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Saturday, December 3, 2016

Early Bird Brief: Retired Marine Gen. Mattis to Run DoD

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Dec 02, 2016    
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Today's Top 5
1. Trump has chosen retired Marine Gen. James Mattis for secretary of defense
(Washington Post) Donald Trump has chosen retired Marine Gen. James N. Mattis to be secretary of defense, the president-elect announced Thursday, selecting a former senior military officer who has said that responding to "political Islam" is the major security issue facing the United States.
2. China Seizes Opening in U.S. Backyard as Trump Upends Policy
(Bloomberg) As Donald Trump weighs plans to tear up trade deals and deport illegal migrants from Latin America, Chinese President Xi Jinping is moving swiftly to reset relations in America's backyard.
3. Sunni tribesmen battling Islamic State demand federalism in Iraq
(Reuters) As mortar bombs landed ever closer, Sunni tribal fighters preparing to attack Islamic State seemed more preoccupied by the failures of Iraq's political class than the militants trying to kill them.
4. Defense policy bill would bring the biggest organizational changes in 30 years
(Washington Examiner) The changes included in the compromise bill, which will be considered in the House on Friday, range from a restructuring of the Pentagon's acquisition department to reducing how long a member of the military must serve in a joint billet to advance.
5. White House: Obama supports registering women for military draft
(USA Today) President Obama supports requiring women to register for Selective Service when they turn 18 — becoming the first president to endorse universal draft registration since Jimmy Carter.


How Trump picking Mattis as Pentagon chief breaks with 65 years of U.S. history
(Washington Post) President-elect Donald Trump choosing retired Marine Gen. James N. Mattis as his secretary of defense breaks with decades of U.S. military history, putting a retired senior military officer in the job 65 years after Congress passed legislation that said it was "the sense" of lawmakers that "no additional appointments of military men to that office shall be approved."
It's official: Donald Trump has chosen Gen. James Mattis for defense secretary
(Military Times) Donald Trump on Thursday announced retired Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis as his pick for secretary of defense, tasking the popular military leader with carrying out the president-elect's planned overhaul of Pentagon operations and a shift in national security priorities.
Congress set to elevate CYBERCOM to unified combatant command
(C4ISRNET) Congress is set to authorize the elevation of US Cyber Command, taking it from under the purview of US Strategic Command and making it a fully unified combatant command.
Trump's new foreign policy: 'We will stop looking to topple regimes'
(Washington Examiner) "We will destroy ISIS. At the same time, we will pursue a new foreign policy that finally learns from the mistakes of the past. We will stop looking to topple regimes and overthrow governments, folks," Trump told attendees at the U.S. Bank Arena. "Our goal is stability, not chaos because we wanna rebuild our country. It's time."
Trump may put 5 military officers in top posts. That's unprecedented.
(Washington Post) President-elect Donald Trump is, apparently, partial to former generals and admirals. Several have been floated as possible nominees for cabinet and national security jobs.
Overseas Operations
Legislation honoring WWII spies awaits Obama's signature
(Associated Press) Congress sent President Barack Obama legislation to give the Congressional Gold Medal to World War II spies who served behind enemy lines in Nazi Germany and the Pacific theater.
2 Filipino militants who left bomb near U.S. Embassy captured
(Associated Press) Philippine police officials have captured two local sympathizers of the Islamic State group who allegedly tried to detonate a bomb near the U.S. Embassy and prompted authorities to raise a terror alert.
Syria conflict: US coalition admits killing civilians in Manbij
(BBC) The US-led coalition fighting so-called Islamic State (IS) has admitted to causing the deaths of 24 civilians near the Syrian city of Manbij in July.
British jihadists fleeing Mosul could face the death sentence in Iraq's makeshift courts
(Telegraph) British jihadists caught fighting with Isil in Mosul could be handed death sentences in makeshift Iraqi courts trying up to 100 suspected terrorists a month.
