Today's Top 5
1. NATO: Russia targeted German army with fake news campaign
(Deutsche Welle) Emails accusing German soldiers stationed in Lithuania of rape were sent to local news outlets and the parliamentary president. NATO officials allege that Russia is targeting the military alliance.
2. The Abbreviated Career of Michael Flynn
(The Atlantic ) The unraveling of Flynn’s brief tenure in the West Wing culminates a bizarre period in his career that few could have predicted when he was earning plaudits as a brilliant, iconoclastic intelligence officer. During his JSOC tour, he oversaw a transformation in intelligence processes that enabled the command’s task forces in Iraq to conduct several missions a night, each one based on intelligence collected from the previous raid.
3. Defense secretary Mattis sees no American military collaboration with Russia
(Reuters) U.S. President Donald Trump's defense secretary on Thursday said he did not see the conditions for military collaboration with Russia, in a blow to Moscow's hopes for repairing ties with the United States following Trump's election.
4. Robert Harward turns down national security adviser's job
(Defense News) Retired Vice Adm. Robert Harward has turned down an offer to become Donald Trump’s new national security adviser, a potential blow to those who hoped Harward would bring a stabilizing presence to the National Security Council days after the surprise resignation of Michael Flynn.
5. Mattis is 'alone' in plans to boost defense budget, says House Armed Services Committee chair
(Defense News) House Armed Services Chairman Mac Thornberry worries the young Trump administration’s slow pace getting Pentagon jobs filled — and Obama administration holdovers at DoD— may hurt plans to boost defense spending.
Deadly car bombing rocks Iraq's Baghdad
(Al Jazeera) The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group claimed responsibility for Thursday's attack, which came amid a renewed wave of violence in the Iraqi capital.
Major Deployments to Syria, Afghanistan Unlikely: Thornberry
(Military.com) The chairman of the House Armed Services Committee said Thursday he doesn't expect the administration to order a major push of ground troops into Syria, or a new buildup of combat forces in Afghanistan, even though both possibilities have been publicly discussed in recent weeks.
Thousands return to Iraq's Mosul as fighting continues
(Al Jazeera) More than 46,000 people go back to homes in east of city despite fierce fighting between ISIL and government forces.
Islamic State suicide bombing at Pakistan shrine kills 75
(Associated Press) An Islamic State suicide bomber struck inside a famed shrine in southern Pakistan on Thursday, killing at least 75 people in the deadliest attack in the country in more than two years.
Baghdad car bomb claimed by Islamic State kills 55
(Associated Press) A car bomb at a Baghdad auto dealership killed at least 55 people and wounded more than 60 on Thursday, Iraqi officials said.
Joint Chiefs chair Dunford to visit Turkey for talks on Raqqa
(Associated Press) Turkey's defense minister says the U.S. chief of staff, Gen. Joe Dunford, will arrive in Turkey on Friday for talks on a possible joint operation to recapture the Islamic State group's Syrian stronghold of Raqqa.
Pro-government tribal leader among dead in U.S. raid in Yemen
(Associated Press) The main figure killed in last month's U.S. raid in Yemen targeting al-Qaida was a tribal leader who was allied to the country's U.S.- and Saudi-backed president and had been enlisted to fight Yemen's Shiite rebels, according to military officials, tribal figures and relatives.
Officials Could Present Trump with Proposal to Send More Troops to Syria
(NBC News) Putting a number of conventional U.S. military forces into Syria is one of the options expected to be presented to President Donald Trump later this month as part of the effort to accelerate the defeat of ISIS, two senior U.S. defense officials told NBC News on Thursday.
Top US, Russian military officials agree on 'enhanced communications' to avoid 'unintended incidents'
(The Hill) The first meeting between the top military officers in the United States and Russia since 2014 resulted in an agreement on enhancing communication to avoid “unintended incidents," the Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said Thursday.
Day Without Immigrants' squeezes Hill, Pentagon
(CNN) Washington felt the pinch of the nationwide "Day Without Immigrants" demonstrations Thursday, with government institutions, including the Capitol and Pentagon, affected by the general strike.
Mattis: 'Very little doubt' Russia has interfered in elections
(The Hill) Defense Secretary James Mattis on Thursday said that there was "very little doubt" Russia has attempted to interfere in democratic elections in the past.
World Leaders Will Be Hoping For Clarity on U.S. Priorities at the Munich Conference
(Associated Press) Top world leaders, diplomats and defense officials are getting their first opportunity to meet with members of the Trump administration amid concerns over the new president's commitment to NATO and posture toward Russia.
