Friday Finale & This Time Last Year: Rethinking Cyber Systems


Tracking Secret Squirrels. Editor Lindy Kyzer explains that “these elusive candidates are hard to find, and may be hard to vet using traditional social tools.”

Crafting cover letters. Contributor Julie Mendez reminds that “you will only get 6-10 seconds of a recruiter’s time, and you do not want them to spend all that time on your cover letter! You want them to flip the page and get them to check out your resume.”


Fallujah under siege. AP’s Sinan Salaheddin reports, “Since August, Iraqi government troops have tightened their grip around Fallujah – under IS control since the early days of 2014 – and have prevented the entry of food and medicine into the city. Those seeking to flee the city have sometimes found themselves trapped by the militants, who seek to retain Fallujah’s civilian population as human shields against a full-scale government assault.”

Going after ISIS’ enablers, but no end game. Vice News’ Ryan Faith reports, “IS was being squeezed and that progress was being made, but that it’s not over yet. Notably, all the attention right now seems to be on the parts of war that don’t actually involve shooting. This is generally what the military refers to as ‘enablers.’ Not the parts of the military that fight directly to take control of or hold territory, but all the components — logistics, communications, etc. — that make it possible for the military to fight.” See also, “Carter Details U.S. Strategy to Accelerate ISIL’s Defeat” and “Coalition’s campaign has seriously weakened ISIS financial position.”

Pyongyang’s a no-go on the missile range. Defense Update’s Tamir Eshel reports, “North Korea failed yesterday twice in its attempt to launch a Musudan intermediate range ballistic missile (IRBM). In the past two weeks Pyongyang failed three attempts to demonstrate the missile’s capability, adding to the frustration of North Korea leadership.” See also, “North Korean Missile Tests Fail.”


Emerging tech hunt in the Big Apple. Tandem NSI’s Michael Hoffman reports, “The Department of Homeland Security wants to unleash innovators and entrepreneurs in the New York City metropolitan area to work directly with first responders to see what type of emerging technologies could offer them an edge. DHS Science & Technology officials are planning the DHS S&T Urban Operational Experimentation for October 2016. The agency issued a Request For Information with application packages from interested companies due by 5 p.m. EST May 13.”

Seeking secure messaging. Govexec’s Mohana Ravindranath reports, “Through the Small Business Innovation Research Program, DARPA wants technology to separate out the creation, transfer, reception and eventual decryption of the content. It would rely on a ‘decentralized ledger’ to log and trace the transactions, ‘removing questions as to the authenticity and integrity of the data,’ and could be accessible via a web browser or a standalone app. Regulators with access to the ledger could verify that military interdepartmental purchase requests did not violate acquisition laws . . . .”


ICITE and the power of integrated intelligence. Defense One contributor Frank Konkel reports, “Driven by the Intelligence Community Information Technology Enterprise — or ICITE (pronounced ‘eyesight’) — the IC has been shoring up the same kinds of intelligence gaps that preceded the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. At its core, ICITE is all about moving IC agencies toward shared services, such as cloud computing and a common desktop environment.”

From deep inside CIA’s vaults. CIA’s blog reports, “Five years ago, the CIA declassified the US Government’s six oldest classified documents, dating from 1917 and 1918. These documents, which describe secret writing techniques and are housed at the National Archives, are believed to be the only remaining classified documents from the World War I era.”

NSA’s big data problem. Quartz’s Michael J. Coren reports, “Four years (pdf) of prompting by US senators Ron Wyden and Mark Udall to nail down the number of Americans whose phone calls and emails are being collected has produced little. The senators, along with colleagues, wrote an exasperated letter to Clapper on April 22 stating, ‘We are not asking you for an exact count. Today, our request is simply for a rough estimate.’”


Boehnered. “An irate Sen. Mike Lee on Thursday said he was ‘appalled’ by former House Speaker John Boehner’s comments about Ted Cruz being the devil, demanding an apology for the ‘horrible’ statement and attempting to leverage the incident into a victory in Indiana. . . . Lee, who is confrontational in his tactics but generally soft-spoken and deliberative in his remarks, called Boehner’s remarks ‘really vile stuff’ and said he had held his tongue for years out of respect for Boehner’s office as a powerful GOP leader.”

Incredible budget. “A lead hawk in the US House fired back at Defense Secretary Ash Carter on Thursday for his criticism of a House GOP plan to fund defense next year, saying the Pentagon’s top official has ‘lost total credibility’ on budget matters. House Armed Services Tactical AirLand Subcommittee Chairman Mike Turner, R-Ohio, made his pointed comments on a conference call with reporters Thursday, hours after an all-night session saw the House Armed Services Committee vote to send the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act to the full House.”


ISIS and the ‘Loser Effect.’ The Atlantic contributor Dominic Tierney argues, “ISIS is fighting not just to win, but also to define the meaning of victory.”

Be your own career coach.” Fast Company’s Gwen Moran writes, “While it can be enormously helpful to have a dedicated professional focused on helping you achieve your goals, there are a number of principles you can apply yourself in order to reap the rewards. Here are seven actions you can incorporate. . . .”


Icarus effect

On the couch


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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.