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Friday, October 28, 2016

Early Bird Brief: NATO bolsters presence in E. Europe



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Oct 28, 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. U.S. Officials: Iran Supplying Weapons to Yemen's Houthi Rebels
(NBC News) U.S. officials tell NBC News that they believe Iran has supplied weapons to the Houthis in Yemen — including coastal defense cruise missiles like the ones that were fired at US Navy ships earlier this month.
2. China: Japanese military jets using 'dangerous' tactics
(CNN) Japanese military aircraft are increasingly engaging in dangerous intercepts of Chinese planes, putting the safety of Chinese fliers at risk and damaging bilateral relations, China's Defense Ministry said Thursday.
3. Airmen resurrect Iraqi airfield wrecked by ISIS, in time for Mosul fight
(Air Force Times) When Iraqi forces pushed the Islamic State out of Qayyarah West Airfield in July, the militants left behind an obliterated and unusable runway.
4. Veterans may face higher risk of suicide during first year home
(Reuters) Veterans may be more likely to commit suicide during the first year after they leave the military than after more time passes, a U.S. study suggests.
5. NATO bolsters presence in Eastern Europe as Russia tension rises
(Guardian) It has been billed as Nato's biggest military build-up on Russia's borders since the cold war. Britain is sending fighter jets next year to Romania. The US is dispatching troops, tanks and artillery to Poland. Germany, Canada and other Nato countries also pledged forces at a meeting on Wednesday of defence chiefs in Brussels.

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Overseas Operations
US, Russia spar amid charges of war crimes in Syria
(CNN) The US and Russia are exchanging ever harsher rhetorical barbs amid growing charges of war crimes in Syria following a brutal attack on a Syrian school.
What to Know About the Upcoming Offensive to Take Raqqa, de Facto Capital of ISIS
(ABC News) Plans are underway to launch an offensive within weeks to retake the Syrian city of Raqqa, the de facto capital of ISIS, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said.
General: Up to 900 ISIS fighters killed in battle for Mosul
(CNN) The US and its allies have killed between 800 and 900 ISIS fighters in the operation to retake Mosul, US Army Gen. Joseph Votel said Thursday.
Iraqi army aims to reach site of Islamic State executions south of Mosul
(Reuters) The Iraqi army was trying on Thursday to reach a town south of Mosul where Islamic State has reportedly executed dozens to deter the population against any attempt to support the U.S.-led offensive on the jihadists' last major city stronghold in Iraq.
As ISIS flees Sirte in Libya, Tunisia faces greater threat from returning jihadis
(Newsweek) The call of "Allahu Akbar" ("God is great") echoed from a megaphone in the Tunisian border town of Ben Guerdane on March 7. Islamic State militant group (ISIS) fighters, mostly Tunisian nationals, had arrived from neighboring Libya. They beckoned residents towards them as they launched an assault on security forces, killing 12 and seven civilians.
Iraq's Shi'ite militias say offensive west of Mosul imminent
(Reuters) Iranian-backed Iraqi Shi'ite paramilitary groups are about to launch an offensive on Islamic State positions west of Mosul, assisting in the military campaign to take back the city, a spokesman said on Friday.
The Pentagon
Military OneSource teams up with commissaries to offer reusable bags
(Military Times) Head over to your commissary starting Friday to get your free reusable shopping bag aimed at reminding you of the benefits of Military OneSource.
Pentagon preparing for inauguration
(CNN) The presidential election still hasn't happened, but the US military likes to plan ahead, way ahead. Knowing the troops will have a leading role in January for the 58th presidential inauguration ceremonies and the country will have a new commander in chief, the Pentagon is getting ready on several fronts.
Pets no longer allowed in Arlington Cemetery
(Army Times) Pets are no longer allowed at Arlington National Cemetery, the Army has announced.