How ISIL destroyed Nimrud
(Al Jazeera) The Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) blew up Nimrud on a spring day last year. A truck mounted with speakers drove through the dusty roads surrounding the ruins of the ancient Assyrian city beforehand, instructing local residents to open their windows so that the glass wasn't shattered by the shockwave of a massive blast.


Troops advance in Aleppo, Russia proposes aid corridors
(Al Jazeera) Elite Syrian troops moved into east Aleppo ahead of a push into the most densely populated areas, as ally Russia called for corridors to bring in aid and evacuate wounded.
Army tests 'HALO'-inspired knee brace that can charge your radios, mobile devices
(Army Times) The Army is looking for a way to lighten the load of batteries soldiers have to carry around to use their gadgets, and rising to the top of the heap is a tricked-out knee brace that absorbs the energy every time your feet hit the ground.
13 women graduate from the Army's first integrated armor officer course
(Army Times) Thirteen female officers are among the 65 lieutenants to graduate from the Army's first integrated Armor Basic Officer Leader Course, the Maneuver Center of Excellence announced on Thursday.
Senators, Military Specialists Say Army Report On Dismissed Soldiers Is Troubling
(NPR) "I don't think the Army understands the scope of this problem," says Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn. "And I don't think they've conveyed the seriousness to get it right."
General: Army struggles to meet goal of 80,000 recruits
(The Arizona Republic) The U.S. Army is having trouble recruiting the 80,000 new soldiers it needs this fiscal year because most people don't meet the requirements to join or are misinformed about the military, according to its chief recruiter
Army Loses One Infantry Brigade to Create New Armored Brigade
( Beginning this summer, the 4,200 soldiers from the 2nd IBCT of the 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Stewart, Georgia, will be converted into an ABCT and equipped with M1 Abrams tanks and Bradley fighting vehicles.
Reserve center CO arrested on DUI charge
(Navy Times) The commanding officer of the Navy Operational Support Center Tucson, Arizona, was arrested late last week on charges of driving under the influence, according the Arizona court records.
Navy's Zumwalt back underway after Panama Canal breakdown
(Associated Press) The largest and most expensive destroyer built for the U.S. Navy has resumed its voyage after a breakdown in the Panama Canal.
Navy's costly — and controversial — Zumwalt ship may get second look by Trump
(CNBC) The USS Zumwalt, a stealth ship commissioned in October and costing upward of $4.4 billion, has already had engineering and propulsion problems and experienced a breakdown last week when it passed through a portion of the Panama Canal. It was delivered about two years late and despite its stealthy qualities is seen by some as vulnerable and no longer suitable for the missions it was designed to handle.
Senators Worried Quick Transition From LCS to Frigate Leaves Little Room for Oversight
(USNI News) Members of the Senate Armed Services Committee today questioned the Navy's ability to ensure a smooth transition from the Littoral Combat Ship to the frigate program, given that current plans would force the Navy to award something akin to a block buy contract for 12 ships even before the first frigate is built and tested.
Troubled $29 Billion U.S. Warship Sows Fresh Doubt on Worth
(Bloomberg) Congress must decide "whether a ship that costs twice as much yet delivers less capability than planned warrants an additional investment," the U.S. Government Accountability Office said in a report issued Thursday as the Senate Armed Services Committee met to review the $29 billion program.
FBI, Pentagon Counterspies Hunt Fraudulent Navy Contractor
(Washington Free Beacon) Counterintelligence agents from the FBI and Pentagon are pursuing a suspected foreign agent posing as a Navy officer who offered fraudulent contracts to defense contractors in a bid to obtain sensitive and embargoed American technology.
Air Force
New Air Force dress blue shirt, maternity ABU on the way
(Air Force Times) The Air Force plans to roll out an updated blue uniform shirt and a new and improved maternity Airman Battle Uniform in the coming months, officials said.
