Hump Day Highlights


Talent multiplier. “External referral programs allow companies to tap into various facets of professional networks and their growing resources, including websites such as the ClearanceJobs Cleared Network. Using already built online networks has afforded Smartronix the appropriate environment to beta test its most recently developed recruiting technique. This unique idea to allow anyone to receive a referral bonus was developed to increase the number of eligible applicants.”

Clearance and foreign preference. “Possession of a current foreign passport is specifically listed in the Adjudication Guidelines as a potentially disqualifying condition, but it is left to the Adjudicative Desk Reference to discern how such possession raises the specter that the holder therefore has a legal obligation to, or preference for, the foreign country that could impact his loyalty to the United States.  Presumably, anyone who holds a passport of a foreign nation was able to obtain it because he or she is a citizen of that country.”


CIA’s ready to crack some Cold War books. “The CIA is planning to offer details about four previously undisclosed covert actions conducted during the Cold War . . . . The disclosures will be published in upcoming volumes of an official State Department compendium of documents, called the Foreign Relations of the United States series.” (The Hill)

SOCOM’s quest for the Tactical Light Operator Suit. “U.S. Special Operations Command is making progress researching, developing and testing a next-generation Iron Man-like suit designed to increase strength and protection and help keep valuable operators alive when they kick down doors and engage in combat . . . . The project, formally called Tactical Light Operator Suit, or TALOS, is aimed at providing special operators, such as Navy SEALs and Special Forces, with enhanced mobility and protection technologies . . . .” (Scout Warrior)

Hackers for hire. “With just a few million dollars and a phone number, you can snoop on any call or text that phone makes – no matter where you are or where the device is located. That’s the bold claim of Israel’s Ability Inc, which offers its set of bleeding-edge spy tools to governments the world over. And it’s plotting to flog its kit to American cops in the coming months.” (Forbes)

Psychology of secrecy. “The most difficult secrets to keep usually aren’t about good news—they’re the ones in which you become privy to a piece of information that has negative consequences, either for the person with the secret or for someone else. The simple reason why is that this type of secret creates social tension.” (Fast Company)


Cybersecurity boom. “A federal effort to clean up cyber practices may soon spur a boom in business for tech vendors. The Cybersecurity National Action Plan, released months after a large-scale hack exposed millions of individuals’ government background checks, proposes $19 billion in cyber investments as part of the President’s 2017 fiscal year budget. . . . The cyber plan also proposes a $3.1 billion revolving Information Technology Modernization Fund that agencies could use to fund updates to their internal systems and the appointment of the first federal chief information security officer.” (Nextgov)

Navy’s contractor bribery scandal. “Three current and former Navy officers have been indicted on charges of bribery, fraud and obstruction of justice in a prodigious scheme involving a contractor. . . . [the three] were charged on May 25 in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California on charges that they accepted bribes of prostitutes, hotel stays, meals and entertainment from Leonard Francis, former CEO of Singapore-based contractor Glenn Defense Marine Asia.” (Federal Times)

Boeing JDAMs full speed ahead. “The Air Force has boosted to $3.2 billion a contract with Boeing Co. for ‘smart bomb’ kits, a move designed in part to replenish a stockpile depleted from U.S. airstrikes against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. . . . The modification nearly doubles a previously existing contract for $1.7 billion ‘due to warfighter demand and to replenish depleted inventories’ of the U.S. and allies, it states. The work will take place in St. Louis.” (DoD Buzz)  


Fight for Fallujah rages. “The battle for Falluja has become entrenched outside the city itself. Iraqi forces surrounding the area have been bogged down by a fierce Islamic State counterattack. A few civilians managed to escape the city as the fighting closed in, but the status of tens of thousands still trapped there is an urgent question.” (The New York Times) See also, “Islamic State halts Iraqi army at gates of Falluja” and “What success would look like in Fallujah.”

ISIS of the future. “Thanks to the jihadi version of an Edward Snowden data dump, the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point now hosts documented evidence of who has joined the Islamic State’s ranks. When compared to other Islamic State foreign fighters estimates or to the last decade’s foreign fighter flows to Iraq, this new data shows that Europe’s foreign fighter recruitment rate is growing far faster than that of any other region.  The dangers of unaddressed foreign fighter facilitators and new foreign fighter currents spell trouble on the horizon.” (War on the Rocks)

NATO’s search for vision. “Despite the growing threats, many European countries still resist strong measures to strengthen NATO. Many remain reluctant to increase military spending, despite past pledges. Some, like Italy, are cutting back. France is reverting to its traditional skepticism toward the alliance, which it sees as an instrument of American policy and an infringement on its sovereignty.” (The New York Times)

Selling your secrets: no easy book. “The Justice Department has dropped a second criminal investigation into Matt Bissonnette, the former Navy SEAL who helped kill Osama bin Laden in May 2011 and later wrote a best-selling book about the secret operation. . . . Federal prosecutors had been scrutinizing consulting work that Bissonnette had done while still on active duty as a SEAL and whether it violated conflict of interest laws . . . .” (Washington Post)

DEA’s big sting. “With the encouragement of undercover DEA operatives who posed as members of a Colombian drug cartel, [Joseph Manuel] Hunter recruited an elite team of ex-military special forces members to carry out the hits and provide security for what they believed were multi-kilo cocaine shipments. Hunter and his men expected to receive $800,000 for the job, and they planned to use “highly sophisticated latex face masks” to disguise themselves during the killings.” (Vice News)


Hold on there, Holder. “President Obama does not agree with former Attorney General Eric Holder that NSA leaker Edward Snowden performed a public service . . . . ‘The president has had the opportunity to speak on this a number of times, and I think a careful review of his public comments would indicate that he does not,’ White House press secretary Josh Earnest said. . . . Obama has acknowledged the leaks played a role in spurring changes to government surveillance practices, but he has repeatedly said Snowden’s actions harmed national security.” (The Hill)

Boys club. “A group of male Republican senators is trying to strip out language in the Senate’s defense policy bill that would require women to register for the draft. Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, introduced an amendment to the fiscal 2017 National Defense Authorization Act late last week that would eliminate the section of the bill that requires all 18- to 26-year-old women to register with the Selective Service. . . . The proposal would also strip the courts up to and including the Supreme Court from issuing a decision on the case, ensuring the Congress has the final say on whether women would have to register.”

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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.