Report: Chinese Spies Stole Pentagon Secrets
(Washington Free Beacon) Chinese spies repeatedly infiltrated U.S. national security agencies, including official email accounts, and stole U.S. secrets on Pentagon war plans for a future conflict with China, according to a forthcoming congressional commission report.

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Air Force
Congressman calls on Air Force to speed up deployment of counter-drone technology
(Air Force Times) As coalition forces close in on Islamic State militants in Mosul, a veteran Marine officer in Congress is asking the Air Force to specify how it will defend the skies against improvised explosive drones at home and abroad.
Air Force seeks modernization for full-spectrum fights
(Air Force Times) Striking a familiar tone with other top Air Force officials, Lt. Gen. Arnold Bunch, the service's acquisition chief, said the force is not ready for a high-end, high-spectrum fight, adding that the U.S. military must modernize for fights in contested, anti-access/area denial environments.
Could small UAS replace larger drone platforms?
(Air Force Times) As the U.S. military examines future battlefield concepts against near-peer adversaries that have eroded the technological advantage, one aspect under discussion is how unmanned aerial systems, which have proven successive in permissive environments, will perform in future, contested environments.
Air Force Launches Space Consortium That Puts Startups to Work On Prototypes
(Air Force Times) The Air Force is looking for a company to lead a new space consortium formed to help broaden participation in space acquisition programs to startups and small businesses.
Army
Man accused of pimping soldier sentenced to prison
(Army Times) Following a plea deal in which he copped to one charge of transportation for illegal sexual activity, the man accused of sex trafficking a Fort Bragg, North Carolina, soldier reported for his two-and-a-half-year prison sentence Wednesday, according to court documents.
Army deploys PacStar software across WIN-T program
(C4ISRNET) Software developer PacStar recently announced it is nearing the complete delivery of 6,000 licenses of its IQ-Core Software for the Army's WIN-T Increment 1 program.
U.S. Army to field-test wearable power-generation system in 2017
(UPI) The U.S. Army plans to field test a bionic PowerWalk system next year that generates battery power from a soldier's leg movements.
Army, international partners conduct cold weather training in Alaska
(Army Times) The Army got a little help from its friends last week as it works to hone its fighting abilities in extreme cold weather.
Army Rolls Out Upgunned Stryker: 30m Autocannon Vs. Russians
(Breaking Defense) Today, after 18 months of urgent work, the Army rolled out its first upgunned Stryker vehicle, nicknamed Dragoon. The armored eight-wheel-drive troop transport, built by General Dynamics and normally armed with no more than a 0.50 calibre (12.7 millimeter) machinegun in an unprotected mount, has been rebuilt with an armored turret containing a 30 mm quickfiring cannon.
The Army may have laser-equipped vehicles by 2017
(engadget) Vehicle-mounted lasers would shoot down enemy drones and mortars to protect ground troops.
Navy
The Navy needs more robot submarines for missions now
(Navy Times) The Navy needs more underwater drones — and it needs them now.
America's Future Navy: Dispersed, Unmanned and Underwater
(The National Interest) While the United States Navy will likely require a larger fleet to counter growing threats from around the world, the service is taking its time to ensure that it can deliver a realistic and executable force structure plan. As such, the Navy's leadership is working on building consensus with the Pentagon leadership and Congress before releasing its force structure assessment for the future.
The U.S. Navy Wants to Put Missiles on Everything
(Popular Mechanics) According to Rowden, the U.S. Navy moved away from its core mission of controlling the seas after the end of the Cold War. The collapse of the Soviet Union left the Navy as controller of the seas by default, and it moved on to other missions such as support of ground forces after 9/11.
Marine Corps
Squadron in crisis: Total dysfunction preceded Marines' deadliest crash this year
(Marine Corps Times) The Marine helicopter squadron that suffered the service's deadliest aviation accident in 2016 was in crisis months before two of its CH-53 Super Stallions crashed during a Jan. 14 nighttime mission off Hawaii, according to a new investigation.
