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Monday, December 5, 2016

Early Bird Brief: Trump, Taiwan and China

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Dec 05, 2016    
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Today's Top 5
1. Trump's Taiwan phone call was long planned, say people who were involved
(Washington Post) Donald Trump's protocol-breaking telephone call with Taiwan's leader was an intentionally provocative move that establishes the incoming president as a break with the past, according to interviews with people involved in the planning.
2. Army Blocks Drilling of Dakota Access Oil Pipeline
(New York Times) The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe won a major victory on Sunday in its battle to block an oil pipeline being built near its reservation when the Department of the Army announced that it would not allow the pipeline to be drilled under a dammed section of the Missouri River.
3. Petraeus on His Mishandling of Classified Information: 'I Made a Serious Mistake'
(ABC News) Retired Gen. David Petraeus, a former CIA director, responded to reported concerns of some Republican senators about his possible nomination for secretary of state by acknowledging he "made a serious mistake" in mishandling classified information while he ran the nation's chief spy agency.
4. Red Cross Poll: Americans Warm to Torture and Indiscriminate Bombing
(Daily Beast) Americans are more likely to accept torture and indiscriminate bombing of suspected terrorists than they were two decades ago, according to a poll by the International Committee of the Red Cross.
5. Afghan Security Crisis Sets Stage for Terrorists' Resurgence
(New York Times) Afghanistan's security crisis is fueling new opportunities for Al Qaeda, the Islamic State and other extremist groups, Afghan and American officials say, voicing concerns that the original American mission in the country — removing its use as a terrorist haven — is at risk.


Donald Trump & the Presidency
Trump speaks with Taiwanese president, a major break with decades of U.S. policy on China
(Washington Post) The call is the first known contact between a U.S. president or president-elect with a Taiwanese leader since before the United States broke diplomatic relations with the island in 1979.
At defense forum, Trump's promises on spending draw praise, but other questions linger
(Los Angeles Times) Attendees at the Reagan National Defense Forum were muted when it came to talking about the president-elect. Panel discussions centered on security threats from Russia, North Korea and Islamic State, as well as cyberattacks and the strength of U.S. forces. But panelists rarely ventured into questions of how Trump would be likely to handle such issues.
Here's why officers can't easily become defense secretaries
(Associated Press) U.S. law states that a nominee for defense secretary must have been out of the active-duty military for seven years.
Japanese government eager to learn Mattis' views on Japan
(The Japan News) The Japanese government is hastening to gather information on retired U.S. Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis, whom U.S. President-elect Donald Trump has chosen as the next secretary of defense. Mattis is said to have had hardly any contact with Japan and his stance toward Japan is unknown.
In Trump's Security Pick, Michael Flynn, 'Sharp Elbows' and No Dissent
(New York Times) Many of those who observed the general's time at the Defense Intelligence Agency described him as someone who alienated both superiors and subordinates with his sharp temperament, his refusal to brook dissent, and what his critics considered a conspiratorial worldview.
Trump Defense Plan Still a Guessing Game
(National Defense) Defense officials and industry executives are grasping for clues into the Trump administration's thinking on how it plans to deliver on his pledge to strengthen the U.S. military and toughen the nation's security stance.
Trump widens secretary of State search as Petraeus pleads his case
(USA Today) President-elect Donald Trump is widening his search for a secretary of State after high-profile meetings with four top candidates failed to yield a decision last week
Netanyahu says will discuss with Trump 'bad' Iran nuclear deal
(Reuters) Netanyahu has been a harsh critic of the nuclear deal, a legacy foreign policy achievement for President Barack Obama. But he had largely refrained from attacking the pact in recent months as Israeli and U.S. negotiators finalised a 10-year, $38 billion military aid package for Israel.
Frank Kendall on the NDAA and the End of AT&L
(Defense News) Less than a day after the House voted overwhelmingly on a National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that eliminates his job, Frank Kendall – now potentially the last Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics – is relatively calm about the change.
Defense Secretary Ash Carter: U.S., partners need to stay in Iraq after ISIS defeat
(Associated Press) The American military, along with its international partners, will need to remain in Iraq even after the expected defeat of the Islamic State group, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said Saturday.


Sequester special report: Military men and women hardest hit
(Washington Examiner) Sequestration was supposed to be the poison pill never swallowed, proof that Congress can do the right thing once all other options are exhausted. But across-the-board spending limits set into motion by Congress in 2011 actually happened, and they either failed miserably or succeeded brilliantly, depending on your perspective.
