Today's Top 5
1. Welcome to the Trump Presidency
(The Atlantic) He’s moved to establish his dominance of his party, of Congress, and of the media. Now, he turns to the nation.
2. Trump’s arrival on eve of inauguration ushers in ‘real change’ to Washington
(The Washington Post) Donald Trump’s arrival in Washington Thursday on the eve of his inauguration as the 45th president snapped the capital city into its new reality, as the buoyant business mogul celebrated his unlikely political ascent with signature bravado and spontaneity.
3. As Donald Trump takes over, a diminished ISIS awaits
(CNN) It's been almost 900 days since the US-led war on ISIS began. But as the Trump administration nears -- with its promise to bomb "the s*** out of ISIS" -- where does the campaign against the militant group stand?
4. U.S. airstrikes kill 'several dozen' Islamic State fighters in Libya
(Military Times) American warplanes unleashed a massive attack Wednesday on at least two Islamic State training camps in Libya, killing an estimated 80 militants who fled the group's crumbling stronghold there, U.S officials said.
5. Iraq counts on U.S. advisers, mostly out of sight, in war on Islamic State
(Reuters) When Iraqi forces faced a fierce Islamic State counter-attack last month at a hospital in Mosul they had stormed without enough troops to hold it, U.S. advisers behind the front lines shepherded them to safety.
Donald Trump & the Presidency
Report: Trump Will Get 20-Plane Flyover
(Daily Beast) A source involved in the planning of the event told the website that Trump’s team suggested using tanks and missile launchers in the parade, “Red Square/North Korea-style.” The military reportedly rejected the request because the tanks would destroy the roads, and because the optics of such an event would be unfavorable.
Intercepted Russian Communications Part of Inquiry Into Trump Associates
(New York Times) American law enforcement and intelligence agencies are examining intercepted communications and financial transactions as part of a broad investigation into possible links between Russian officials and associates of President-elect Donald J. Trump, including his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, current and former senior American officials said.
Trump to hold military parades as U.S. forces grow
(Military Times) In an interview with The Washington Post this week, President-elect Donald Trump floated the idea of using military parades to make good on his promise of rebuilding America’s greatness.
Trump arrives in Washington with a wave and a salute
(Associated Press) Ready for his big moment, Donald Trump swept into Washington on a military jet Thursday and quickly set to building better ties to the Republican Congress as he kicked off three days of inaugural festivities. Washington braced for an onslaught of crowds and demonstrators — with all the attendant hoopla and hand-wringing.
Trump asks some 50 senior Obama appointees to stay on
(Associated Press) President-elect Donald Trump has asked roughly 50 senior Obama administration appointees to remain in their posts after his inauguration to ensure continuity in government, his incoming White House press secretary said Thursday.
Trump announces additional White House tech appointments
(Federal Times) Two new appointments to the White House staff have been announced by the Trump administration.
Pentagon: US ready if North Korea launches missile during inauguration
(Washington Examiner) Amid reports that North Korea has loaded two road-mobile intercontinental ballistic missiles on trucks and could be preparing a test, the Pentagon says it's ready if North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un orders a launch during the inaugural festivities in Washington.
Why the US sent nuclear-capable B-2s from Missouri to strike ISIS
(Washington Examiner) When U.S. commanders wanted to destroy remnants of the Islamic State who had regrouped in camps in Libya, they pulled out one of the biggest arrows in the U.S. quiver: the B-2 stealth bomber.
Carter: More U.S. troops will not fix Iraq or Syria
(Associated Press) Sending thousands more American troops into Iraq or Syria in a bid to accelerate the defeat of the Islamic State group would push U.S. allies to the exits, create more anti-U.S. resistance and give up the U.S. military's key advantages, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said in an Associated Press interview.
Ash Carter Won’t Leave Asia Quietly
(Foreign Policy) A last ditch effort by Obama's Defense Secretary to soothe the nerves of Asian allies terrified by the next administration.
Behind the Hill’s swift reforms of military compensation
(Stars & Stripes) That pattern of incremental change was shattered the past two years as Congress, frustrated by budget caps in wartime and spurred by findings of the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission, approved major alterations to retirement, health care and commissaries.
