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Friday, October 21, 2016

Early Bird Brief: Duterte Aligns Philippines With China

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Oct 21, 2016    
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Good morning and welcome to the Early Bird Brief. Please send news tips and suggestions to:

Today's Top 5
1. Kurdish Forces Open Attack on Mosul From the North
(New York Times) The sounds of battle north of Mosul on Thursday morning told the story of how Islamic State fighters had chosen to meet a new Kurdish assault: the eruptions of suicide car bombs and roadside mines.
2. ISIS attacks Iraqi city of Kirkuk
(CNN) ISIS militants attacked several security buildings in the Iraqi city of Kirkuk, officials said, even as Iraqi and Kurdish forces battle the terror group for control of the second-largest city of Mosul.
3. Duterte aligns Philippines with China, says U.S. has lost
(Reuters) Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte announced his "separation" from the United States on Thursday, declaring he had realigned with China as the two agreed to resolve their South China Sea dispute through talks.
4. China deploys air force on disputed South China Sea island
(UPI) China confirmed it has stationed troops in the disputed Paracel Islands in the South China Sea.
5. Government alleges former NSA contractor stole 'astonishing quantity' of classified data over 20 years
(Washington Post) Federal prosecutors in Baltimore on Thursday said they will charge a former National Security Agency contractor with violating the Espionage Act, alleging that he made off with "an astonishing quantity" of classified digital and other data over 20 years in what is thought to be the largest theft of classified government material ever.


Overseas Operations
Mosul: Islamic State is 'a brutal opponent', says US general
(BBC) The so-called Islamic State (IS) group is "a brutal opponent" in the fight for Mosul, the head of coalition forces for Iraq and Syria has told the BBC.
What Is the Islamic State Without a State?
(The Atlantic ) Control of territory is at the core of ISIS ideology. But the group can outlast its recent losses.
Libya: five years on from the death of Gaddafi
(EuroNews) Five years on, Libya, like many others in the region, is plagued by radical Islamist militias, locked in a bitter power-struggle with the internationally recognised government, despite two general elections.
Iraqi special forces join Mosul offensive against ISIS
(Associated Press) Iraqi special forces charged into the Mosul battle Thursday with a pre-dawn advance on a nearby town held by the Islamic State group, a key part of a multi-pronged assault on eastern approaches to the besieged city.
(Video) The Road to Mosul: Embedded With the Iraqi Army
(ABC News) ABC News embeds with the Iraqi Army, reports from the front
American service member killed in Iraq
(Military Times) An American service member was killed in northern Iraq on Thursday, the fourth troop killed in combat since American forces returned to Iraq in 2014.
The Pentagon
Pentagon: A North Korean nuclear attack 'will be met with an overwhelming and effective response'
(Business Insider) Hours after North Korea launched its second missile test in the past week, US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter met with South Korea's minister of defense, Han Min Koo, at the Pentagon on Thursday.
Top military doctor says trend toward overweight troops is troubling
(Military Times) The growing ranks of overweight troops is a worrisome trend and the Defense Department should look for ways to help today's force live a healthier lifestyle, the Pentagon's top health official said Thursday.
Air Force
Extra pay approved for Turkey assignments
(Air Force Times) Active-duty airmen assigned to Turkey between Aug. 29, 2016, and Dec. 31, 2018, may be eligible for a new, $300-a-month Turkey Assignment Incentive Pay.
Air Force creates new office to crunch human capital data
(Federal New Radio) The Air Force is standing up a new human capital analytics office, hoping to make better use of the data it already has in order to help solve ongoing recruiting and retention challenges.