U.S. releases Guantanamo prisoner, resettles him in Cape Verde
(Associated Press) A prisoner from Yemen at the Guantanamo Bay detention center has been released and sent to the West African nation of Cape Verde for resettlement.
A Cabinet position for Petraeus; disciplinary actions for Broadwell after affair
(The Hill) The Pentagon decided in February it would not pursue any further punishment for Petraeus, but is now seeking to take actions against Paula Broadwell, an Army Reserves major, according to a defense official.
Photos expose possible rodent problem at Okinawa commissary
(Stars & Stripes) It has been referred to jokingly as "Splinter," "Stuart Little" and "Ratatouille," but a hairy visitor to Kadena Air Base's commissary has raised concerns about a rodent problem at the facility.
Overseas Operations
Fearing abandonment by Trump, CIA-backed rebels in Syria mull alternatives
(Washington Post) Three years after the CIA began secretly shipping lethal aid to rebels fighting against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, battlefield losses and fears that a Donald Trump administration will abandon them have left tens of thousands of opposition fighters weighing their alternatives.
How ISIS Returned to Syria
(Daily Beast) After nearly a decade of sponsoring jihad in next-door Iraq, Assad lost a third of his country to the same proxies.
Satellite Photos Show ISIS Getting Squeezed in Mosul
(Daily Beast) The so-called Islamic State is finding it harder to get to work on the battlefields around Mosul, thanks to a series of U.S. coalition strikes that have taken out all but one major bridge across the indigo-blue Tigris River that bisects Iraq's second largest city.
Afghan President Urges Pakistan To Spend Aid Money On Fighting Terrorism
(Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty) Afghan President Ashraf Ghani says that the $500 million that Pakistan has pledged for reconstruction of Afghanistan would be better spent on fighting terrorism. Speaking at an international conference, Ghani said that "some states provide sanctuary and tolerate" terrorist networks.
The Army is developing 'comfortable' flame-resistant wool for its combat uniforms
(Army Times) Flame-resistant. Breathable. Moisture wicking. These words don't usually come to mind when thinking of wool, but Army researchers are hoping a wool-blend fabric that does all three will improve combat uniforms for troops.
Bergdahl seeks pardon from Obama to avert desertion trial
(Associated Press) White House and Justice Department officials said that Bergdahl had submitted copies of the clemency request seeking leniency.
Army operationalizing cyber, EMS
(C4ISRNET) While all military services are working to operationalize the cyber domain through the joint Cyber Command, its mission force and respective service cyber components, the Army is working to operationalize the electromagnetic spectrum and similar disciplines.
Army chief of staff visits Bragg, tells troops to be ready
(Fayetteville Observer) Speaking at a promotion ceremony for an 82nd Airborne Division general, Gen. Mark Milley said the nation would need the forces of Fort Bragg, which are known for being ready to deploy anywhere in the world on short notice.
Podcasts to look back at 82nd Airborne's history
(Fayetteville Observer) The year 2017 will be filled with events marking the historic achievements of the All Americans.
Army pilot program grows as Guard BCT dons iconic 2nd Infantry Division patch
(Army Times) The Washington National Guard's newly minted 81st Stryker Brigade Combat Team on Saturday switched out their raven patches for the iconic "Indian head" worn by the 2nd Infantry Division, marking the beginning of a year-long training partnership with the active Army.
Pearl Harbor: Survivors seek honors for sailor who saved 6 in USS Arizona attack
(Arizona Republic) In a few short minutes, Joe George saved the lives of six Arizona crewmen, the last to escape the burning ship before it sank.
Littoral Combat Ship, at a Crossroads
(DefenseOne) With the ship's purchase plans in doubt, detractors exchange fire with Navy supporters at contentious Senate hearing.
Five things you need to know about flu season
(Navy Times) It's an enemy that can make your unit ineffective faster than any human adversary — it's flu season.
The Ike is heading home on time – seven-month deployments can actually happen
(Navy Times) The carrier Eisenhower and its strike group are currently on track for a seven-month deployment, which would mark a significant achievement for Navy leaders who have struggled to give sailors more predictable deployment lengths while meeting the service's presence commitments in the Asia-Pacific and Middle East. The erratic deployment schedule also plays hell with the Navy's ability to plan scheduled maintenance in the shipyards.
Carrying on legacy of service, submarine Colorado is christened
(The New London Day) ith two whacks of a bottle of sparkling wine from a vineyard in the capitol of the ship's namesake state, which was chilled in a bucket of Colorado River water, a daughter of the secretary of the Navy christened the future submarine Colorado in a ceremony Saturday.
