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Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Early Bird Brief: Pentagon Assesses Recruiting Standards

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Nov 02, 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. The military may relax recruiting standards for fitness and pot use
(Military Times) Defense Secretary Ash Carter has launched a sweeping review of the military's recruiting standards, saying current rules for screening new entrants may be "overly restrictive" and preventing America's most talented young people from joining the ranks.
2. Russian Defense Ministry compares Mosul offensive with Aleppo
(Washington Post) Civilians have no escape route from the Iraqi city of Mosul and are under threat of "possible mass casualties" from daily U.S. and coalition airstrikes aiding the ongoing Iraqi government offensive to reclaim the city from the Islamic State, Russia's Defense Ministry said Tuesday.
3. Russian Hacks Show Cybersecurity Limits
(Wall Street Journal) The suspected attempts by the Kremlin to influence the U.S. election highlight the risks of mundane attacks and information warfare.
4. The military trial that's tearing Israel apart
(Washington Post) On trial for manslaughter before a military tribunal is a pint-size recruit who sits in the courtroom beside his mother, who wraps her arms around his shoulders and sometimes cries.
5. Philippines' Duterte discovered this week that his actions have consequences
(Washington Post) A key ally resigned and the U.S. may halt the sale of 26,000 M4 assault rifles to the Philippine National police.


Overseas Operations
Turkey deploys tanks, military vehicles to border with Iraq
(Associated Press) Turkey's defense minister said Tuesday his country is making preparations for "all kinds of possibilities" after the military began deploying tanks and other vehicles to the border with Iraq.
Trapped in a house with Islamic State fighters
(Washington Post) Off and on for eight hours, Monaly Atalla and six college roommates hid under their beds in their darkened house as a group of Islamic State fighters came and went during a pitched battle to take over this city late last month.
Russia accuses rebels in Aleppo of killing civilians
(Associated Press) The rebels in Aleppo began an offensive Friday to break the government's siege of the eastern part of the city, which has been under their control since 2012.
Assad in Person: Confident, No Regrets and Expecting to Stay in Power
(New York Times) President Bashar al-Assad of Syria welcomed a group of Western visitors into his French-Ottoman palace on Monday night, presenting himself as a man firmly in control of his country.
Analysis: US military assessment of Taliban control of Afghan districts is flawed
(Long War Journal) The US military says that the Taliban "influences" at least 25 of Afghanistan's 407 districts and controls only 8 more. The numbers are at odds with an assessment by The Long War Journal of Taliban control in Afghanistan.
As South Sudan Troops Killed and Raped, U.N. Forces Didn't Stop Them
(New York Times) That was one of the sharply critical conclusions of a report, issued on Tuesday, into the performance of the peacekeeping mission in South Sudan, where in July government soldiers went on a killing, raping and looting spree in the capital, Juba.
Report: SBX-1 Radar Operated Near North Korea
(USNI News) The ultra-sensitive radar the U.S. uses to track ballistic missile targets was deployed off North Korea in September, according to local press reports.
CyberCon 2016
Register Today for CyberCon 2016!
(Federal Times) Join Defense News, Federal Times and C4ISRNET on Nov. 16, 2016, at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C.
The Pentagon
Special ops troops say the next president needs to give them more people or less work
(Military Times) The next commander in chief needs to give special operations forces more resources or fewer missions to avoid burning out the skilled specialists, defense officials warn in a new report by a security think tank.
DoD: Protections for transgender youth apply to all facilities, programs
(Military Times) All transgender youth are allowed to use restrooms and other facilities consistent with their gender identity in Defense Department programs and activities, according to a new DoD memo.


Inside DARPA's plan to use insects for good
(NextGov) The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency wants help developing a system in which bugs deliver viruses to mature plants—fortifying those plants against external factors such as pests—within just one growing season.
Pentagon OKs general's rent-free living courtesy of defense contractor
(USA Today) A general fired from the Joint Chiefs of Staff for an extramarital affair will not be sanctioned for living rent-free in the home of the defense contractor because their long-standing friendship allows such gifts, the Pentagon's Inspector General has decided.
Air Force
Air Force, DIUx Seeking Out 'Ender's Game' Technology to Enable Drone Swarms
(Defense News) Artificial intelligence and autonomy are advancing to the point where, in the near future, unmanned aircraft will no longer need pilots to move small drones with a stick and rudder, a top Air Force officer said.
