Hump Day Highlights


Continuous clearance monitoring. “If you’ve ever bought a house, you know the importance of your credit score – that simple score can make the difference in what kind of loan you’ll qualify for and how much house you can buy. For security clearance holders, your ‘integrity score’ may become equally important when it comes to your ability to stay on the job.”

Retirement ready. “ If you’re 10 years into your federal service job, you’re probably going to skip this article . . . . Believe it or not, having 10 years of service is a great time to start planning your retirement. In fact, having six months of service is a great time to start planning your retirement. So before you get sidetracked by another article, take a few minutes to read the seven retirement tips . . . .”


Scaparrotti takes EUCOM. “As he stepped down as America’s top commander in Europe on Tuesday, retiring Air Force General Philip Breedlove recalled how he began his career more than three decades ago trying to keep the peace during the Cold War with the Soviet Union. . . . Breedlove turned over European Command to Army General Curtis Scaparrotti, ending an era during which the straight-talking general helped transform U.S. and NATO planning in Europe after Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014.” (Voice of America) See also, “Q&A with Gen. Philip Breedlove.”

Settling in for the long war with ISIS. “The combat death of an American Navy SEAL in Iraq shows that despite recent gains against the Islamic State in Iraq, ‘this fight is far from over,’ U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter . . . . Carter has placed a high priority on drawing coalition members more deeply into the counter-IS campaign, stressing the threat posed by allowing the extremists to spread their influence.” (AP) See also, “Counter-ISIL Defense Ministers Meeting in Germany” and “Navy Seal Killed In Iraq Was Close To Disgraced Grandfather.”

The Middle East as cradle of war. “A Pan-European Task Force on Cooperation in Greater Europe, including former foreign and defence ministers from Russia, Turkey, the UK, Poland, Ukraine, and France has expressed its concern over the danger that the Syrian crisis could develop into an interstate conflict. . . . an accident, military incident or an unauthorised action could spark a direct military confrontation between the external states involved (including Russia, the United States, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the UK) in the absence of effective communication channels.” (European Leadership Network) Read the full paper, Countering the threats from the Middle East. See also, “Syria conflict: How does Russia view the endgame?” and “Carter Blasts Russia.”


GSA’s new Transformation Technology Service. “GSA is staking its claim as the government’s technology innovation center with the creation of a new business line: the Technology Transformation Service. The new business line will continue the work being done at GSA’s two primary innovation arms: the Presidential Innovation Fellows and 18F, part of the Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies. Those groups have been focused on promoting ideas like agile development, open source — both as consumers and producers — and user-centric design.” (Federal Times)

Raytheon’s next-gen Multi-Spectral Targeting System. “The U.S. Air Force awarded Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN) a $90 million first-lot production contract for the next-generation Multi-Spectral Targeting System. The AN/DAS-4, the latest variant of the MTS™ family of sensors, incorporates greater fire control and Target Location Accuracy technology for precise coordinates.” (Aerospace and Defense News)


Quantum qubits algorithm offense. “True quantum computers may be powerful enough to steamroll today’s cybersecurity protections, government researchers warn. Quantum computing, which relies on ‘qubits’ that occupy more simultaneous states than the ‘bits’ used in classical computing, could break through algorithms designed to protect sensitive data online . . . .” (Nextgov) See also, “NIST launches effort to develop cryptography that can secure data in a quantum computing environment.”

NSA begins spying on itself at home. “The US National Security Agency aims to keep a tab on its own staff and their personal computers when out of working hours to ensure they are not participating in illegal activities, including downloading child pornography, or leaking classified information.” See also, “Feds Have Found ‘Unbelievable’ Amounts Of Child Porn On National Security Computers,” “NSA to Spy On Own Employees Everywhere, All the Time,” and “NSA to spy on its own staff off-the-clock.”

CIA’s for keeping 9/11 secrets secret. “John Brennan, the director of the CIA, has said that the 28-page secret section of the 9/11 Commission Report which details Saudi Arabian funding for the attacks, contains ‘uncorroborated, un-vetted’ information and should not be released. Brennan expressed his strong preference for keeping the secret section from the public domain for fear of fueling unfounded rumors and speculations.” (Homeland Security News Wire)


Iran’s California hello. “Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said Iran has given “the diplomatic finger” to Washington with its behavior since the international nuclear agreement took effect. ‘All their behavior since the agreement—holding the two American ships, jailing Americans, firing missiles in violation of U.N. resolutions—here’s what the ayatollah and his buddies are telling us: You misjudged us,’ Graham, an ardent critic of the nuclear pact, said . . . . ‘They’re basically giving Obama the diplomatic finger.’”

No enduring combat ops. “White House spokesman Josh Earnest insisted Tuesday that the decision to deploy troops to Iraq and Special Forces units to Syria doesn’t mean the Obama administration has moved into a phase of ‘enduring combat operations.’ That phrase is what the administration used to describe the situation it inherited in Iraq, when 144,000 U.S. troops were on the ground there. Obama pledged a different strategy and his deployments to Iraq and Syria reflect that, Earnest said.”


No, dictatorship in Iraq is not the answer.” “Iraq has many problems, and there are fixes to the system that could promote better governance. . . . Reverting to dictatorship, however, will not now resolve that problem; only time will, as Iraqis recognize that ethnic chauvinism and/or Islamism don’t resolve Iraq’s very real structural and financial woes.” (American Enterprise Institute)

Is this Iraq’s last and best chance to reform itself? “If the Iraqi state fails in this last, best chance to reform itself, its collapse will signal that in Syria and Iraq, the heart of the Arab world, a political black hole will take the place of sane governance into the medium term. And that would amount to a geopolitical tragedy, indeed.” (Al Arabiya)

The ‘bad boy’ cleric poised to be Iraq’s next kingmaker.” “Sadr started out as a militia leader, with the populist appeal and credibility that comes from being heir to a family of martyrs. He then turned himself into one of Iraq’s most effective politicians. . . . Now, the renegade cleric is once again poised to command the Shi’ite street, and to become a kingmaker in Iraq.” (Reuters)


The big red one . . .

Time to choose

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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.