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Sunday, December 11, 2016

Syrian Army 'Suspends Aleppo Fighting'

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Dec 09, 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. Former Marine and astronaut, U.S. Sen. John Glenn of Ohio has died at 95
(Associated Press) Marine aviator John Glenn, whose 1962 flight as the first U.S. astronaut to orbit the Earth made him an all-American hero and propelled him to a long career in the U.S. Senate, died Thursday. The last survivor of the original Mercury 7 astronauts was 95.
2. Republicans ready to launch wide-ranging probe of Russia, despite Trump's stance
(Washington Post) Leading Senate Republicans are preparing to launch a coordinated and wide-ranging probe into Russia's alleged meddling in the U.S. elections and its potential cyberthreats to the military, digging deep into what they view as corrosive interference in the nation's institutions.
3. Philippines says it will not aid U.S. in patrolling the South China Sea
(Associated Press) The Philippine defense secretary said Thursday it is highly unlikely his country will allow the U.S. military to use it as a springboard for freedom-of-navigation patrols in the disputed South China Sea.
4. Syria conflict: Army 'suspends Aleppo fighting'
(BBC) The move is to allow for the evacuation of civilians trapped in the battle zone. Mr Lavrov said some 8,000 people would be taken out.
5. Poll: Sequestration has hurt military's trust for political leaders
(Washington Examiner) A new study on military families released Thursday found that sequestration is more than just a Washington buzzword.


Donald Trump & the Presidency
Trump renews China criticism, visits Ohio State attack victims on 'Thank You' tour
(Fox News) President-elect Donald Trump said Thursday that the Chinese "haven't played by the rules, and they know it's time that they're going to start" as his victory tour of states of states that helped him win the presidency made its way to Iowa.
Donald Trump's Cabinet Selections Signal Deregulation Moves Are Coming
(Wall Street Journal) Business leaders are predicting a dramatic unraveling of regulations on everything from overtime pay to power-plant emission rules as Donald Trump seeks to fill his cabinet with determined adversaries of the agencies they will lead.
Admiral: 'You can bet' Pearl Harbor survivors and victims always stood for the national anthem
(Associated Press) U.S. Pacific Command Commander Adm. Harry Harris says those who served during the attack on Pearl Harbor never failed to stand for the national anthem.
U.S. official warns of North Korean nuclear capabilities
(Associated Press) North Korea now has the capability to launch a nuclear weapon, a senior U.S. military official said Thursday, adding that while the U.S. believes Pyongyang can mount a warhead on a missile, it's not clear that it can hit a target.
Private label groceries coming to commissaries in May
(Military Times) Commissary customers worldwide will start seeing private label products on their stores' shelves in May 2017, with an initial assortment of about 400 items, officials announced today.
US vows to expand ties with 'major defence partner' India as Ashton Carter meets Manohar Parrikar
(Times of India) India and the United States on Thursday vowed to expand the bilateral defence cooperation as outgoing American defence secretary Ashton Carter met his counterpart Manohar Parrikar here for the record breaking seventh time and termed New Delhi as a "major defence partner".
Carter is on an unannounced visit to Afghanistan
(Associated Press) Defense Secretary Ash Carter on Friday made an unannounced visit to Afghanistan to consult with military commanders and deliver a pre-holiday pep talk to U.S. troops.
Overseas Operations
An ISIS video tells its followers to attack Shiites and Americans in Bahrain
(Associated Press) The Islamic State group is calling on its followers to launch attacks in Bahrain, including those targeting American military personnel stationed on the tiny island ahead of a visit by the U.S. defense secretary.
U.S. official: 50,000 Islamic State militants killed to date
(Associated Press) The U.S.-led coalition has killed 50,000 Islamic State militants in the last two years in Iraq and Syria, a senior U.S. military official said Thursday, describing a conservative total that is a bit larger than what others have stated before.
Army reopens investigation into former Green Beret Matthew Golsteyn
(Army Times) The Army has reopened its investigation into a decorated former Green Beret accused of killing an unarmed suspected bombmaker in Afghanistan.


Army moves to beef up armored force
(Army Times) It was a big week for the 1st Armored Division both home and abroad, as the 3rd Brigade Combat Team in Kuwait carried out a combined live-fire exercise and back home, the 2nd brigade completed its transition from a training unit to a deployable combat team.
Army speeds up vetting process for training apps
(Army Times) The Army's Training and Doctrine Command is speeding up the process it uses to vet and approve mobile apps that soldiers can use on their smartphones and tablets.
