Today's Top 5
    1. Jim Mattis says Senate bill hamstrings US cyber action
(Washington Examiner) Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has fired off letters to lawmakers listing his objections to the two versions of the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act, including his fear that language in the bill limits the ability of the U.S. to take decisive action against cyber threats.
 
    2. Lawmaker: Trump told military widow that her husband ‘knew what he signed up for’
(Military Times) President Trump disputes the account of the phone call, saying the lawmaker "fabricated" it.
 
    3. Boeing Examining High-Use Super Hornets to Validate Life-Extension Plans; Already Buying Material, Setting Up Facility
(USNI News) The Boeing team preparing for the F/A-18E-F Super Hornet service life modification (SLM) program has begun tearing into one of the fleet’s most-used aircraft and found the plane does not have as much age-related damage as predicted, the company’s service life modification program director told USNI News.
 
    4. Spain moves to suspend Catalan autonomy
(BBC) Spain is to start suspending Catalonian autonomy on Saturday, after its leader threatened to declare independence.
 
    5. Early numbers show the Army’s new fitness test is reducing injuries in basic training
(Army Times) In the 10 months since the Army implemented an occupational fitness test for potential recruits, injury and drop-out rates are down at basic training, officials said.
 
Overseas Operations
    US-backed Syrian fighters clearing war remnants in Raqqa
(The Associated Press) U.S.-backed forces fighting Islamic State militants in Syria were removing land mines and clearing main roads in Raqqa on Wednesday, a day after their commanders declared the city was under their control.
 
    Al-Qaida set to gain as Islamic State group disintegrates
(The Associated Press) While the U.S.-led coalition and Russian-backed Syrian troops have been focused on driving ISIS from the Syria, an al-Qaida-linked insurgent coalition has consolidated control and may be looking to return to Osama bin Laden’s strategy of attacking the West.
 
Pentagon
    DSCA head looking at creating security cooperation university, among other ideas
(Defense News) The new head of the Defense Security Cooperation Agency is seriously considering the creation of a security cooperation university, as he looks for ways to speed the famously deliberate foreign military sales system.
 
Army
    Retired Army two-star, charged with raping a minor, to face court-martial
(Army Times) A retired Army major general will go to court-martial on charges that he allegedly raped a minor on multiple occasions over a period of at least six years.
 
    TRADOC CSM: Bring drill sergeants back to AIT
(Army Times) Over 10 years ago, the Army introduced the concept of the advanced individual platoon sergeant: a noncommissioned officer who would lead new soldiers, fresh out of basic, through their second round of training before heading into their first units.
 
    ‘It looks like we’re afraid of foreigners’: Army turns away some green-card holders
(Washington Post) The U.S. Army has stopped enlisting some immigrants who are legal permanent residents while mandating lengthy delays for others, part of a controversial effort across the military to tighten security in the ranks by subjecting foreign-born recruits to tougher background checks.
 
Navy
    Two Kings Bay sailors found dead of suspected drug overdoses
(Navy Times) Petty Officer 1st Class Brian Jerrell and Petty Officer 2nd Class Ty Bell were both found dead at the same off-base residence.
 
    Destroyer that Protected U.S. Ships From Houthi Cruise Missiles Recognized as Best Atlantic Fleet Ship
(USNI News) USS Mason (DDG-87), the ship that warded off multiple cruise missile attacks last year to protect U.S. ships in the Red Sea, was recognized as the best ship in the U.S. Atlantic fleet in 2016, according to a Tuesday release from Naval Surface Force Atlantic.
 
Air Force
    B-21 cost info to stay secret despite new Air Force leadership
(Defense News) Don’t hold your breath waiting for the contract value of the B-21 Raider to be revealed.
 
    CFC’s new online portal may lead more donors to military family, youth programs
(Military Times) The Combined Federal Campaign launched its long-awaited new central online giving portal this week, with a feature that gives donors options to search for military installations’ family and youth programs that qualify for CFC donations.
 
    Air Force colonel found guilty of soliciting underage sex
(Air Force Times) A colonel with the Florida Air National Guard was found guilty on Tuesday of soliciting a minor for sex, according to authorities.
 