Former Navy official gets six years in prison for taking $350,000 in bribes from 'Fat Leonard'
(Washington Post) A retired U.S. Navy official was sentenced to six years in federal prison after he admitted taking more than $350,000 in bribes and sexual favors from an Asian defense contractor.
Navy's bomb testers seek new ways to blow things up
(Associated Press) Even by the standards of a military installation, Naval Surface Warfare Center Indian Head can be a dangerous place.
Sailor alleges mistreatment over wife's advocacy in Flint
(Associated Press) A Norfolk sailor alleges he was mistreated at work because of his wife's advocacy in the Flint, Michigan, crisis over lead-contaminated water and because the couple raised questions about lead detected in their off-base military housing.
Air Force
Offutt-based crew lauded for 2015 mission that put stranglehold on Islamic State in Iraq
(Omaha World-Herald) The aircrew of an Air Force RC-135W recount the mission that earned them the Air Force Association's Gen. Jerome F. O'Malley Award as the best reconnaissance crew of the year.
Pacific Air Forces sends team to address uptick in suicides
(Stars & Stripes) PACAF has sent a team to investigate the Yokota incidents, and will also evaluate Misawa and Kadena air bases, the 374th Wing commander said.
Air Force Band kicks off holiday season with museum flash mob
(Air Force Times) The Air Force Band this week continued its holiday tradition of surprise cheer with its annual flash mob in the nation's capital.
Air Force Retains Requirement to Carry 9 Troops in Draft RFP for Huey Replacement
(Defense News) The Air Force on Friday released its first draft for a replacement to the UH-1N Huey helicopter fleet, and appears to have rejected a potential requirement for a new aircraft to carry more troops than the current model.
Experienced combat controllers, PJs, TACPs get special duty pay boost
(Air Force Times) Combat controllers and pararescuemen with at least 12 months of experience in their jobs and some of the most highly qualified tactical air control party airmen will have their monthly special duty assignment pay boosted to $450 in fiscal 2017.
Marine Corps
MARSOC Facebook page takes down meme of 'Saint Mattis'
(Military Times) Posted after news broke that Mattis will be President-elect Donald Trump's nominee for secretary of defense, the meme is one of the many popular tributes to Mattis on the internet.
These Marines are the last to let fallen comrades down
(The Ledger) Of all 182,000 active-duty Marines, there are just 10 Body Bearers, making the unit based at the 8th and I barracks in Southeast Washington one of the smallest of the Corps.
Pride of the Pacific' trains new Sri Lankan marine corps
(Marine Corps Times) Camp Pendleton Marines wrapped up the first joint training mission with the newly created Sri Lankan marine corps last week, the latest sign of the U.S. military stepping up engagement in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.
Coast Guard
Crew of Alaska Juris abandoned their sinking ship on a mild summer day
(Seattle Times) The Coast Guard begins two weeks of hearings Monday into what caused the flooding that sank a Washington-based factory ship off Alaska, forcing the evacuation of its crew of 46.
National Guard
Toxic Armories: National Guard inaction exposes communities to lead
(The Oregonian) Every time a soldier pulled the trigger inside a National Guard gun range, a bullet cast off bits of lead. An 18-month investigation by The Oregonian/OregonLive has found that the Guard's neglect allowed toxic dust to spread, endangering soldiers and visitors to America's armories.
Defense Industry
Industrial Value to Influence Finnish Fighter Competition Outcome
(Defense News) The competitive nature of bids for Finland 's HX Fighter Replacement Program (HX-FRP) will intensify in the coming months as the five interested manufacturers scale up the industrial trade content of their respective offerings.
UK to Sign $125m Predator Deal
(Defense News) Michael Fallon, the United Kingdom's top defense official, on Saturday announced the signing of a $125m deal with General Atomics for Predator B unmanned systems, known as Protector drones in the UK.
U.S. Navy, shipbuilders ready for Trump's expansion plan
(Reuters) The U.S. arms industry is ready and capable of boosting production of new ships if President-elect Donald Trump makes good his vow to expand the U.S. Navy to 350 ships, Chief of Naval Operations Admiral John Richardson told Reuters.
Unemployment jumps to 6.5 percent for post-9/11 vets in November
(Military Times) But even with November's high unemployment rate included, the average 2016 rate is on track for 5 percent, a lower level of unemployment than has ever been recorded annually for post-9/11 veterans, Military Times calculations of Bureau of Labor Statistics information indicate.