Careers program turns into re-enlistment for 100 Marines on Okinawa
(Stars & Stripes) The Manpower Management Division Enlisted Road Show came to Okinawa to help Marines make career decisions, and for 100 of them, the choice was to re-enlist.
The Marines Want Mini-Missiles That Hunt for Specific Radio Signals
(DefenseOne) Signals-intelligence collection and drones are coming together in new packages for forward-deployed troops.
Coast Guard
US Coast Guard pilot: Waves, darkness hampered search for Chinese sailor
(Fox News) Waves, wind and darkness hampered the ocean search off Hawaii for a Chinese man reported missing while attempting to set a sailing record, the U.S. Coast Guard pilot who was the mission's air commander said Thursday.
Defense Industry
CACI awarded $22M CENTCOM communications contract
(C4ISRNET) CACI has been awarded a $22 million prime contract to continue communications support for U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM).
Future concepts for unmanned ground vehicles
(C4ISRNET) Challenges still remain for unmanned ground systems. Experts and government scientists continue to discuss the challenges, whether they're technical — difficulty with a system's predictability on different terrains — or cultural — general human trust of systems one might not understand.
QinetiQ and Milrem unveil Titan unmanned ground vehicle
(Defense News) American firm QinetiQ North America and Estonia's Milrem have teamed up to produce the Titan unmanned ground vehicle.
Lockheed Reveals GBSD Partners; Northrop, Boeing Silent
(Defense News) Lockheed Martin today revealed the industry partners on its bid to design America's next intercontinental ballistic missiles, as competitors Northrop Grumman and Boeing are staying silent on their teams.
Raytheon To Continue Support of UK Sentinel Fleet in $165M Deal
(Defense News) The British Royal Air Force's fleet of Sentinel surveillance aircraft will continue to receive support from Raytheon UK in a £135 million (US $165 million) deal announced by new Defence Procurement Minister Harriett Baldwin on Thursday.
India To Double BrahMos Cruise Missile Range
(Defense News) India and Russia have approved an extension to the range of the supersonic cruise missile BrahMos, doubling it to 600 kilometers, according to an official with the Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD).
Northrop Grumman beat Boeing for B-21 on cost
(IHS Jane's 360) Cost was the deciding factor in the US Air Force's (USAF's) decision to award Northrop Grumman a development contract for the B-21 Raider bomber aircraft, a USAF acquisition official confirmed on 26 October.
U.K. MOD announces $159 million surveillance aircraft support contract
(UPI) The U.K. Ministry of Defense on Thursday announced a $159 million deal with Raytheon UK for support on the Sentinel long-range surveillance aircraft.
Veterans
Veterans museum under construction in Columbus, Ohio
(Stars & Stripes) A soldier's lucky number 7 playing card that he carried through Desert Storm until returning home is one of the items considered for a new museum dedicated to veterans.
VA fails to properly examine thousands of veterans
(WNCN) Thousands of veterans may have been improperly diagnosed by the VA.
Combat vet sues American Airlines for rejecting her service dog
(Army Times) Former Capt. Lisa McCombs was heading home from a quick day trip to Kansas last year when she ran into road block -- American Airlines staff wouldn't let her fly home with her service dog, even though she'd had no problem getting him there that morning.
Congress & Politics
Trump faces new round of military controversies just days before the election
(Military Times) With less than two weeks left before the election, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump finds himself in the middle of a new round of military-themed controversies that opponents say shows he's unqualified to be commander in chief.
Money Flows Down Ballot as Donald Trump Is Abandoned by Big Donors (Even Himself)
(New York Times) With Donald J. Trump facing a potential rout at the hands of Hillary Clinton, a river of cash from some of the Republican Party's biggest donors has begun to flow down to Senate and House races in the final days of the 2016 campaign.
GOP insiders: Polls don't capture secret Trump vote
(Politico) Those battleground state polls that paint such a grim picture of Donald Trump's prospects against Hillary Clinton? Most Republican insiders don't believe they're accurately capturing Trump's true level of support.
