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Monday, October 31, 2016

Early Bird Brief: Iraqi Elite Forces Near Mosul



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Oct 31, 2016    
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Good morning and welcome to the Early Bird Brief. Please send news tips and suggestions to: earlybird@militarytimes.com.

Today's Top 5
1. Iraqi Special Forces Near Mosul From the East In a Dawn Assault
(Associated Press) Car bombers are trying to stop the advance, but the troops, just two miles (three kilometers) from Mosul's eastern outskirts, aim to enter it later on Monday, Brig. Gen. Haider Fadhil said.
2. Top Trump Military Advisers Detail GOP Candidate's Defense Plan
(Defense News) Two top Republican advisers on the military to the Trump campaign provide some insight into what a Trump election might mean for defense.
3. A Lingering, Deadly Legacy of Wars: Unexploded Bombs
(New York Times) The Vietnam War ended in 1975. It did for Americans anyway. Not so for the Vietnamese. Since 1975, more than 40,000 Vietnamese are believed to have been killed and about 60,000 others maimed by what is known as unexploded ordnance.
4. Jihadists and other rebels launch new offensive in Aleppo
(Long War Journal) Al Qaeda's rebranded guerrilla army in Syria and its jihadist allies are fighting alongside other rebels in an offensive intended to break the siege of Aleppo.
5. The US spent billions building roads in Afghanistan; now many of them are beyond repair
(Washington Post) A report released by a U.S. government oversight body paints a grim picture of the state of Afghanistan's roads, including the roughly 10,000 miles that were constructed, paved, repaired or funded by the United States.

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Overseas Operations
Pentagon downplays near-collision between U.S., Russian warplanes over Syria
(Air Force Times) A Russian fighter flew within a half-mile of a U.S. warplane over eastern Syria on Oct. 17, officials confirmed Friday.
In Syria, the U.S. may need more troops to manage shaky alliance
(Military Times) U.S. commanders in the Middle East are trying to determine whether 300 U.S. troops on the ground inside Syria will be enough to oust the Islamic State group from its self-proclaimed capital in Raqqa.
Airstrikes by Saudi-Led Coalition Kill Dozens in Western Yemen
(New York Times) Dozens of people, including many prisoners, were killed after airstrikes by a Saudi-led military coalition struck a security facility in western Yemen, local security officials and news reports said.
The Shia Power Brokers of the New Iraq
(The Atlantic ) As the embattled country wages war on ISIS in the north, its future may be decided by clerics in the south.
Taliban Gain Ground in Afghanistan as Soldiers Surrender Their Posts
(New York Times) Besieged Afghan officials in the southern province of Oruzgan said that scores of regular Afghan soldiers had surrendered in the past week to the Taliban, a trend also occurring recently in other provinces.
Pakistan To Free On Bail National Geographic's Famed 'Afghan Girl'
(Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty) An Afghan woman immortalized on the cover of National Geographic magazine is to be freed on bail, days after being arrested in Pakistan on fraud charges.
US, Japan to focus on amphibious landing during Keen Sword
(Stars & Stripes) The allies have practiced similar skills in recent years during Iron Fist exercises in California.
Are Indonesia and Australia Mulling South China Sea Joint Patrols?
(The Diplomat) Indonesia's defense minister says both sides could soon make this a reality.
The Pentagon
Commissary sales drop for 4th straight year
(Military Times) The amount of money spent by commissary customers declined in fiscal 2016 – marking the fourth year of falling sales – but it's not clear whether that drop signals problems with customer satisfaction.
Pentagon won't use robots that decide on their own when to kill
(McClatchy) The Pentagon is devising some whiz-bang autonomous weaponry, but Defense Secretary Ash Carter said Friday that the U.S. military would never use robotic systems that decided on their own when to kill.