Air Force Chief Sees Decades of More War Operations
( The U.S. Air Force's top officer said he expects the high pace of war-related operations to continue for decades to come.
Technica gets $22 million U.S. Air Force cybersecurity contract
(UPI) Technica has been awarded a max-value $22 million U.S. Air Force cybersecurity contract, the company announced.
DoD identifies soldier, Army civilian killed in Afghanistan
(Army Times) The two Americans killed this week in Afghanistan have been identified as Sgt. Douglas Riney and Michael Sauro, the Defense Department announced late Thursday.
Army outlines path to transition for transgender soldiers
(Army Times) Now that transgender soldiers are allowed to serve openly in the Army, the service is rolling out its transition policy for those who hope to serve as their preferred gender.
The U.S. Army's New Strategy: Think Like the Enemy
(The National Interest) The idea is to fix vulnerabilities early in the developmental process before weapons are deployed by anticipating how enemies might attack.
U.S. Navy Orders DIY Laser-Guided Rocket Kits
(Popular Mechanics) The U.S. Navy has placed a $130 million order for Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS) conversion kits. These kits turn an ordinary 70-millimeter unguided rocket into a laser-guided missile, and all it takes is the installation of a simple screw-on guidance kit. The initial order could lead to a larger one worth a total of $600 million.
Kicking off Farewell Tour, SECNAV Ray Mabus Defends Record
(USNI News) On a self-described "sort of a thank-you tour," Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus told a crowd of Marines that changes implemented during his tenure have bettered and strengthened the Marine Corps and is preparing them for the unpredictable future operational environment.
Future USS Rafael Peralta completes alpha trials
(UPI) The future USS Rafael Peralta (DDG 115) has successfully completed alpha trials, the sea service announced Wednesday.
Marine Corps
Police widening investigation of Marine arrested for child sexual assault
(Marine Corps Times) Investigators in New Jersey are looking into whether a Marine recruiter accused of touching himself inappropriately while calling out to three young children may have been involved in other such incidents, according to the Union County Prosecutor.
Marine Corps Hosting Rapid Prototyping Event To Advance Ship-to-Shore Maneuver
(USNI News) The Marine Corps has not evolved its ship-to-shore maneuver tactics nearly as much as it has its air and ground operations to keep up with threats and technology development, and the service hopes to change that through an innovative rapid prototyping effort to quickly hash through potential game-changing technologies.
Coast Guard
In the Water with the Elite Rescuers of the U.S. Coast Guard
(Outside Magazine) It's fascinating to think that a multi-million dollar helicopter and rescue swimmer, wearing just a pair of fins, work together to accomplish the same mission. It is a highly specialized pairing of man and machine. But the most important part of the story is how rescue swimmers train to do their jobs in the worst conditions, all in an effort "so others may live," the USCG rescue swimmer motto.
National Guard
450 National Guard members mobilized for the Middle East
(Stars & Stripes) More than 450 soldiers of the Virginia and Maryland National Guard are slated for a deployment to the Middle East, Guard officials said Wednesday.
Defense Industry
New L-CAT Amphibious Craft Being Offered
(Defense News) Designers expanded on the L-CAT ship-to-shore design to create an L-CAT shore-to-shore design with a bigger hull able to accommodate more personnel and provide improved seakeeping.
Thales-Led Team Gets $164 Million Deal For Anglo-French Naval Mine-Hunting Drone
(Defense News) Britain and France today awarded a contract worth some €150 million ($164 million) to Thales, leader of an Anglo-French industrial team that will build two prototype unmanned mine hunting units under the bilateral Maritime Mine Counter Measures project.
Northrop Grumman gets $35 million MQ-25 drone support contract
(UPI) Northrop Grumman has received a $35 million contract to conduct risk reduction activities in support of the U.S. Navy's MQ-25 Stingray drone.
Avio Space sold by UK fund
(Defense News) After 10 years of ownership by a UK fund, Italian space launcher maker Avio Space is to fall once again under Italian control.
Textron Begins a Limited Production Run of Scorpion Jet, But No Contract Yet
(Defense News) Textron AirLand has begun a limited production run of its Scorpion jet in advance of a first flight later this year, its chief executive officer announced Thursday.
EB ramps up focus on hiring, retaining military veterans
(New London Day) For Electric Boat, the hiring of military veterans is anything but an act of charity. It's a necessity, and it's sure to become a bigger one as the submarine builder grapples with the demands of Navy contracts EB's been awarded in recent years.
Northrop Grumman Awarded Extension for Support of British Sentry Fleet
(Defense News) Northrop Grumman has signed a nine-year extension to a deal with the British Royal Air Force (RAF) to support its fleet of Sentry E-3D airborne early warning aircraft.
India's Defense Acquisition Council Clears Ultralight Howitzers Purchase From US
(Defense News) India's Defence Acquisition Council, headed by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, has cleared the purchase from the US of 145 M777 ultralight howitzers through the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) route.
Textron's Scorpion jet completes first weapons exercise
(UPI) Textron AirLand's Scorpion jet has successfully completed its first weapons exercise, the company announced Thursday.
Italy's New Centauro II Tank Shown Off in Rome
(Defense News) Italy's new tank, the Centauro II, was shown off at a military test range Wednesday, as the country's Parliament continued to decide whether to fund the vehicle.
Army veteran carries skeleton soldier as reminder
(Army Times) Army veteran John Newcomb is carrying a skeleton on his back, but it has nothing to do with Halloween.
Congress & Politics
Here are the biggest defense topics the presidential debates skipped
(Military Times) Over the course the three presidential debates, the two major party candidates covered a long list of policy and political topics, including rebuilding the U.S. military, fighting terrorism and handling Russian aggression.
Donald Trump's Election Threat Sickens the Pentagon
(Daily Beast) Democracy and the peaceful transfer of power is what the U.S. military is sworn to protect, so some in the Pentagon are furious at the potential command in chief's tyrannical talk.