Fort Benning to stand up security force brigades, training academy
(Army Times) The first of six planned security force brigades will activate in October at Fort Benning, Georgia, the Army announced on Thursday.
Army Stands Up 6 Brigades to Advise Foreign Militaries
(Military.com) The U.S. Army announced Thursday the creation of six new brigades designed to take on the service's growing mission of training and advising foreign militaries.
Army Lab Integrates Future Soldier Technology
(Scout.com) Lighter weight protective body armor and undergarments, conformal wearable computers and integrated sensors powered by emerging battery technologies --- are all part of the Army’s cutting-edge scientific initiative aimed at shaping, enhancing and sustaining the Soldier of the Future.
Brig "goon squad" allegation fuels request for time off in Navy espionage case
(Virginian-Pilot) The latest volley in the ongoing case of a Navy officer accused of espionage turned into an indictment of the Chesapeake brig where he is being held.
BAE to modernize guided-missile cruiser USS Vicksburg
(UPI) BAE Systems received a $42.9 million contract to perform repair and modernization services for the U.S. Navy's USS Vicksburg.
Navy commander charged in 'Fat Leonard' bribery case
(Associated Press) A Navy commander is the 12th Navy official to be charged in a wide-ranging bribery case involving a Malaysian defense contractor nicknamed "Fat Leonard."
U.S. serviceman charged in Portugal with attempted murder, abduction
(Associated Press) Portuguese prosecutors have brought charges of attempted murder, rape, abduction and assault against an American serviceman stationed at the Lajes Field U.S. Air Force base in Portugal's mid-Atlantic Azores Islands.
Air Force’s Huey Replacement Program Proposal Pushed Back
(DoDBuzz) The Air Force will release a second request for proposal draft for the UH-1N Huey helicopter replacement program after feedback from possible bidders said that they couldn’t meet the original threshold requirements, an Air Force official told Military.com.
The Few, The Proud' on hold as Marine recruiting slogan
(Marine Corps Times) The Marine Corps’ historic recruiting slogan “The Few, The Proud” is going on hiatus but it’s not going away, a top recruiting official said.
Here is the only chart you'll ever need for your PFT and CFT scores
(Marine Corps Times) Want to know how much your physical and combat fitness tests will count toward promotion?
Military seeks $21M to clean lead-contaminated armories
(Associated Press) The Oregon Military Department is seeking $21.6 million from the federal government to clean up toxic armories around the state.
It's official: Military exchanges plan to offer online access to veterans by Nov. 11
(Military Times) The military exchanges have the green light to open their online doors to veterans by Nov. 11, an idea initially proposed by a top exchange official nearly three years ago.
More than 1,200 homeless veterans home at last
(KGW) More than 1,200 veterans in Portland will sleep in their own beds tonight. It’s quite an achievement considering less than two years ago, every one of them was homeless.
Legislation Introduced to Exempt Veterans From Hiring Freeze
(FedSmith.com) Legislation has been introduced in the House to exempt veterans from the hiring freeze as set forth by Donald Trump’s executive order.
Industry offers come up short in Air Force's Huey replacement program
(Defense News) The Air Force’s UH-1N Huey helicopter replacement program has hit a snag: None of the potential offerors meet the threshold requirements with off-the-shelf rotorcraft, necessitating that companies make changes to their aircraft before bidding.
F-35 program chief downplays Trump phone call with Boeing CEO listening in
(Defense News) The Pentagon’s F-35 program director confirmed on Thursday that he was aware that the Boeing CEO was on the line during a Jan. 17 call from then President-elect Donald Trump.
GE Aviation reveals $4B investment in U.S. operations
(UPI) GE Aviation invested $4.3 billion in its expanding U.S. operations during the 2011 to 2016 period and another $1.1 billion internationally.
France receives A400M airlifters beefed up for combat
(Defense News) The French air force expects to receive shortly the third A400M airlifter which has been retrofitted to the more capable “tactical” version, a spokesman for the service said on Thursday.
Another twist in Indonesia's puzzling AW101 helicopter buy
(Defense News) The strange saga of Indonesia’s acquisition of the Leonardo AW101 helicopter has taken a stranger twist, with photos showing the first delivered aircraft in a hangar surrounded by police tape.
Drones are all the rage at Aero India 2017
(Defense News) One of the highlights of Aero India 2017 is the display of unmanned aerial vehicles by domestic and overseas companies to tap the $3 billion domestic market.