PTSD treatment getting scrutiny in clinical trials at three military hospitals
(Fayetteville Observer) At Fort Bragg, Tripler Army Medical Center in Hawaii and Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, officials are hoping to gather data on at least 240 patients to provide the first scientific proof of the procedure's efficacy as a PTSD treatment.
Hundreds of veterans 'to put our bodies on the line' in pipeline protest
(USA Today) Tasheena Cloud said Saturday that she and the hundreds of other veterans who have been filing into this protest camp near the Dakota Access pipeline will remain peaceful when they put themselves between law enforcement officers and passionate demonstrators in coming days.
Former JCS chairman on his next mission: USA Basketball
(Military Times) The former top officer in the world's mightiest military has taken command of the world's mightiest basketball program.
Veterans at Risk for Infection from Unsterilized VA Dental Equipment
( Nearly 600 veterans learned that they could have hepatitis B, hepatitis C or HIV because a Department of Veterans Affairs dentist did not correctly disinfect his equipment over a one-year period, according to a VA statement.
Congress & Politics
Veto of defense authorization bill looks unlikely
(Military Times) If President Barack Obama wants to block the 2017 defense authorization bill, he'll have to do so without help from fellow Democrats on Capitol Hill.
Roe tapped to lead House Veterans' Affairs Committee next year
(Military Times) Republican House leaders selected four-term Tennessee Rep. Phil Roe to lead the chamber's Veterans' Affairs Committee next session, putting the former Army doctor in charge of their continued VA reform efforts.
Graham: Defense Hike Under Trump 'Harder Than It Looks'
(Defense News) Despite President-elect Donald Trump's pledge to raise defense spending, Sen. Lindsey Graham expects a tough path ahead.
A Speedy Confirmation for Mattis as US Defense Secretary? Here's How Congress Could Do It
(Defense News) Congressional Republicans may move to speedily confirm former US Marine Gen. James Mattis as defense secretary despite complaints his appointment upsets the balance of civil-military power in US foreign-policy institutions.
VA's top congressional critic could become the department's next secretary
(Military Times) Rep. Jeff Miller insists he has a largely positive view of the Department of Veterans Affairs, even if he has spent the last six years repeatedly blasting problems in the system.
Democrats Suspect Trump Influence in Stalled Russia Sanctions
(Foreign Policy) A key Republican says the Senate has run out of time this year to lock in tough U.S. sanctions against Russia for annexing Crimea in 2014 — opening attacks from Democrats who for years have been accused of being too soft on Moscow.
Cyber, Space & Surveillance
Obama commission urges Trump to strengthen cybersecurity
(Associated Press) The Presidential Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity spelled out actions the U.S. can take over the next five to 10 years.
Army operationalizing cyber, EMS
(C4ISRNET) While all military services are working to operationalize the cyber domain through the joint Cyber Command, its mission force and respective service cyber components, the Army is working to operationalize the electromagnetic spectrum and similar disciplines.
Advanced tech needed for 'inevitable' high-end conflict
(C4ISRNET) While initiatives such as the "third offset strategy" are actually aimed at ensuring conventional deterrence and peace, there is recognition that these capabilities are necessary to procure and operationalize in case a conflict ensues with another near-peer competitor.
New report examines DHS mission hurdles before Trump
(Federal Times) Coordination and interagency cooperation are still the ideals that the Department of Homeland Security will be striving for when Donald Trump takes office, a new report has found.
National Security
Snowden says Petraeus disclosed 'far more highly classified' secrets 'than I ever did'
(Yahoo) Edward Snowden says that former CIA Director Gen. David Petraeus — who is under consideration to become President-elect Donald Trump's secretary of state — disclosed "information that was far more highly classified than I ever did" and yet never "spent a single day in jail," according to an interview.
Iran condemns extension of nuclear-related sanctions by Senate
(Washington Post) Iranian officials and clerics vowed retaliation against the United States for congressional approval of an extension of nuclear-related sanctions, but Middle East analysts say they expect no substantive response from Iran in the waning weeks of the Obama administration.
International Affairs
Chaos erupts as Iraq delivers aid to Mosul
(Associated Press) Chaos erupted in eastern Mosul on Sunday when hundreds of civilians overwhelmed aid trucks distributing food and water.
Italy PM resigns after referendum defeat
(BBC) Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has resigned after suffering a heavy defeat in a referendum over his plan to reform the constitution.
France pledges $30 million for wartime heritage protection
(Associated Press) France committed $30 million toward protecting cultural heritage sites during wartime on Saturday, a first step in the creation of an international fund aimed at preventing destruction like that carried out by Islamic State militants.
