Hump Day Highlights


Jobs aplenty in defense. Contributor Chandler Harris reports, “The aerospace and defense sector is expected to add 39,000 jobs in 2016, reversing a five year trend of job losses, according to Deloitte’s U.S. Aerospace & Defense Labor Market Study. . . . for 2016, an increase of $13 billion to the Pentagon’s budget will increase employment by an estimated 3.7 percent this year, or add about 31,267 additional jobs.”

GI Bill decision. Contributor Ron Kness writes, “You’ve decided you want to use your GI Bill to further your education once out of the military, but have you considered all of the education options available?  And if you have more than one GI Bill, which one is the best to use?  It can make a difference based on the education option you choose. To get started, let’s look at three types of the most common education institutions . . . .”


Cessation of hostilities. Reuters’ Tom Perry and Patricia Zengerle report, “The government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and rebel groups accepted a plan for a cessation of hostilities to begin on Saturday and the United States warned it would be hard to hold the country together if the fighting did not stop. With hostilities reported on several fronts, rebels backed by Saudi Arabia expressed doubts about the proposal, which excludes attacks by the Syrian army and its Russian backers on the jihadist groups Islamic State and the al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front.”

Antagonizing ops. Defense One’s Marcus Weisgerber reports, “Washington’s allies could soon join the U.S. military in sending naval ships and warplanes near China’s now-militarized man made islands in the South China Sea . . . . Adm. Harry Harris, commander of U.S. Pacific Command, said America’s allies in the region have been supportive of the Pentagon’s ships and planes that have sailed and flown through the region over the past year.” See also, “Army May Deploy Mobile Artillery Near South China Sea.”

Propaganda battles. AP’s Foster Klug and Tong-Hyung report, “North Korea’s description of South Korea’s president as an ‘old, insane bitch’ destined for violent death may take the rivals’ hateful propaganda battle to a new level of hostility, which is saying something for neighbors with such a long, bloody history of hating each other’s guts.”

Closing Gitmo. Christian Science Monitor’s Henry Gass reports, “Mr. Obama submitted a plan to Congress Tuesday detailing how his administration would close the infamous detention center, which now holds 91 people, down from 242 when he took office. It also outlines the accelerated transfer of some detainees overseas and moving between 30 and 60 detainees to the US.” See also, “DoD Submits Guantanamo Closure Plan to Congress.

Training ISIS in Afghanistan. The Long War Journal’s Bill Roggio reports, “The Islamic State’s “Khorasan province,” which is comprised of followers in Afghanistan and Pakistan, promoted yet another of its training camps in the region. The Islamic State showcased the training of dozens of fighters from the ‘Abu Bakr al Siddiq Battalion,’ according to the SITE Intelligence Group, which obtained and translated the video. The Abu Bakr al Siddiq Battalion has not been previously identified in the Afghan-Pakistan region.”


Recompeting ITS contracts. Federal Times’ Jill Aitoro reports, “As Mary Davie describes it, almost every contract program under her purview at the Office of Integrated Technology Services is going through an evolution—‘we might say, up for recompete’ . . . . But these are not recompetes in the traditional sense. The contracts are not expiring. Instead, GSA is looking at where the market is going, what agencies need to buy, and filling in holes.”

GD’s rail gun win. The Motley Fool’s Rich Smith reports, “Defense contractor General Dynamics (NYSE:GD) is due to deliver the Lyndon B. Johnson to the Navy by 2018. Testing the railgun aboard the Millinocket was supposed to begin in 2017, though, and continue for as long as a year. Any hiccup in the scheduling could delay installation aboard the Lyndon B. Johnson, and deprive America’s most advanced warship of perhaps its most lethal weapon — a Mach 7 cannon capable of hurtling projectiles out to strike targets 100 miles distant.”


Spy confessions. The Daily Beast’s Shane Harris reports, “In his new memoir, released today, Hayden provides his first detailed account of the creation of the program in the days after the 9/11 attacks, on orders of President George W. Bush, and an internal debate that saw top U.S. law enforcement officials threaten to resign.”

Building agile organizations. Nextgov contributor Bill Haight writes, “It seems that every IT organization in the world is talking about agile. Organizations need to be more agile, use agile project management, adopt agile methodologies – but what does agile really mean? And why is it important to government?”

Rat mine sensors. AP’s Dennis D. Gray reports, “It’s been a busy morning for Cletus, Meynard, Victoria and others of their furry band. Tiny noses and long whiskers twitching, they’ve scurried and sniffed their way across 775 square meters (8,300 square feet) of fields to eliminate a scourge that has killed thousands of Cambodians: land mines.”


As long as it doesn’t involve work. “The Republican-led U.S. Senate on Tuesday ruled out taking action on any nominee put forth by President Barack Obama to the Supreme Court in a political power move intended to thwart his ability to change the court’s ideological balance. . . . McConnell, a Republican nemesis of Obama during the president’s seven years in office, said he even would refuse the standard courtesy of meeting with whomever Obama chooses.” See also, “Unexpected twist in Senate move to ignore Scalia nominee.”

It involves work; it’ll never work. “The Pentagon on Tuesday said it’s up to Congress to figure out a number of details about how Guantanamo Bay can be closed as lawmakers blasted the administration’s plan for its lack of specifics. After the Pentagon released its plan to close Gitmo, press secretary Peter Cook said Congress will have the ‘ultimate say’ in whether and how Gitmo closes, including which site the department selects for detaining the prisoners who can’t be released.”


Central Americans May Be Ready for Their Own Arab Spring.” Defense One contributor Danielle Renwick explains how “The spread of gangs, the U.S. narcotics trade, and rampant corruption are major factors contributing to mass migration and alarmingly high levels of violence.”

 “Pentagon is playing catchup with Russia and China.” Reuters contributor David Axe argues, “[T]he time for a new class of U.S. anti-ship weapons has finally arrived. If done right, they will help Washington blow the competition out of the water before they even know what’s coming.”

Russia may be a smart business partner for Israel.” Reuters contributor Josh Cohen argues, “Given ongoing tension between Israel and the Obama administration, it’s not the worst thing for Israel to continue expanding its relationships with other major powers such as Russia, China or India.”

 “Trust, Apple, and the First Amendment.” Lawfare contributor Andrew Keane Wood argues, “Apple might establish a First Amendment claim if they can convince a court that digitally signing new software is an expressive act that signals a particular value or belief – and that, I think, might require a court to evaluate the role of trust in a cryptographic system.” See also, “FBI Has Asked Apple To Unlock As Many As 17 iPhones In Last 4 Months,” “An analogy to understand the FBI’s request of Apple,” and “The Lowdown on the Apple-FBI Showdown.”


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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.