Aero India 2017: Russian firm offers Sukhoi Su-30MKI engine upgrade
(Defense News) Russia has offered the Indian Air Force an improved version of the engine that powers Sukhoi Su-30MKI multirole fighters.
Systematic awarded Army C2 contract
(C4ISRNET) Systematic, Inc. has been awarded an Army contract for its SitaWare command and control software.
Lockheed Martin to perform full-rate eCASS production for U.S. Navy
(UPI) Lockheed Martin secured a $166 million contract from the U.S. Navy to perform full-rate production for 63 electronic Consolidated Automated Support Systems.
Boeing contracted for P-8A research and sustainment
(UPI) The U.S. Navy awarded Boeing a $68.6 million task order to conduct research, development, integration and testing to support the P-8A Poseidon aircraft.
Congress & Politics
US Senate confirms fiscal hawk Mulvaney for budget director
(Defense News) The Senate narrowly confirmed President Donald Trump’s pick for budget director, Rep. Mick Mulvaney, bucking hawkish lawmakers who protested over his past support of defense cuts.
Connecticut congressmen express concern over Russian ship
(Associated Press) Congressmen from Connecticut are expressing concern over reports of a Russian intelligence-collection ship traveling near a U.S. naval submarine base.
Panel to Senate: Moving U.S. Forces Forward Key to Deterring Russia, China
(USNI News) Stationing more U.S. forces forward is key to reshaping the American military to deter future Russian and Chinese ambitions in Europe and the Pacific and it can be done now, four defense experts told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday.
Flynn changed story to FBI, no charges expected
(CNN) The FBI is not expected to pursue any charges against former national security adviser Michael Flynn regarding a phone call with Russia's ambassador, barring new information that changes what they know, law enforcement officials told CNN Thursday.
Trump vows new order next week 'tailored' to allow travel ban
(Washington Examiner) President Trump said on Thursday that his administration would unveil a new executive action next week "tailored" to address judicial concerns that have held up his order temporarily banning travel from seven countries where terrorist organizations operate.
CIA director: Agency isn't hiding intelligence from Trump
(Associated Press) CIA director Mike Pompeo said Thursday that the agency is providing President Donald Trump with the best intelligence it can, disputing reports that the spy community is withholding information from the commander in chief.
FBI: Man plotted to put bombs in Target stores
(WESH) Federal agents arrested an Ocala man accused of planning to put bombs in Target stores because he allegedly believed it would earn him money.
Cyber, Space & Surveillance
JIE: What’s in a name?
(C4ISRNET) The Joint Information Environment, which is the colloquially and collectively the Defense Department’s ongoing IT modernization effort, has been marred in confusion surrounding lexicon, purpose and scope.
Raytheon to assess effectiveness of cyber, electronic warfare tools
(C4ISRNET) Raytheon is helping develop new concepts for the future of war that involves non-kinetic capabilities. The company was awarded a contract to provide a tool to help commanders envision the effectiveness of non-kinetic tools such as cyber and electronic warfare.
DARPA's Spectrum Collaboration Challenge picks contenders
(C4ISRNET) Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has selected 30 contenders for its Spectrum Collaboration Challenge.
Current national defense models don’t work in cyberspace
(Fifth Domain) During an in-depth policy discussion at the 2017 RSA Conference in San Francisco, former special adviser on cybersecurity to President Barack Obama, Michael Daniel, outlined the three main models for thinking about national defense: Border security, missile defense and deterrence, aka mutually assured destruction. Unfortunately, he said, none of these are sufficient to meet the cybersecurity challenge.
General Dynamics gets $170 million cybersecurity order
(UPI) The U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency has awarded General Dynamics a $170 million contract to perform various cybersecurity services.
Don’t count on China to rein in North Korea. Here’s why
(Washington Post) On Jan. 2, then President-elect Donald Trump tweeted a promise that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un would not be allowed to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile armed with a nuclear bomb. In a second tweet, Trump complained that China “won’t help with North Korea.”
U.S., Asian diplomats condemn North Korea missile test
(Associated Press) The United States, South Korea and Japan on Thursday condemned North Korea's latest missile test and said they will enhance security cooperation in response.
Syria’s Assad lashes out at France’s Hollande
(USA Today) Syrian President Bashar Assad lashed out at his French counterpart on Thursday, accusing Francois Hollande of sponsoring terror in Syria and encouraging Western nations to reset their relations with his pariah government, after six years of civil war.
The Latest: Russia Says Group Formed to Preserve Syria Truce
(US News & World Report) A leader of the Russian delegation at Syrian talks in Kazakhstan says an agreement has been reached to form a permanent contact group of Russia, Turkey and Iran to "preserve and strengthen the cessation of hostilities."
