Friday Finale & This Time Last Year: Petraeus’ End, Sequestration and Security, Taking Back Tikrit


Just tell the truth. Contributor and in-house counsel Sean Bigley advises, “The reality is that it is illegal and unethical for any attorney (or any non-attorney, for that matter) to assist someone in the making of a false statement to the government.  In other words, an applicant who intends to lie during his or her polygraph – and seeks help in doing it – is not only risking prosecution for the lie, but also risks taking down anyone who assisted in furtherance of it.”

Emotional exercise. Contributor Chandler Harris writes, “The old adage that before your judge someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes, points to the fact that we often don’t know what drives the actions of other people.  So when a co-worker, boss, friend, telemarketer upsets you, try to examine the situation from that person’s perspective.”


N. Korea flexing. Reuters’ Jack Kim reports, “North Korean leader Kim Jong Un ordered his country to be ready to use its nuclear weapons at any time and the military to be in ‘pre-emptive attack’ mode in the face of growing threats from its enemies . . . . North Korea, known for belligerent rhetoric, has previously threatened pre-emptive attacks on its enemies, including South Korea and the United States. Military experts doubt it has yet developed the capability to fire a long-range missile with a miniaturised warhead to deliver a nuclear weapon as far as the United States.” See also, “N. Korea . . . makes nuclear threat.”

South China Sea buildup. Time’s Hannah Beech reports, “China has stationed surface-to-air missiles on a contested island in the South China Sea and is expanding its footprint in the waterway through energetic island-building. . . . the spokesperson for China’s National People’s Congress, the legislature that will begin its annual meeting on March 5, placed the blame on the U.S. for escalating tensions in a marine expanse through which more than $5 trillion in trade passes through each year.” See also, “U.S. Proposes Reviving Naval Coalition to Balance China’s Expansion” and “The U.S. and India are deepening military ties — and China is watching.”

Syrian cease fire. The Christian Science Monitor’s Howard LaFranchi reports, “The cease-fire in Syria’s brutal five-year-old civil war has mostly put a halt to the fighting and bombardments, is allowing humanitarian aid to reach starving populations in rebel-held territory, and has paved the way to a resumption of peace talks March 9. Those are the pluses. But the cessation of hostilities negotiated by the United States and Russia last month has also come at a high price from the perspective of the US and the opposition it purports to support: The truce has the effect of solidifying Bashar al-Assad’s once-shaky hold on power and essentially recognizes him and his regime as the most powerful and viable Syrian entity in the country.” See also, “Russia, Syria triggered refugee crisis to destabilize Europe: NATO commander.”


Aurora wins VTOL contract. Military & Aerospace Electronics Editor John Keller reports, “Engineers from Aurora Flight Sciences in Manassas, Va., have been selected to develop and flight-test the DARPA VTOL X-Plane high-speed vertical takeoff-and-landing (VTOL) aircraft with the hover capability of a helicopter that can fly nearly 50 percent faster than the Boeing V-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft. . . .”

DoD’s global IT call. Nextgov’s Frank Konkel reports, “The Pentagon is accepting bids on its $17.5 billion Encore III contract, which will provide global IT services to military branches and defense agencies over at least the next five years. The Defense Information Systems Agency – the Pentagon’s IT arm – released the final request for proposals late Wednesday after a lengthy pre-solicitation process and slips in the release date, as officials made final determinations about the services it should provide.”


CIA’s job one. NBC News’ Ken Dilanian reports, “Former CIA officers are expressing exasperation over CIA director John Brennan’s recent remark that ‘we don’t steal secrets.’ . . . John Maguire, a retired CIA officer who led operations in Baghdad, told NBC News that Brennan’s comments ‘make the U.S. look dumb.’ ‘Every aspect of what the CIA does overseas is illegal,’ he said. ‘We don’t ‘solicit’ secrets — we steal them. What does he call breaking into an embassy? It’s absurd on its face.’”

Bug bounties. Nextgov’s Aliya Sternstein reports, “Challenged by hackers and staffing shortages, the Pentagon is inviting plainclothes techies to a competition where they can poke around military code for security bugs. The idea is to find and fix vulnerabilities unknowingly inserted in software before the bad guys do.”

Lighter and better. Defence Talk reports, “The Army’s been focused on lightening the load carried by Soldiers for some time now, in both equipment and protective gear. The effort has benefited Soldiers in combat units — and it will benefit the female Soldiers who will join combat units in the future . . . . With new protective equipment, the Army has looked at the torso portion, which features hard armor, as well as the extremities protection, which features soft armor. Changes were made to be more form-fitting.”


Defense industry win. “House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry said Thursday that lawmakers are considering boosting defense spending by $18 billion next year to pay for overseas military needs that are underfunded in the current budget. Thornberry also raised the possibility of a supplemental spending bill next year to provide the military with the funds needed to fight the threat of the Islamic State and Russian military aggression in Europe.”

Grassley gives. “The White House sees Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley’s willingness to meet with a potential Supreme Court nominee as a crack in the GOP leadership’s decision to block consideration of any high court pick this year. White House deputy press secretary Eric Schultz on Thursday highlighted the Iowa Republican’s willingness to meet with a potential nominee, something Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has said he will refuse to do.”


Could peace talks help defuse N. Korea? AP’s Eric Talmadge argues, “With few good options and other priority foreign policy issues on its plate, Washington under President Barack Obama has exercised ‘strategic patience – essentially refusing direct talks while keeping the sanctions pressure high and bolstering relations with U.S. allies in the region.”

How NATO Can Disrupt Russia’s New Way of War.” Defense One contributor Bret Perry argues, “. . . since no single platform or system provides a silver-bullet solution to hybrid warfare, the U.S. and its NATO partners must explore developing new operating concepts . . . .”

The Syrian war will define the decade.” Reuter’s contributor Peter Apps argues, “A deal over Syria would perhaps be the most positive sign that the world could overcome its myriad growing challenges and confrontations. Failing to do so, however, might point to even worse things to come.”

The key hope in sanctions.” The Christian Science Monitor’s Editorial Board argues, “Sanctions would be more effective if they were seen as less of a stick and more as a carrot. The prospect of lifting sanctions plays to the desire of a country’s people to join the international community and practice its civilized ways.”

Measuring Emotional Intelligence.” Fast Company’s Harvey Deutschendorf writes, “Emotional intelligence involves self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills. In other words, it’s a complicated amalgam that hiring managers have a hard time testing for. As a result, many fall back on gut instincts and subjective impressions.”



Good dog


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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.