up security checkpoints around the town and the group’s black flag could be seen on government buildings.”

FARC’s fight finished. Homeland Security News Wire reports, “Colombia’s president Juan Manuel Santos said in an interview that he would like the United States to remove the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), a Marxist rebel group, which had fought successive Colombian governments since the early 1960s, from the U.S. list of terrorist organizations. He also said he would ask the U.S. authorities to suspend drug warrants against FARC commanders if a deal is finally signed to bring to an end the country’s five-decade civil war.” See also, “Female fighters who strike fear in the hearts of Colombian troops.”

USAF budget preview. Defense News’ Lara Seligman reports, “In crafting this year’s budget request, the US Air Force must thread the needle between keeping up with the current air campaign and preparing for the future battlefield. . . . Meanwhile, Air Force modernization programs may face cuts. President Obama is set to submit a budget that is $15 billion less than the Pentagon hoped to have, a reduction that will likely come from the equipment, rather than personnel, side of the house.”


Corrupt contracting: Cmdr. Misiewicz pleads guilty. Government Executive’s Charles S. Clark reports, “Six years after the launch of an investigation into an Asia-based contractor bribery scheme that cost the Navy $20 million, a Navy commander pleaded guilty to accepting illegal cash, gifts, travel, entertainment and prostitution services . . . . He accepted gifts from contractor Glenn Defense Marine Asia from 2011-2013 in exchange for classified ship and submarine schedules that contained information related to the Navy’s ballistic missile defense operations in the Pacific . . . .”

Minutemen missile upgrades.  Military & Aerospace Electronics Editor John Keller reports, “Strategic weapons experts at the Boeing Co. will continue upgrading and maintaining the missile guidance systems on the U.S. fleet of Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) under terms of a $15.6 million U.S. Air Force contract modification . . . . Officials of the Air Force Nuclear Weapon Center at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, are asking the Boeing Directed Energy & Strategic Systems segment at Hill Air Force Base for ICBM guidance subsystem support.”


FIVE EYES minus one. Homeland Security News Wire reports, “Canada’s Communications Security Establishment (CSE), the country electronic signals intelligence agency, said it has stopped sharing intelligence with several close international partners after disclosing it had illegally collected the communication metadata of Canadian citizens in the process of eavesdropping on foreign communications. . . . CSE said it had suspended its sharing of metadata with its Five Eyes intelligence partners — Australia, Britain, New Zealand, and the United States — until it finds a fix to the problem.” See also, “Suspicions of domestic surveillance.”

Encryption landscape evolution. Also from Homeland Security News Wire, “A new report examines the high-profile debate around government access to encryption, and offers a new perspective gleaned from the discussion, debate, and analyses of an exceptional and diverse group of security and policy experts from academia, civil society, and the U.S. intelligence community. The report takes issue with the usual framing of the encryption debate and offers context and insights that widen the scope of the conversation more accurately to reflect the surveillance landscape both now and in the future.” Read the report, “Don’t Panic: Making Progress on the ‘Going Dark’ Debate.”

Drone eagles. Wired’s Brian Barrett reports, “Law enforcement in the Netherlands has apparently partnered with a ‘raptor-training company’ called Guard From Above to teach eagles to identify drones, snatch them out of the sky, and fly them somewhere away from the public. It’s exactly the kind of protection you would expect from a bird of prey and symbol of patriotic vim. If it seems silly or stunt-like, keep in mind that more conventional drone containment methods aren’t much better.”


Stepping out. “They came to Washington from places like Frog Jump, Tennessee; Sherwood, Wisconsin; and Kinderhook, New York, looking to turn Congress on its head. The House Republican class of 2010 — 63 farmers, small-business owners and state legislators — made John Boehner speaker, drove Democrats into the political wilderness and drastically changed the trajectory of Barack Obama’s presidency. But now, much of that class is leaving the House behind.”

Punch drunk. “Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), seeking to protect his majority in a tough cycle for Republicans, is leaning toward holding back several measures that have bipartisan support but are divisive in his conference. McConnell . . . is under pressure from some in his conference to take action this year on a sweeping Pacific Rim trade deal, criminal justice reform legislation and an authorization for the use of military force (AUMF) against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). . . . McConnell is likely to take the safe route and not advance any bills that divide his ­conference.”


Could your dream job be a nightmare? Fast Company contributor Lisa Rabasca Roepe writes, “You’re offered your dream job at the company you always aspired to work at, doing exactly what you’ve always wanted to do, and at an amazing salary. But there’s a problem: You have concerns about the office culture and whether you will fit in. Do you take the job and hope for the best, or turn it down? Here’s what six recruiters say.”

US role in ending a Central American war.” Christian Science Monitor’s Editorial Board argues, “The ultimate solution in El Salvador is to win over gang members who have not committed violent crimes with legal opportunities in politics, education, and the economy. The war on gangs is not working. And the spillover into the US is a signal for the country to step up its role.”

Bring the Troops Home—From Sinai.” Defense One contributor Matthew Leatherman argues, “Anachronistic deployments like this one burden our troops, and our taxpayers, with unnecessary cost. And this inertia is about to drag us and our soldiers into an entirely new fight.”


Career switch.

Stereotypes crushed.

Dusty trails.

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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.