How Army's archaic evaluation system is hurting the service
(Federal News Radio) Promotion boards are part of the bigger Armywide problem that relies on a personnel system stuck in the 1950s.
A soldier battling PTSD reported that he wanted to hurt his commanders. They disciplined him.
(Baltimore Sun) Officials have run campaigns aimed at battling the stigma surrounding mental health care in the military and assuring troops that admitting they need help won't necessarily end their careers. But thhis case illustrates the limits to those efforts, and the challenges that confront commanders who are faced with mentally ill troops.
Matthew's floodwaters wipe out Special Forces Association records, artifacts
(Fayetteville Observer) The executive director of the Special Forces Association said the nonprofit was hit particularly hard by the floodwaters that came with Hurricane Matthew last month.
Sailor falls overboard, recovered aboard big deck America
(Navy Times) A seaman recruit stumbled down a ladder and into the Pacific Ocean Monday, but crew members acted quickly to get their shipmate back unharmed, according to a Navy report.
Marine Corps
NCIS: Witnesses saw recruit at Parris Island jump from building
(Marine Corps Times) A recruit severely injured Friday at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, South Carolina, appears to have intentionally jumped from the second story of a building, said Ed Buice, a spokesman for the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.
Pentagon watchdog to review struggling Marine aviation readiness
(Marine Corps Times) The Marines have been fighting for years to keep their planes and helicopters flying, and now the service's aviation crisis has gained the attention of the Defense Department internal watchdog.
Corps identifies second Marine who drowned in Okinawa
(Marine Corps Times) The Marine Corps has identified the Marine who drowned Sunday in Okinawa as Lance Cpl. Sebastian Borja-Diaz, a motor vehicle operator with the 3rd Transportation Support Battalion.
Ex-Marine admits in court to killing other Marine's wife
(Associated Press) A former Marine shocked the courtroom during his own murder trial, admitting to strangling the wife of another Marine and pushing her head-first down an abandoned mine shaft in the remote California desert.
Coast Guard
Coast Guard Operation Arctic Shield 2016 Ends as Location Closes in Kotzebue
(Alaska Native News) The aircrews responded to 22 cases, saving six lives and assisting five others, since the FOL opened in June.
National Guard
Drones Offer More Career Options for Guardsmen: General
( The unmanned mission for the Air National Guard has become a sweet spot for airmen not only looking to maintain a part-time Air Force career, but also to develop their skills at a time when the service is making strides in drone capabilities, the head of the National Guard Bureau said.
Defense Industry
Report Alleges New Corruption Charges Against Rolls-Royce
(Defense News) Corruption allegations against Rolls-Royce widened Oct. 31 when a joint investigation by the BBC and The Guardian newspaper accused the British engine builder of being involved in secret payments to supply the power plants destined to equip Hawk jet trainers purchased by the Indian military.
Interview With Baba Kalyani, Chairman of Kalyani Group
(Defense News) Kalyani Group, a $2.5 billion conglomerate and the world's largest forging company, has entered into aerospace and defense business in a big way, setting up defense research and development (R&D) and production facilities across India to win a spot in the $3 billion defense industry of artillery, armored vehicles, missiles and ammunition over the next decade.
Drone Aviation awarded aerostat contract
(C4ISRNET) Drone Aviation has been awarded a contract, valued at more than $200,000, for communications sensor integration onto tactical aerostats.
Pentagon awards $114M cyber contract
(C4ISRNET) CSRA has won a $114 million task to develop a cyber defense strategy for various offices within the Pentagon.
China Debuts Its New, Nearly Battle-Ready Stealth Jet
(Daily Beast) The United States may be the leader in stealthy military technology, but China is catching up—and quickly.
As China Shows Off J-20 Stealth Fighter, A Bit of Context
(DefenseOne) It takes more than a flyby at an airshow to deploy fifth-generation fighter jets in combat.
Meet Boeing's Latest Next-Gen Fighter Concept
(Aviation Week) The latest image looks more like a fighter-bomber than a pure fighter.
The U.S. Navy's New Plan to Build a More Lethal Ballistic Missile Submarine
(The National Interest) The Navy's new deal to produce the first 22 missile tubes for it new Columbia-class nuclear-armed ballistic missile submarines comes at time when the service is considering new build strategies for the submarines to address a massive funding shortfall for the top-priority program, Congressional and Navy officials explained.