Former Army coach Bob Sutton: nothing a given in Army-Navy
(Associated Press) Bob Sutton is still riveted by America's Game, even if he's far from the service academy world that once consumed him when he coached at Army.
GOP pushes against potential Bergdahl pardon
(The Hill) Twenty-eight House Republicans are pushing President Obama to reject Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl's request for a pardon.
Arizona county wants mountain to be named for fallen Navy SEAL
(Associated Press) The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors wants the tallest peak in a mountain range south of Phoenix named in honor of a fallen Navy SEAL.
Navy's futuristic-looking USS Zumwalt arriving in homeport
(Associated Press) The U.S. Navy's biggest, most expensive and most technologically advanced destroyer arrived at its homeport on Thursday after a nearly four-month transit that included some hiccups, such as a high-profile breakdown in the Panama Canal.
Navy's futuristic destroyer glides past Chinese warships, docks in San Diego
(San Diego Union-Tribune) Navy Capt. Elmo "Bud" Zumwalt took the helm of the Dewey during that late autumn of 1959 as it steamed down the Kennebec River to Boston Naval Shipyard, where the nation's first guided-missile destroyer-leader would be hailed as a Cold War technological marvel.
Air Force
CMSgt promotion rate hits 30-year high as 531 senior NCOs are selected
(Air Force Times) The selection rate for chief master sergeant hit its highest point in three decades this month as the Air Force chose 531 E-8s for promotion.
Air Guard base at Sky Harbor to be renamed after Goldwater
(Associated Press) The Arizona Air National Guard base on the south side of Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix is being renamed to honor Barry Goldwater, the late Arizona senator and former Air National Guard member.
U.S. Air Force Is Looking For A Long-Range Stealthy UAV
(Aviation Week) The U.S. Air Force is "aggressively" pursuing a long-range, stealthy unmanned surveillance aircraft to go places its high-altitude Lockheed Martin U-2S and Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Global Hawk cannot, according to the Pentagon's director for defense intelligence warfighter support.
Marine Corps
Marine Hornet pilot killed in crash off Japan
(Marine Corps Times) Marine Capt. Jake Frederick was killed when the F/A-18C he was flying crashed Wednesday in the Pacific Ocean, about 120 miles southeast of Iwakuni, Japan, the Marine Corps confirmed on Thursday.
Judge throws out Marine Corps decision to remove officer who sent classified warning to colleagues
(Washington Post) A federal judge has tossed out a Marine Corps decision to remove an officer from the service after he sent classified information through an unclassified email server while warning colleagues in Afghanistan about the security threat posed by a police chief whose teenage servant later killed three Marines.
U.S. Acts To End Drunken Driving On Okinawa
(Stars & Stripes) While the military has succeeded in reducing other crimes by servicemembers, their dependents and civilian workers – cutting the rate well below that of the general Okinawan populace – drunken driving has remained relatively steady in recent years and has kept up with or surpassed the local community, which has had Japan's highest number of drunken driving crashes for decades.
Coast Guard
22 mayday hoax calls made for Columbia River; Coast Guard looking for caller
(KATU) There have been 22 false 'mayday' calls since April, and Coast Guard officials said they suspect that the calls were made by the same person. They've traced the calls to Chinook, Washington and somewhere between Warrenton and Seaside on the Oregon coast.
Coast Guard Suspends Search for 2 Crew Members off Aleutians
(Associated Press) The Coast Guard says it's suspending a search for two missing crew members off Alaska's Aleutian Islands.
National Guard
National Guard members in Devils Lake to be deployed to Afghanistan
(Grand Forks Herald) A send-off ceremony will be held at 1 p.m. Sunday at the Devils Lake High School Sports Center for about 60 soldiers from the 136th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, according to a news release. The deployment will happen early next year, the National Guard said, adding the mission should last 12 months.
Defense Industry
UAE Apaches, Saudi Chinooks Top Massive $7.9 Billion Weapon Sales Plan
(Defense News) As the 114 th Congress comes to a close, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) has cleared five notifications of weapon sales to Congress, including Chinook helicopters for Saudi Arabia, Apache helicopters for the UAE and TOW missiles for Morocco.
Britain selects land navigation system
(C4ISRNET) Britain has selected Honeywell's TALIN inertial land navigation system for its new armored fighting vehicles.
Peru Wants US Army Stryker Infantry Carrier Vehicles
(Defense News) Some of the Army's excess flat-bottomed Stryker Infantry Carrier Vehicles could go to Peru.