UK Government's Brexit Plans in Hands of Supreme Court
(New York Times) Prime Minister Theresa May's government will ask Supreme Court justices to overturn a ruling that Parliament must hold a vote before Britain's exit negotiations can begin — a case that has raised a constitutional quandary and inflamed the country's heated debate about Brexit.
New Zealand prime minister John Key resigns
(The Guardian) He said stepping down was the hardest decision he had ever had to make, but there was "no way" he could have served a full fourth term.
Austrians reject far right in presidential election
(Reuters) Austria's far-right presidential candidate was soundly defeated on Sunday, confounding forecasts of a tight election in which he would ride a wave of populism sweeping the West. Norbert Hofer lost to former Greens leader Alexander Van der Bellen, who had put the June Brexit referendum at the center of his campaign, saying the far right would lead Austria down the same road and warning voters not to "play with this fire."
Kerry assails Israel over West Bank, warns of heading toward 'a place of danger'
(Washington Post) Using unusually blunt language, Kerry said he had been "pushing uphill" with the Israeli government because a majority of the ruling coalition does not support a two-state solution.
Syrian army tells rebels in Aleppo to leave or die
(Associated Press) The Syrian army on Sunday ordered rebels in Aleppo to leave the city or face "inevitable death," as a series of airstrikes on an opposition-held town elsewhere in the country killed 21 people, including three children.
Prosecutors To Begin Closing Arguments In Mladic's Genocide Trial
(Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty) The long and complicated genocide trial of former Bosnian Serb military commander Ratko Mladic is nearing its crest this week, more than 20 years after the end of the 1992-95 Bosnian war.
U.N. appeals for $22.2 billion in 2017 humanitarian funds, its highest request ever
(Washington Post) This money is designed to help the work performed by the international body and nongovernmental organizations partnering with it to aid people in dire need worldwide, with estimates drawn up in conjunction with teams in the field.
Commentary & Analysis
How to read Donald Trump's call with Taiwan's president
(Lexington in The Economist) Are Trump-backers correct in calling this outreach to Tsai Ing-wen a deft move?
Trump Showing Signs of Changing U.S. Security Relationships in Asia
(Sam LaGrone in USNI News) Accepting the congratulatory call from Tsai Ing-wen was a clear signal to China that everything — from trade to diplomacy to security — was on the table for negotiation. As a statement from the transition put it: The two "noted the close economic, political and security ties" between Taiwan and the United States.
Donald Trump Just Gave Chinese Hawks a Great Talking Point on the South China Sea
(Ankit Panda in The Diplomat) Taking to Twitter, Trump issued two tweets, mentioning the South China Sea alongside economic issues on the U.S.-China agenda.
An Experienced Choice for the Pentagon
(Editorial in New York Times) If confirmed, General James Mattis could bring a voice of reason to a White House that will be led by a dangerously ignorant president who has so far shown too little interest in opposing views.
Mattis signals a new, better way forward for the military
(John Venable in The Hill) Mattis will bring vision, resolve and realism to the Pentagon – much-needed qualities in these times.
The General Who Should Lead the Pentagon
(Thomas Ricks in New York Times) He has demonstrated repeatedly that he believes it part of his duty to give his candid views to his superiors.
Aerospace Industries Association: Why we're optimistic about defense spending under Trump
(David Melcher in Washington Examiner) President-elect Trump was vocal during the campaign about lifting budget caps on defense. With government unified under single-party control for at least the next two years, there's an opportunity for agreement on this front.
President Trump and the Art of the 'Ultimate' Israel-Palestine Peace Deal
(Elliott Abrams and Uri Sadot in Foreign Policy) The two-state solution is not lost for the incoming administration. But Trump will have to pick his battles on settlements wisely.
Afghanistan will be the Trump Administration's First Foreign Policy Crisis
(Jonathan Schroden in War on the Rocks) The issue that is most likely to be the first real foreign policy crisis of the Trump administration is the one that received no discussion at all during the presidential debates – Afghanistan.
How President Trump Can Avert A Crisis In U.S. Space Policy
(Loren Thompson in Forbes) A new crisis in U.S. space policy could unfold during President-elect Donald Trump's time in office, thanks to the policies President Barack Obama put in place.
On The Waiting List For Sugar, Cooking Oil In Turkmenistan
(Radio Free Europe) As difficult as it is to get a clear look into Central Asia's "hermit kingdom," it has become obvious the country is in a severe economic crisis, despite what the government says or what state media reports.

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