Finish the wall': How you can help honor Vietnam War's fallen
(Military Times) Wall of Faces seeks to put a face to the name
6 Certified': 13 entertainment projects get veteran advocacy group's seal of approval
(Military Times) A nonprofit group pushing for an accurate portrayal of veterans by the entertainment industry found a lot to like in recent months.
Military Times declares November 'Veterans Month'
(Military Times) Military Times wanted to make Veterans Day special this year – so we've expanded it to a month-long celebration of service.
Best for Vets: Colleges 2017 — new rankings of 175 schools
(Military Times) At many colleges and universities, you can go to the veterans center for extra help if you fall behind academically. At the University of South Florida, the veterans center goes to you — and you don't have a choice in the matter.
Congress & Politics
Races to Watch: Ayotte Faces Trump Effect
(Defense News) Sen. Kelly Ayotte, who Donald Trump once called a "rising star," is in danger of becoming a shooting star because of him.
GOP urges Pentagon to immediately return bonuses clawed back from vets
(The Hill) Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) urged the Pentagon on Tuesday to return reenlistment bonuses to California National Guard veterans who were forced to repay them a decade later after an audit showed that many of them were issued erroneously.
A nuclear decision: As global tension builds, voters must choose which candidate they trust with the codes
(Omaha World-Herald) While Congress and the U.S. Supreme Court have many checks on presidential power, the decision to launch an emergency nuclear weapons strike is entirely in the hands of the president.
Dem senators announce bill to protect military reservists
(The Hill) The bill would strengthen existing law protecting U.S. troops from losing their jobs while on deployment.
Cyber, Space & Surveillance
Autonomy out of necessity — not because it's cool
(C4ISRNET) The military is moving toward greater autonomy — not because it's cool or trendy, but because it must, according to a roboticist with the Naval Research Laboratory.
Microsoft Says Russian Hackers Exploiting Flaw In Windows System
(Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty) Microsoft has warned of a vulnerability in its popular Windows software that is being exploited by a Russian hacking group suspected of attacking U.S. political institutions this year.
National Security & Intelligence
The NSA Chief Has A Phone For Top-Secret Messaging. Here's How It Works
(Defense News) The Boeing device is less a phone and more a locked-down portal to a faraway server.
International Affairs
EU Battle Group Preparation Picks Up Steam in Italy
(Defense News) The European Union's major Battle Group will this month launch a key exercise in Italy ahead of a six-month tour of duty as it expands its membership to five European countries.
The Louvre Offers a Safe Haven to Endangered Treasures From War Zones
(Time) The Louvre Museum in Paris could become the new home of the world's foremost treasures rescued from war zones such as Syria and Iraq.
2015 Was Second-Worst Year For Journalist Killings In Decade, UN Says
(Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty) One journalist is being killed every five days as a result of their work, UNESCO reported on November 2.
Commentary & Analysis
Staff Sergeant Disruptor: Observations on Leading Innovation
(War On The Rocks) Individual unit commanders must work to become more sophisticated leaders of innovation, connecting and empowering their forward thinking talent.
The Pentagon's New Chief Innovation Officer Should Tread Lightly
(War On The Rocks) The chief innovation officer may want to have a light touch and let the messy, creative process run its course through the multiple avenues that existing organizations provide.
Felling ISIS and Facing Reality About Terrorism
(The National Interest) The so-called Islamic State or ISIS is on the decline, and its "caliphate" on the ground in Iraq and Syria is shrinking to extinction.
After Mosul: Why Should America Push On to Raqqa?
(The National Interest) The battle for Mosul in Iraq is barely two weeks old. As of this writing, coalition forces have yet to even enter the city proper. Yet already, U.S. officials have announced the beginning of the attack on the Syrian base of ISIS support in Raqqa.
Is the Philippines Triggering a 'Duterte Effect' in ASEAN?
(The Diplomat) Although the development is worrying, its impact should not be exaggerated.
"Cybervandalism" or "Digital act of war"? America's muddled approach to cyber incidents won't deter more crises
(Lawfare) If experts say a malicious cyber code has "similar effects" to a "physical bomb," and that code actually causes "a stunning breach of global internet stability," is it really accurate to call that event merely an instance of "cybervandalism"?

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