International Affairs
Russia warships: Kuznetsov battle group 'refuels off North Africa'
(BBC) A group of warships including Russia's only aircraft carrier, the Admiral Kuznetsov, is reportedly refuelling at sea off North Africa en route to Syria.
Nigeria launches infrastructure programme to tackle insurgency in oil delta
(Reuters) Nigeria launched a $10 billion infrastructure programme on Thursday in its restive Delta region as part of a plan to end an insurgency that has hobbled oil production.
Syria conflict: UN urges inquiry into deadly air strike on school
(BBC) The UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon, has demanded an immediate investigation into an air strike in Syria on Wednesday that reportedly struck a school, killing more than 20 children.
China: Japanese military jets using 'dangerous' tactics
(CNN) Japanese military aircraft are increasingly engaging in dangerous intercepts of Chinese planes, putting the safety of Chinese fliers at risk and damaging bilateral relations, China's Defense Ministry said Thursday.
Migrant crisis: Almost 100 missing in Libya sinking
(BBC) Almost 100 migrants are missing after their boat sank off the Libyan coast, the country's navy says.
China finishes hull of first domestically built aircraft carrier
(South China Morning Post) China has completed assembly of its first domestically made aircraft carrier and design work on the vessel was finished, the defence ministry said on Thursday.
Venezuela protests against Maduro escalate, dozens injured
(Reuters) Venezuela's increasingly militant opposition stepped up its push to oust leftist leader Nicolas Maduro on Wednesday with protests that drew hundreds of thousands but also saw unrest leading to dozens of injuries and arrests.
China's Communist Party Declares Xi Jinping 'Core' Leader
(New York Times) President Xi Jinping of China received a potent boost to his status on Thursday, when a Communist Party meeting elevated him to "core" leader, putting him in the same revered ranks as Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping.
Man shot dead outside U.S. embassy after attacking Kenyan officer
(Reuters) A knife-wielding man who police described as a criminal was shot dead outside the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi on Thursday after he attacked and injured a Kenyan police officer.
Commentary and Analysis
Tricare misses the mark on mammogram coverage
(Military Times) A military spouse asks why Tricare will pay for transgender hormone therapy but not 3-D mammography. Might it be politics?
Lessons From the Pentagon's Shameful Bonus Clawback
(Bloomberg) These shameful episodes raise larger questions: Why does the military give out bonuses in the first place? Is there a better way to reward valuable service?
Warning Orders: Strategic Reasons for Publicizing Military Offensives
(Carrie Lee, War on the Rocks) With the recent slate of successful high-profile covert operations against terrorists and the widespread use of drone strikes to eliminate non-state actors around the globe, on the surface Trump's critique seems a reasonable question. However, the idea that the United States could conduct a sneak attack against an entrenched ISIL in a city the size of Mosul does not take into account either the logistical realities of major battlefield offensives or the strategic benefits of advertising such an operation beforehand.
The U.S.-Philippine Alliance is Stronger than You Think
(Gregory Poling, War on the Rocks) The United States is the third-largest trading partner of the Philippines, after Japan and China. It is the number-two investor in the country, providing over one-fifth of foreign direct investment in 2013 while investment from China is negligible. It is also the largest source of remittances to the economy, thanks to the huge Filipino-American community, and a major provider of development assistance. Little wonder then that Duterte's economic team issued a statement within hours contradicting his pledge of economic separation from the United States.
Legally Speaking, America Isn't Fighting Any Wars
(Matthew Gualt, War is Boring) War, as we normally define it, no longer makes sense. There's no draft — and only one percent of the U.S. population is in the military. The government isn't levying special taxes or issuing bonds to pay for the fighting.
Is Obama preparing a parting shot at Israel?
(Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post) The president could try to force a two-state solution before he leaves office.
Eight Is Not Enough
(Slate) Senate Republicans believe the Supreme Court will be just fine permanently operating one justice down. Here's how John Roberts can talk sense into them.

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