Buzz Aldrin, second man to walk on moon, evacuated from South Pole
(Associated Press) Aldrin, 86, was visiting the South Pole as part of a private tourist group when his health deteriorated.
US Air Force Has Severe Shortage of Pilots
(Voice of America) The United States Air Force is reporting a shortage of pilots of fighter airplanes. The lack is so severe that some generals say it may affect the service's ability to carry out operations as soon as next year.
Airman charged with selling $50,000 worth of military equipment on eBay
(Air Force Times) A security forces airman at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio was arrested Tuesday and charged with stealing government property, according to court documents.
Marine Corps
Marine colonel accused of sexually assaulting a child
(Marine Corps Times) A Marine colonel at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, has been charged with sexually assaulting a child and related offenses, the Marine Corps announced on Wednesday.
Pilot error led Osprey to crash onto ship
(Marine Corps Times) The pilot of an MV-22B Osprey was at fault for a December 2015 crash aboard the amphibious transport dock New Orleans, an investigation into the incident found.
Coast Guard
Coast Guard to investigate, hold hearing on ship that sank in Bering Sea
(Alaska Dispatch News) The Coast Guard has prepared the way for a formal investigation into the sinking of the fishing vessel Alaska Juris in the Bering Sea in July.
National Guard
National Guard branch training in Fort Hood for mission abroad
(KXXV) The 29th Infantry Division was mobilized about a month ago from Fort Belvoir, VA. The unit has been participating in military readiness training.
Defense Industry
Trending at I/ITSEC: Robotic Targets for Marksmanship Training
(Defense News) As militaries look to inject greater realism into their shooting ranges, more companies are developing robotic moving targets to replace the paper pop-up targets that are currently the norm.
Minotor-Service unveils new light armoured vehicle
(IHS Jane's 360) Designated Breeze, the vehicle consists of an upgraded one person turret - originally installed on the Volgograd Tractor Plant BMD-2 airborne assault vehicle (AAV) - that is integrated onto a new light-tracked platform developed by Minotor-Service.
Lockheed Martin Revamps Training Division
(Defense News) Lockheed Martin is revamping its Training and Logistics Solutions division.
Lockheed Martin begins T-50A flight operations
(UPI) Lockheed Martin has begun conducting flight operations with its T-50A training aircraft to test its capabilities.
Leidos Secures US Army Contract for Driver Simulations
(Defense News) Leidos has been awarded a prime contract, valued at more than $10 million, for Army driver simulations.
General Dynamics to christen U.S. Navy's Colorado submarine
(UPI) General Dynamics will christen the USS Colorado, the U.S. Navy's newest Virginia-class submarine, during a ceremony on Saturday.
CACI awarded Navy training contract
(C4ISRNET) CACI has won a prime slot on a Navy training contract.
UK buys Virtual Battlespace 3 simulation training tool
(C4ISRNET) Britain is purchasing the Virtual Battlespace 3 simulation training solution.
Trump VA moves already hint at major shakeups for the department
(Military Times) President-elect Donald Trump hasn't finalized his pick to become Veterans Affairs secretary, but his choice of advisers indicates a radical overhaul to veterans' health care is in the works.
Veterans' group criticizes vets joining pipeline protest
(Associated Press) Some military veterans in North Dakota disagree with the 2,000 veterans planning to join a protest opposing the four-state, $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline.
U.S. veterans arrive at pipeline protest camp in North Dakota
(Reuters) U.S. military veterans were arriving on Thursday at a camp to join thousands of activists braving snow and freezing temperatures to protest a pipeline project near a Native American reservation in North Dakota.
To keep promises to veterans, Trump taps Koch-backed group
(Washington Post) President-elect Donald Trump is leaning on a once-obscure group backed by conservative billionaires Charles and David Koch as he seeks to make good on a campaign promise to overhaul veterans' care programs he has denounced as a tragic failure.