Marine Corps
    Massachusetts Iwo Jima memorial vandalized again
(The Associated Press) Police in Massachusetts are investigating the latest case of vandalism to an Iwo Jima memorial.
 
National Guard
    Utah National Guard breaks ground on new facility at Camp Williams
(The Associated Press) The facility will be for the Utah National Guard's elite 19th Special Forces Group, an elite division of the Army National Guard.
 
Coast Guard
    A U.S. Collaboration Between Military and Research Science
(World Policy Institute) Warming in Arctic ecosystems over the last several decades threatens animals and people alike, while melting ice has been accompanied by a dramatic increase in maritime activity.
 
Defense Industry
    Army awards concept design contracts for Patriot radar replacement
(Defense News) The Army has awarded concept design contracts for a new 360-degree radar for its future Integrated Air and Missile Defense system to replace Patriot to Raytheon, Lockheed, Northrop and Technovative Applications.
 
    Lack of US Mack brand cut bids in Volvo sale
(Defense News) An absence of the US Mack Defense brand name played a key role in slashing the bidders’ valuation of Volvo’s military vehicles business, which led to the Swedish company to cancel its tender, two industry executives said on Wednesday.
 
    Everything’s coming up SHORAD
(Defense News) To say that short-range air defense is making a comeback would be an understatement; ready-to-go solutions to rapidly bring the capability back into service to address today’s threats are coming out of the woodwork.
 
    General Dynamics enhances WIN-T with Next Gen PoP
(IHS Jane’s 360) General Dynamics Mission Systems (GDMS) has completed work to incorporate its Next Generation Point of Presence (Next Gen PoP) enhancement to the Warfighter Information Net-Tactical (WIN-T) Increment 2 (Inc 2).
 
    Italy to receive additional AGM-88E guided missiles
(UPI) The U.S. Navy announced an award modification worth more than $18.2 million to convert high-speed, anti-radiation missiles into advanced medium-range air-to-ground guided missiles with counter-enemy shutdown capability for the Italian government.
 
    ?ADEX: Boeing, KAL eye Korean Chinook upgrade opportunity
(FlightGlobal) Boeing and Korean Air have entered a memorandum of understanding related to Seoul's plan to upgrade its aging fleet of CH-47D Chinook transport helicopters.
 
Veterans
    Advocates: Leave Gold Star families out of politics
(Military Times) Advocates for the families of fallen service members hope their sacrifices aren’t being overshadowed by the growing controversy surrounding President Donald Trump’s recent handling of condolences related to the deaths of four soldiers in Niger.
 
    Fallen Troops’ Families Tell of Meeting Presidents: Sympathy and Sometimes Discomfort
(New York Times) People trying to express sympathy to the families of fallen troops say the wrong thing all the time.
 
    Charities new to military CFC groups focus on scholarships, vet careers
(Military Times) New charities have joined the fold of two military-related federations in the Combined Federal Campaign, though the groups saw overall membership dip slightly this year from 2016.
 
    White House: VA's Shulkin not a candidate for HHS secretary
(The Associated Press) Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin, who is under investigation for taking a 10-day trip to Europe that mixed business with sightseeing, is not being considered for the top job at Health and Human Services, the White House said Wednesday.
 
National Security
    Diplomats from US, S. Korea, Japan discuss N. Korean threat
(The Associated Press) As the allies stressed diplomacy, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan also stressed the need to be prepared for any contingency.
 
Congress & Politics
    Senator: Why won’t DOJ answer my emails on cyber?
(Fifth Domain) Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-RI, criticized the Justice Department’s lack of a cybersecurity representative to coordinate with Congress on legislative issues at a Department of Justice Oversight hearing on Wednesday.
 
    Trump indicates Fed search down to 5 finalists
(The Associated Press) President Donald Trump said Tuesday that he is likely to make his selection for the next Federal Reserve chairman from five candidates, a group that includes current Chair Janet Yellen.
 
    Nominee for OPM chief outlines what he will do for federal employees
(Federal Times) The nominee for director of the Office of Personnel Management, Jeff Pon said during a Senate hearing on Wednesday that he aims to cut down the significant lag times in employee hiring, retirement payments and benefits claims if confirmed to the post.
 