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Hacked email offers unvarnished view of Dunford and other military leaders
(Military Times) The current chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford, and the former uniformed leader of the Air Force were viewed as "great leaders but weak on strategic thinking," according to a Pentagon official detailed to the National Security Council.
Air Force
U.S. Air Force May Expand J-Stars Fleet Safety Inspections
(Aviation Week) After temporarily grounding four of its E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (J-Stars) battle management aircraft last month over possible safety issues, the U.S. Air Force still has concerns about the quality of Northrop Grumman's maintenance work and may need to inspect the rest of the fleet.
Air Force B-2 to Get New Digital Nuclear Weapons & Air-Ground Missiles
(Scout) The stealthy B-2 is slated to fly alongside the Air Force's new Long Range Strike - Bomber into the 2050s.
Army
Soldiers test, provide feedback on technology in new Army exercise
(Army Times) More than 5,000 troops tried out dozens of warfighting capabilities in a desert exercise designed to give the Army feedback on new technologies before they are fielded across the force.
Anti-Naval ATACMS, 'Big' Swarming Breakthroughs from Strategic Capabilities Office
(Defense News) The Strategic Capabilities Office believes it can upgrade the Army Tactical Missile Systems (ATACMS) weapon to allow it to strike moving targets on both land and water, Pentagon officials announced Friday.
Army receives first Stryker upgraded with 30mm cannon
(Army Times) The Army on Thursday took delivery of the first prototype of its new Stryker Infantry Carrier Vehicle upgraded with a more lethal 30mm cannon, ahead of target to begin fielding to the Germany-based 2nd Cavalry Regiment in May 2018.
Army names top medics after 72-hour competition
(Army Times) Two Army medics from the 75th Ranger Regiment were named the service's best after a 72-hour competition.
Fort Bragg-based Green Beret dies while serving in Kenya
(Army Times) A memorial service for a 3rd Special Forces Group soldier is set for Saturday in Fayetteville, North Carolina, 11 days after his mysterious death while deployed to Kenya, according to his obituary.
Army: Two-star's death ruled a suicide
(Army Times) Maj. Gen. John Rossi, who this summer was just days away from taking command of U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command, died by suicide, the Army announced Friday.
Navy
This 'life-changing' shift has made submariners much happier
(Navy Times) The 18-hour day is dead and gone in the submarine force, and junior officers who were on the front lines for the change say the change has been a revolution for morale and alertness throughout the force.
Sailor petition forces White House review of Navy's unpopular ratings elimination
(Navy Times) A petition to the White House demanding the restoration of Navy rating titles has reached the 100,000 mark, the threshold required to get a response, nearly two days before the deadline.
Sailor stationed at Camp Foster arrested after alleged assault
(Stars & Stripes) He is accused of pushing a 22-year-old Okinawan man to the ground from behind and choking him at about 11:40 p.m. Saturday, an Okinawan prefectural police spokesman said.
Marine Corps
Marine recruit injured in fall at Parris Island
(Marine Corps Times) A newly arrived Marine recruit was injured in a two-story fall Friday at the Marine Corps' East Coast Training depot in South Carolina, a spokesman confirmed.
Parris Island abuse scandal: Lawmaker demands military hazing review
(Marine Corps Times) A prominent lawmaker is urging Congress to investigate how pervasive hazing is in the military after shocking allegations that some drill instructors abused recruits and even fellow DIs at the Marine Corps' storied training ground.
Marine in Okinawa dies, second apparent drowning this month
(Marine Corps Times) A Marine in Okinawa has died in an apparent drowning incident, marking the second such death this month at Okinawa.
Marines in Pacific Banned from Water Activities After Latest Drowning
(Military.com) After the third off-duty drowning of a U.S. service member in Okinawa in a month, III Marine Expeditionary Force declared a moratorium on water-related activities until further notice.
National Guard
Congress isn't finished with the California Guard bonuses scandal
(Military Times) The Pentagon has its fix for the California National Guard bonuses controversy, but that won't stop members of Congress from weighing in with their own solutions when they return to Capitol Hill next month.
Defense Industry
Raytheon to upgrade missile defense radars
(C4ISRNET) Raytheon has been awarded a Missile Defense Agency contract modification to upgrade missile defense radars.
GATR unveils new SATCOM antenna
(C4ISRNET) GATR Technologies has introduced a new inflatable satellite communications antenna.
Is Lockheed Martin Getting Ready to Build a Super Patriot Missile?
(The National Interest) The Army is advancing efforts to upgrade the radar, fire control technology and flight software for its Patriot missile in order to sharpen its target tracking ability against approaching enemy attacks.
Veterans
Free Cohen clinics offer real hope for veterans dealing with mental health issues
(Military Times) The latest philanthropic player to make a splash in the veteran mental health care arena is billionaire investor Steven A. Cohen. And what a big splash it is.
Paris train heroes, veterans part of 'Millionaire' theme weeks
(Military Times) The long-running game show "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" will air a week of shows with only veterans on the hot seat, but not before two well-known service members get their chance to pocket their share of seven figures.
The number of veterans in Congress will likely drop again next year
(Military Times) An analysis from the nonpartisan Veterans Campaign shows that for the first time in 70 years, Congress could boast fewer than 100 veterans in the House and Senate in 2017.
Congress & Politics
Hillary Clinton's email scandal feeds intense unpopularity within the military
(Military Times) Friday's announcement that the FBI will examine new emails potentially connected to Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton's past handling of classified material highlights one of military voters' chief complaints about her candidacy: Most feel she is dishonest and untrustworthy.
FBI: New Clinton emails prompt further investigation
(Federal Times) In a stunning move, the FBI has divulged that it has obtained new information in its investigation of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's private email server.
5 Reasons A President Trump Might Not Increase Defense Spending
(The National Interest) While Trump's campaign rhetoric reveals him to be a strident nationalist, he is no militarist.
Evan McMullin Cites National Security Expertise
(Associated Press) Independent presidential candidate Evan McMullin casts himself as the only 'true conservative' in the race and an alternative for voters wary of Republican Donald Trump.
National Security and Intelligence
NSA Appears to Have Missed 'Big Red Flags' in Suspect's Behavior
(New York Times) Year after year, both in his messy personal life and his brazen theft of classified documents from the National Security Agency, Harold T. Martin III put to the test the government's costly system for protecting secrets. And year after year, the system failed.
International Affairs
PBS to debut Battle of Chosin doc Nov. 1 -- watch an exclusive clip
(Military Times) A new documentary on a legendary Korean War battle will feature the personal perspectives of more than 20 veterans of the deadly, frigid, two-week ordeal.
Turkey expanded its sweeping post-coup crackdown over the weekend, issuing two new governmental decrees that dismissed more than 10,000 civil servants and shutting down 15 mostly pro-Kurdish media outlets.
(Associated Press) Turkey expanded its sweeping post-coup crackdown over the weekend, issuing two new governmental decrees that dismissed more than 10,000 civil servants and shutting down 15 mostly pro-Kurdish media outlets.
Commentary and Analysis
The missing case for deterrence and resolve in Asia
(War On The Rocks) To deter China, Washington must convince Beijing that it is willing and able to fight a war that would impose greater pain on the Chinese than they are willing to bear to achieve their goals.
America's Latest South China Sea FONOP Did More Harm Than Good
(The National Interest) The yardstick tells a sobering tale: on balance the operation advanced none of the Pentagon's self-professed strategic aims.
Why Syrian Safe Zones Are Unworkable
(The National Interest) Safe zones sound good in theory, but in practice could endanger civilians and even strengthen the Assad regime.

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