Trump Transition Team Holds 'Listening Session' With Veterans Groups
(NPR) President-elect Trump's transition officials have scheduled a "listening session" for Thursday with veterans advocates, including the American Legion and other groups. It's playing out following big promises by Trump to overhaul the workings of veterans care in the U.S. and continuing discussion about his potential appointment to run the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Congress & Politics
Congress: Commissary leaders may lack talent, skills to lead reform
(Military Times) As lawmakers are poised to agree to massive commissary reform, they've also sent a message to defense officials that they don't believe senior commissary agency management is capable of carrying out those reforms.
Congress reacts to Trump's 'Mad Dog' Mattis pick
(Washington Examiner) Congressional leaders reacted both in support of and opposition to President-elect Donald Trump's Thursday night announcement that he will nominate retired Marine Corps. Gen. James "Mad Dog" Mattis as his defense secretary.
Obama to give final counterterrorism speech at Florida base
(Associated Press) President Barack Obama will travel to Florida next week to give his final speech about U.S. counterterrorism strategy.
Trump's Breezy Calls to World Leaders Leave Diplomats Aghast
(New York Times) President-elect Donald J. Trump inherited a complicated world when he won the election last month. And that was before a series of freewheeling phone calls with foreign leaders that has unnerved diplomats at home and abroad.
Senate votes unanimously to renew Iran sanctions law
(Associated Press) The Senate moved decisively Thursday to renew a decades-old sanctions law that lawmakers said gives the United States the clout to punish Iran should it fail to live up to the terms of the landmark nuclear deal.
Gillibrand says she won't vote for Mattis waiver
(Politico) Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) on Thursday said she plans to vote against the waiver required for retired Marine Gen. James Mattis to serve as Donald Trump's defense secretary.
Cyber, Space & Surveillance
Army Electronic Warfare Strategy Nearing Completion
(Defense News) The establishment of an Army Cyber Directorate, the Rapid Capabilities Office and a nearly completed strategy are ushering in a more productive era in electronic warfare capability development, according to Col. Jeffrey Church, the chief of strategy and policy in the cyber directorate.
Amazon Cloud Computing Division Unveils New Cyber Security Service
(Wall Street Journal) AWS Shield will help customers defend against so-called distributed denial-of-service attacks that can knock websites offline
Authorities take down worldwide cyber-crime network
(New York Post) One of the world's biggest networks of hijacked computers, which is suspected of being used to attack online banking customers, has been taken down following police swoops in 10 countries, German police said on Thursday.
Europe ministers debate space future
(BBC) The International Space Station was a big sticking point in negotiations on day one of the European Space Agency's Ministerial Council. A familiar story.
National Security
San Bernardino Recalls Terror Attack With Silence, Speakers
(ABC News) At the moment when shooters unleashed terror on San Bernardino a year ago, county employees will remember their fallen colleagues with silence.
Internet Archive Successfully Fends Off Secret FBI Order
(The Intercept) The bureau continued to issue tens of thousands of NSLs in subsequent years, but few recipients followed in Kahle's footsteps. Those who did achieved limited but important transparency gains; as a result of one challenge, a California District Court ruled in 2013 that the everlasting gag orders accompanying NSLs are unconstitutional, and last year Congress passed a law forcing the FBI to commit to periodically reviewing such orders and rescinding them when a gag is no longer necessary to a case.
FBI Can Now Hack Computer Virus Victims, Suspects Located Anywhere With 1 Warrant
(US News & World Report) Changes to federal warrant rules took effect Thursday allowing a single magistrate judge to issue a search warrant to hack geographically diverse victims of computer viruses and criminal suspects who have hidden information that could reveal their location.
International Affairs
Putin hopes to fix ties with U.S., pool anti-terror efforts
(Associated Press) In a conciliatory state-of-the-nation address, Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday voiced hope for mending a rift with the U.S. and pooling efforts in fighting terrorism.