Enlighten awarded big-data security contract
(C4ISRNET) Enlighten IT Consulting has been awarded a $40 million task order for continued development of the Big Data Platform (BDP).
French Defense Minister Seeks to Reassure RTD Employees of Job Security
(Defense News) French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has told Renault Trucks Defense (RTD) staff that there is little to be concerned about following the announced sale of the military vehicle builder, which is seen as a strategic industrial capability.
Just before Trump blasted Air Force One deal, Boeing pledged $1 million for inauguration
(Washington Post) A day before President-elect Donald Trump threatened one of Boeing's most high-profile defense procurements, the deal to build the new Air Force One, the company had finalized a deal to pledge $1 million for his inaugural festivities, the company said Thursday.
U.S. Army contracts BAE Systems for rocket propellant grains
(UPI) The grains will be used to power rockets equipped on rotary and fixed-wing aircraft. The MK90 grains ordered comprise the propulsion component for the MK66 rocket motor, part of the Hydra 70 family of rocket systems used by the U.S. armed forces.
New law would increase survivor benefits for fallen Guardsmen and reservists
(Washington Examiner) Melinda Barnes Runk remembers that summer day in 2007 when a uniformed service member and a religious leader showed up at her house to tell her that her husband, an Apache helicopter pilot in the Utah National Guard, had died in a helicopter crash.
Sad ending for Iraq War vet who shed light on PTSD
(CBS News) For many who've been through war, the battles continue long after the guns go silent.
Veterans Eye Flint Water Crisis as Next Target Following the Standing Rock Protests
(ABC News) Woodson and Grundy said that Veterans for Standing Rock, the group of at least 2,000 U.S. military veterans who arrived in North Dakota amid frigid cold temperatures last weekend to demonstrate against the controversial Dakota Access oil pipeline, immediately saw parallels to the experience of the Native Americans at Standing Rock to the community of Flint, where elevated lead levels were found in the municipal water system last year, creating a health crisis.
Fundraiser that targeted veterans banned in Minnesota
(Star Tribune) A Michigan fundraiser that targeted veterans and seniors will be banned from operating in Minnesota and has agreed to pay $200,000 to settle a lawsuit that accused it of engaging in deception and failing to provide required disclosures about what it does.
Congress & Politics
Combat vet Duckworth worried Congress is ignoring importance of civilian-run military
(Military Times) Rep. Tammy Duckworth worries her congressional colleagues don't fully appreciate the importance of a civilian-run military. As a combat-wounded Iraq War veteran and incoming Illinois senator, she finds that troubling.
Senators to Trump: Get tough on Russia over Ukraine
(The Hill) A bipartisan group of 27 senators is calling on President-elect Donald Trump to stand up to Russian aggression against Ukraine.
Kaine bashes Flynn for pushing '4th grader' conspiracy
(Washington Examiner) Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., on Thursday accused retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, President-elect Trump's incoming national security adviser, of being either "highly gullible" or unable to determine what is fact or fiction by pushing conspiracy theories about Democrats.
McCain and Trump are talking 'defense stuff'
(Washington Examiner) President-elect Trump and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., are on speaking terms, despite engaging in a war of words throughout the 2016 election cycle.
US Senate Passes NDAA With AT&L Split, End-Strength Boost
(Defense News) The US Senate has overwhelmingly passed the $618.7 billion defense policy bill that strips added jets and ships, but boosts military manpower above President Barack Obama's budget.
Oversight panel demands answers on Pentagon waste report
(The Hill) A bipartisan group of 31 House lawmakers sent a letter to Defense Secretary Ash Carter on Thursday demanding answers after a news report alleged the Pentagon tried to hide a study that showed $125 billion in waste.
Cyber, Space & Surveillance
Tighe: Insider threat is never going away
(C4ISRNET) The insider threat is never going to go away.
Technologies and interoperability of the third offset
(C4ISRNET) While technology is said not to be at the core of the so-called third offset strategy, it is of course a major component.
Georgia's secretary of state: DHS tried to breach our firewall
(CyberScoop) Georgia's secretary of state has claimed the Department of Homeland Security tried to breach his office's firewall and has issued a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson asking for an explanation.
John Glenn hails Jeff Bezos' space feats in a letter written just days before astronaut's death
(GeekWire) "As the original Glenn, I can tell you I see the day coming when people will board spacecraft the same way millions of us now board jetliners," the letter read. "When that happens, it will be largely because of your epic achievements this year."