Why a big Hillary Clinton win might not doom Republicans in Congress
(MarketWatch) Even if Donald Trump loses to handily to Hillary Clinton as polls imply, Republicans are not doomed to suffer big losses in Congress.
GOP lawmaker: Move to oust Ryan grows over speaker's tepid support of Trump
(CNN) The conservative Republican congressman who led the charge to oust former Speaker John Boehner is now agitating for the removal of his replacement.
National Security and Intelligence
US Election, Presidential Transition Will Be 'OK,' Intelligence Chief Says
(Voice of America) Growing concerns about the contentious U.S. presidential race, fueled by doubts about the candidates' qualifications and even their own rhetoric, have not gone unnoticed by the U.S. intelligence community.
Clapper calls Russia hacking a 'new aggressive spin on the political cycle'
(Politico) Director of National Intelligence James Clapper on Thursday called Russia's alleged hacking and interference with the U.S. election a "new aggressive spin on the political cycle."
Crusaders' Member Alerted FBI to Group Accused in Kansas Plot Targeting Somalis
(NBC News) An anti-Muslim militia group in Kansas calling itself "The Crusaders" first came to the government's attention when one of its members, alarmed by the heightening talk of violence, contacted FBI agents and became a confidential source, prosecutors said.
Cybersecurity, Space and Surveillance
Survey shows millennials fall for cyber scams more often than seniors
(The Next Web) Millennials aren't as savvy online as they might lead on. A new survey found that half of all tech support scam victims were 18- to 34-year-olds. For comparison sake, the next age group (36 to 54) made up just over a third (34 percent), and the old-timers (over 55) were only 17 percent as likely to be conned.
The latest casualty of cyber attack: Debit cards
(The Indian Express) The incident of 3.2 million debit cards being blocked by Indian lenders has sent jitters across the banking community.
Cyber threat center growing in its integration role as it enters year 2
(Federal News Radio) The Cyber Threat Intelligence Integration Center has been in place now for a little more than a year.
Michael Fallon: Britain using cyber warfare against IS
(BBC News) The UK is using cyber warfare in the fight against Islamic State militants for control of the Iraqi city of Mosul, the defence secretary has said.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos thinks space can be the new internet
(The Verge) Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos saw Neil Armstrong step on the Moon nearly 50 years ago and the moment changed his life. Now, as the head of one of the robust online retailers in the world, Bezos says that space is the next frontier, a new internet if you will, that is desperately lacking in infrastructure to support new entrepreneurs.
International Affairs
US, South Korea Pledge Increased Maritime, Cyber Cooperation
(Defense News) An increasingly aggressive North Korea requires an evolving defense strategy from the United States and the Republic of Korea, the heads of those two militaries said today.
India Resolves US-2 Aircraft Price Issue With Japan
(Defense News) The first-ever defense deal between India and Japan is back on track after two years as Japan has offered a price concession for the purchase of 12 US-2 amphibious aircraft for the Indian Navy, according to an official with the Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD).
Chinese Navy Ships to Make First Port Call at Cam Ranh Bay
(ABC News) Three Chinese navy ships will make their first port call this weekend at the Vietnam's strategic Cam Ranh Bay, coming as the countries are locked in a territorial dispute in the South China Sea.
Bundestag to vote on better scrutiny of intelligence services
(Deutsche Welle) German lawmakers are debating wide-reaching reforms of the country's intelligence agencies and how they work with other countries. The plans follow Germany's involvement in the US snooping scandal.
South Africa to quit war crimes court - justice minister
(Reuters) South Africa is pulling out of the International Criminal Court (ICC) because its obligations are inconsistent with laws giving sitting leaders diplomatic immunity, Justice Minister Michael Masutha said on Friday.
Venezuela suspends recall vote against President Maduro
(Al Jazeera) A recall vote against Maduro has been suspended, as opposition leaders say they are barred from leaving the country.
Duterte's split with the US? Not so fast, says Philippines trade minister
(CNN) Philippines officials have gone into damage control mode after controversial President Rodrigo Duterte said the country's long-term alliance with the United States was over.
Commentary and Analysis
The Arc of History is Long, But it Bends Toward Bombing Assad
(Nick Danforth, War on the Rocks) By refusing to intervene more decisively in Syria, President Barack Obama claimed to have finally broken with the "Washington playbook" – his term for the foreign policy establishment's faith in the efficacy of military force. Refusing to follow the playbook is at once source of pride for the president and a source of ongoing outrage for critics across the political spectrum.
Challenges for the U.S. Military in Designing and Deploying Self-Driving Vehicles
(Kenneth Anderson, Lawfare) An Army truck delivering supplies is not a weapon system and so is not subject to the law of weapons or the requirements of Department of Defense (DoD) legal weapons review (absent special conditions). However, an Army self-driving supply truck raises concerns about reliability, safety, decision-making capabilities, and accountability similar to those raised by self-driving cars on ordinary civilian roads (in addition to other, military-specific issues).
How to Ensure the Iran Nuclear Deal Survives the Next President
(Ariane Tabatabai, New York Times) With only three months before the Obama administration leaves office, the United States and Iran need to work fast to strengthen the deal's foundations and ensure that the improvement in relations that took place over the course of President Obama's tenure survives.
Why Trump's 'sneak attacks' won't defeat the Islamic State
(Fareed Zakaria, Washington Post) When Donald Trump rails against the Obama administration for having signaled its intention to retake Mosul, he is, as usual, ill-informed.
Trump treats foreign policy like a game of 'Survivor'
(David Ignatius, Washington Post) In Trump's world, winners don't have to worry about alliances, nuclear proliferation or human rights — if they come out on top.

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