Turkey and Russia search for Syria cease-fire formula
(Associated Press) Turkish and Russian officials on Thursday held talks on the deteriorating conditions in eastern Aleppo but gave no indication they were close to a cease-fire as Syrian government forces pushed on with their assault on the beleaguered, rebel-held enclave.
Lithuanian civilians fearing Russian attack train for worst
(Associated Press) Rasa Miskinyte spent the day in a freezing forest near Lithuania's capital learning to gather water from a pond with a condom, to filter it through sand, charcoal and cloth, and to make her own stove from a beer can. She thought some basic survival skills would be helpful if Russian troops ever entered Vilnius and her family escaped into the woods.
Iraq hopes OPEC deal will help cover its massive war costs
(Associated Press) The government of Iraq is hoping that a new OPEC deal will help the war-weary country generate enough revenue to help pay for its costly, 2-year-old fight against the Islamic State group.
Lithuania Buys 168 Armored Personnel Carriers From Germany
(Defense News) The Lithuanian Ministry of Defence signed a deal with its German counterpart to purchase 168 M577 armored personnel carriers (APCs), the ministry said in a statement.
India Allows Private Sector to Manufacture Ammo
(Defense News) India has decided to reduce ammunition imports and instead procure all ammunition requirements from domestic sources.
Philippines looks to accelerate military procurement
(IHS Jane's 360) The Philippines Department of National Defense (DND) has introduced measures to accelerate the procurement of military equipment, a DND official has confirmed to IHS Jane's .
What Russian President Vladimir Putin hopes to get from a Trump administration
(Los Angeles Times) Perhaps more than at any time since the Cold War, Kremlinologists are working overtime to decode Russia — galvanized, in part, by Donald Trump's election as the next U.S. president.
Baltic states are training in extreme survival skills to prepare for 'Russian invasion'
(The Independent) The capabilities, the readiness — this is the only way to stop Russian aggression in the region,' Lithuania's defence minister says
Commentary & Analysis
Trump will face tough questions on future of nuclear arsenal
(Associated Press) For all the concerns raised in the presidential campaign about Donald Trump's fitness to command America's nuclear arsenal, the immediate questions he's likely to face as president aren't about launching these weapons, but modernizing them.
Analysis: World air forces on the rise
(Craig Hoyle, Flightglobal) If global instability is indeed the "new normal", then the last 12 months brought more of the same, with major conflicts having continued to involve military air arms in the skies above nations including Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Yemen.
ISIS, Afghanistan's Accidental Broker?
(Sune Engel Rasmussen, New York Times) Militants loyal to the Islamic State have now taken the fight to the capital: Over the past few months, they have carried out three massive attacks on Shia civilians in Kabul, including one last week that killed more than 30 people. At no point since a mass execution by the Taliban in Bamiyan province in 2001 have Afghanistan's Shias been as targeted as they are now.
An Old Foe Awaits A New President
(Michael Gerson, Washington Post) When Donald Trump first strides into the Oval Office as president, his perfect day is likely to be ruined by a file marked "North Korea." Trump's (first? only?) term in office may include either a messy confrontation with an unpredictable and highly combustible regime, or a rogue nation gaining the power to destroy large portions of Los Angeles with nuclear weapons. Or both.
The FBI Should be Enhancing US Cybersecurity, Not Undermining It
(Susan Landau, Lawfare) But one has to ask: what was the FBI thinking? Today the U.S. uses a single warrant issued in the United States to hack into computers in over a hundred nations around the world. Does that legitimize Chinese hacking into the machines of protesters living in the U.S., the U.K., or elsewhere? Or of the Russian, the Iranians, or the North Koreans to do so?
Getting South Asia On Track: Ideas For The Next President
(C. Christine Fair, War on the Rocks) During the presidential debates, the myriad policy challenges in South Asia were not discussed. Yet it is South Asia where some of the most obdurate and intractable policy challenges reside.

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