National Security
FBI will increasingly rely on foreign help to stop hackers, Assistant AG says
(CyberScoop) The emergence of cybercrime as a global phenomenon is causing the FBI and Justice Department to increasingly rely on international law enforcement collaboration, legal treaties and informal agreements in addition to cooperation from the private sector, Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division Leslie Caldwell described, Thursday.
International Affairs
Not the first: A Japanese PM visited Pearl Harbor in 1951
(Associated Press) The news media widely reported this week that Shinzo Abe will be the first Japanese prime minister to visit Pearl Harbor when he goes later this month — but he won't be.
Russia says Aleppo combat suspended, residents say no let-up
(Associated Press) Russia said the Syrian army was suspending combat operations in Aleppo late Thursday to allow for the evacuation of civilians from besieged rebel-held neighborhoods, but residents and fighters reported no let-up in the bombing and shelling campaign on the opposition's ever-shrinking enclave.
Philippines says it will not aid U.S. in patrolling the South China Sea
(Associated Press) The Philippine defense secretary said Thursday it is highly unlikely his country will allow the U.S. military to use it as a springboard for freedom-of-navigation patrols in the disputed South China Sea.
Israel 'Ready' to Operate F-35s Without Ever Actually Flying Them
(Defense News) Israel's scheduled Dec. 12 receipt of its first pair of F-35I Adir (Awesome) fighters caps nearly a decade of planning, and that's all before a single Israel Air Force pilot has actually taken to the skies in its new stealth weapon.
Risking Beijing's Ire, Vietnam Begins Dredging On South China Sea Reef
(Reuters) Vietnam has begun dredging work on a disputed reef in the South China Sea, satellite imagery shows, the latest move by the Communist state to bolster its claims in the strategic waterway.
France, Australia Reach Deal to Share Secrets on Defense Programs
(Defense News) France and Australia yesterday signed a treaty for sharing classified information, a bilateral agreement aimed at supporting work on the Future Submarine Program, the two countries said Thursday.
Outgoing US Defense Secretary Reiterates Strong Indo-US Relations
(Defense News) Outgoing US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter has described India as a major defense partner during his opening remarks Thursday at a meeting with his Indian counterpart.
Iraq human rights lawyer admits string of misconduct charges
(Guardian) A human rights lawyer who was pursued by the government after an inquiry rejected allegations that British troops murdered and tortured Iraqi civilians has admitted paying a middle man to find his clients in Iraq.
Commentary & Analysis
Farewell to Asia: Our columnist accompanies the outgoing defence secretary on his final world tour
(The Economist) Mr Trump does not merely find foreigners ungrateful. He is scornful of multinational compacts and regional alliances, preferring bilateral negotiations and one-on-one tests of strength and guile. That is one reason why he has promised to pull out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a trade deal between 12 Pacific Rim nations, including Japan. Small wonder that Mr Carter began his 25,000-mile farewell trip with stops in Asia and repeated paeans to the rebalance.
Air Force One Is Just the Tip of the Pentagon Cost Overrun Iceberg
(Gerald Skoning, American Spectator) When it comes to cost overruns, Exhibit A is incontestably the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, a plane whose total acquisition costs were pegged at $233 billion back in 2001. (Even the F-35 pilot's helmet costs $400,000 apiece.) That price now is an estimated $1.4 trillion for far fewer than the 2,443 planes originally planned. Put another way, the Pentagon is spending far more on this plane than Australia's entire GDP ($924 billion).
A Turf War Over Terrorism
(David Ignatius, Washington Post) Given the turf wars and interagency rivalries that have long surrounded U.S. Special Operations forces, President Obama probably didn't do the commandos any favors when he delivered his last big military speech at the base in Tampa where they're headquartered.
Abe And Putin May Finally End World War II Next Week
(Daniel Sneider, Noah Sneider, Foreign Policy) If all goes according to plan, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will slip into a steaming bath next week with Russian President Vladimir Putin at a hot spring in Abe's hometown of Nagato, which faces Russia across the Sea of Japan. Abe's goal in hosting Putin at a traditional onsen, as such hot spring baths are known, is nothing less than making history – to persuade the Russian leader to finally sign a peace treaty that would formally settle World War II.
ISIS In The Caribbean
(Simon Cottee, The Atlantic) Yet still there are people making the long and precarious 6,000-mile journey from Trinidad to Syria in an effort to live there. Just three days before the release of Dabiq 15, eight were detained in southern Turkey, attempting to cross into ISIS-controlled territory in Syria. All were female, and they included children.

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