Cyber, Space & Surveillance
    To protect civilians and troops, drone detection tech ‘hijacks’ enemy UAVs
(C4ISRNET) Drones are becoming ubiquitous in many commercial markets. From Amazon’s promise to deliver packages through the sky to drone-based photography, it seems drones are cropping up in nearly every industry.
 
    Microsoft adds classified, blockchain, more to government cloud platform
(Fifth Domain) At its 2017 Government Cloud Forum, Microsoft announced new advances for its Azure Government program, a U.S. government-based cloud system. These included increasing the support for highly-classified workloads to more federal agencies, increased cybersecurity capabilities and the implementation of advanced technologies such as Blockchain, High Performance Computing (HPC) and Citrix Virtual Desktop Infrastructur
 
    Researchers discover vulnerability affecting Wi-Fi security
(The Associated Press) Security researchers have discovered a Wi-Fi network vulnerability that could allow attackers to steal sensitive information or spread malicious software while someone is logged into a computer or mobile device.
 
International Affairs
    China suggests Xi's political ideology to be elevated in party constitution
(Reuters) Top Chinese officials have praised President Xi Jinping’s political ideology unveiled at a key Communist Party Congress, an indication that he could cement his power with his new slogan being incorporated into the party’s constitution.
 
    Rohingya crisis: Refugees tell of 'house by house' killings
(BBC) As thousands of Rohingya refugees continue to pour into Bangladesh, Clive Myrie reports on the world's fastest growing humanitarian crisis.
 
    Afghan Army Unit Nearly Wiped Out as New Taliban Tactic Takes Toll
(New York Times) An Afghan Army unit in the south of the country was almost completely wiped out on Thursday, defense officials said, in an attack by the Taliban that used what is becoming one of the group’s deadliest tactics,
 
    BOK: economic setback from THAAD backlash to ease from second quarter 2018
(Reuters) South Korea’s central bank said on Thursday the economic setback from retaliatory measures taken by China against the deployment of a U.S. anti-missile system in the country is expected to subside from the second quarter of next year.
 
    US: Tillerson calls for India ties to counter China
(BBC) US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has said the US wants to deepen co-operation with India in the face of growing Chinese influence in Asia.
 
    Brazil's Temer escapes corruption charges in committee vote
(Reuters) A congressional committee voted 39-26 on Wednesday to reject charges against Brazilian President Michel Temer stemming from a corruption case involving the world’s largest meatpacker.
 
    How Long Can Turkey and America Keep up Their Alliance?
(The National Interest) The recent visa scandal has exposed the tensions between Ankara and Washington.
 
    Putin’s rage triggered by Obama’s moves
(Washington Times) In interview after interview with top U.S. intelligence officials and foreign diplomats about the downward spiral in U.S.-Russian relations, one date keeps resurfacing: January 2012.
 
Commentary & Analysis
    Replacing the 'Air Force One' fleet literally takes an act of Congress
(Rep. Rob Wittman) Although President Donald Trump made headlines for tweeting his criticism of the cost of replacing Air Force One this past December, the aircraft solely used by the president of the United States is actually authorized and funded through a separate branch of government: Congress.
 
    Military Women, Too, Should Serve Unmolested
(New York Times) I witnessed misogyny at all levels of my six years in the military. On Monday mornings, while working in the motor pool to clean and maintain our Humvees, male soldiers would gather around a single cellphone to watch porn and talk in detail of their sexual escapades.
 
    Poll: Did Trump react poorly to the deaths of service members, or is he being vilified?
(Military Times) READER POLL: Did Trump screw this up, or are the media and his critics blowing this out of proportion? Click and vote.
 
    Protect your privacy: A hacker’s guide to being cyber-safe
(Federal Times) Protecting individual privacy from government intrusion is older than American democracy. In 1604, the attorney general of England, Sir Edward Coke, ruled that a man’s house is his castle.
 
    China Is Quietly Reshaping the World
(DefenseOne) The staggering scope of the country’s infrastructure initiative—and what it means for the international order.
 
    America Has Become Dispensable in Iraq
(DefenseOne) The conflict in Kirkuk offers further evidence of Iran’s steady rise.