3 arrested in death of North Korean leader's half brother in Malaysia
(Associated Press) Malaysian authorities announced two more arrests Thursday in the death of the North Korean leader's half brother, whose apparent assassination this week unleashed a wave of speculation and intrigue: a pair of female assailants, a broad-daylight killing and a dictator-sibling out for blood.
Pending bill seeks to shake up Italy's military
(Defense News) Italy’s army, navy and air force will be forced to talk to each other more often thanks to legislation proposed by the Italian government, which promises an all-round shakeup of the armed forces.
Betsy DeVos’s Brother Is Setting Up A Private Army For China, Sources Say
(BuzzFeed) Erik Prince — founder of the private military company Blackwater, financial backer of President Donald Trump, brother to the new Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, and frequent Breitbart radio guest of White House power broker Stephen Bannon — has been offering his military expertise to support Chinese government objectives and setting up Blackwater-style training camps in two Chinese provinces, according to sources and his own company statements.
Multiple suicide bombing targets Nigerian refugees, Boko Haram blamed
(Reuters) Seven suspected Boko Haram militants blew themselves on the outskirts of a northeast Nigerian city on Friday, a local aid agency said, in an attack witnesses said targeted refugees preparing to return to their home villages.
Commentary & Analysis
The surprising truth about Iran and the West
(Jonathan Adelman, Fox News) For the eight years of Barack Obama’s presidency, the United States treated Iran as if it were a major rising power in the world dominating the Middle East. But Iran is not a First World or even Second World power. Iran, as a Third World country, is far weaker than either the superpower United States or the rising First World power Israel.
Syria is a world war without a solution
(Seth J Frantzman, The Spectator) What began with the Arab spring is often called a ‘civil war’ or a rebellion, but it is time to acknowledge that it is actually a world war. From Russia to the US, Saudi Arabia and France, the world is not only involved in Syria, but proxy forces, militias, jihadists and foreign fighters form the kaleidoscope of participants. As with the history of the Thirty Years War in Europe it has also become the graveyard for nations and an epic cauldron of suffering from which nearly five million people have fled and where hundreds of thousands have been killed.
Rebuilding defenses: America and the NATO alliance
(Stephen D. Bryen and Shoshana Bryen in Defense News) The U.S. spends approximately $600 billion annually on defense — accounting for one-third of global defense spending. Our two nearest competitors are China, spending about $146 billion and Russia spending $66 billion. How is it, then, that both Russia and China can challenge U.S. power?
A Comparative Guide to Russia's Use of Force: Measure Twice, Invadde Once
(Michael Kofman, War on the Rocks) In the 20th century, the Soviet military’s penchant for area of effect artillery and armored firepower had earned it the reputation of a large hammer always in search of nails. This popularized impression stuck with Russia long after the Soviet Union’s demise, but today’s Kremlin employs military power in a much more nuanced manner to pursue its objectives. In recent conflicts, Russia has demonstrated a keen understanding of how to apply this instrument of national power to achieve desired political ends, doling out force in prescribed doses in the quest for decisive leverage. Although Russian military power remains a blunt force instrument, the state wields it more like a rapier, demonstrating discretion and timing.
U.S. Government Supports Lower Court Decision that Navy Members’ Fukushima Suit Can Proceed in United States
(Emma Kohse, Lawfare) At this stage, the major dispute in the case concerns the forum rather than the substance: should the plaintiffs be permitted to hale TEPCO into American courts, or must they sue in Japan, where such claims can be submitted to a Nuclear Damage Claim Dispute Resolution Center set up by the government? This question, however, implicates sensitive issues of sovereignty and competing national interests, pitting members of the U.S. military against a company that was essentially nationalized by the Japanese government after the crisis.
General Flynn and the Privacy of US Person Information Under FISA
(Nima R.T. Binara, Lawfare) Some reports, however, are questioning the legality of the US Intelligence Community’s (USIC) interception or use of communications involving Flynn. As David Kris has already explained, this misunderstands how FISA both protects US person privacy and ensures that the government remains able to obtain and use intelligence necessary to protect the nation.
Civilians and the Military Under Trump
(Fritz Lodge, The Cipher Brief) In the wake of retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn’s resignation as National Security Advisor on Monday over his communications with the Russian Ambassador to the U.S., President Donald Trump is considering three former military officers to replace Flynn. This follows a notable pattern of the new president’s reliance on retired military personnel in top national security positions.