Army: Your new handgun will be a Sig Sauer
(Army Times) Half a decade into its search for a new handgun, the Army has chosen Sig Sauer's version of the Modular Handgun System, according to a Thursday announcement from the Army.
The Army wants to pay for your civilian electrician, mechanic or any other credential
(Army Times) For decades the Army has offered tuition assistance to soldiers who want to earn degrees, and now leadership is looking into how to translate that program to cover civilian credential and certification training for soldiers to study skills both in and out of their specialties.
The US Army Wants a Missile Filled With Drones
(Defense News) The US Army wants a missile capable of releasing a cluster of drones during flight in order to hit multiple targets.
Army Picks Sig Sauer's P320 Handgun to Replace M9 Service Pistol
(Military.com) Sig touts the P320 model product as "modular" and "adaptable," with interchangeable grips, multiple sizes and calibers that can be converted between 9mm, .357SIG and .40SGW. "From calibers, to pistol size, to the grip fit best suited for the shooter, the P320 is the most adaptable pistol available today," the company says in promotional materials.
An exclusive first look at the Navy's new fire-retardant coveralls
(Navy Times) The Navy has approved a new underway uniform that may be issued by afloat commands later this year and would end a four-year effort to put shipboard sailors in high-quality fire-retardant clothing.
Navy's acquisition boss to take over as Trump's acting Navy secretary on Friday
(Navy Times) Sean Stackley, who has been the Navy's top weapons buyer since 2008, will lead the Department of the Navy on a temporary basis, bringing the Ray Mabus era to an end.
Navy: Wind farm opposed by GOP lawmakers won't harm radar
(Associated Press) The Pentagon says it disagrees with Republicans in North Carolina who claim a $400 million clean energy project slated to power data centers for Amazon.com Inc. poses a threat to national security.
Navy pilots recovering after crash near Mississippi airfield
(Associated Press) Two U.S. Navy pilots are recovering after their jet crashed on a training flight near a Mississippi military base airfield.
Air Force secretary approves 9 valor award upgrades for 8 airmen
(Air Force Times) Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James has approved nine valor award upgrades for eight airmen after a Defense Department-directed review, the Air Force announced Thursday.
Air Force Pave Hawk pilot awarded two Silver Stars
(Air Force Times) A colonel who was twice honored with Distinguished Flying Crosses with Valor nearly five years ago for bravery in Afghanistan had both awards upgraded to Silver Stars Thursday.
U.S. Air Force Missile-Tracking Satellite Launch Scrubbed From Florida
(Wall Street Journal) An aircraft flying near the launch area forced the cancellation of Thursday’s planned liftoff of a $1.2-billion Air Force missile-tracking satellite from Cape Canaveral Air Force Base in Florida.
Marine Corps issues guidance for participation in inauguration events
(Military Times) With the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump this Friday, the Marine Corps has set ground rules for service members wishing to participate in inaugural activities in order to maintain an apolitical stature.
Marines' Approval of PMAG May Lead to International Buys
(Military.com) On Wednesday here at SHOT Show, Magpul director of government and international affairs Tray Ardese said a number of international militaries were paying close attention to the news and are considering the popular polymer magazine for official use with their weapons.
Coast Guard coordinates rescue of 6 from sinking catamaran near Bermuda
(WAVY) Coast Guard crews coordinated the rescue of six people from a catamaran about 275 miles southwest of Bermuda Thursday.
VA Chief of Staff Snyder to serve as interim department secretary
(Military Times) The Veterans Affairs’ interim chief of staff is getting a temporary promotion to the department’s top job.
Veterans arrested for protest in McCain’s office
(Stars & Stripes) A group of veterans was arrested Thursday in Sen. John McCain’s office during a protest over secretary of state nominee Rex Tillerson’s oil ties.
Norwegian Defense Companies Hope to Benefit From F-35 Program Deals
(Defense News) Norway’s leading defense companies hope the dividend from expected subcontracts of the Lockheed Martin F-35 acquisition program will be of a magnitude to stimulate growth within the indigenous sector and grow exports to the US and globally.
Thales and RUAG Partner on Training System for French Army
(Defense News) Thales and RUAG Group are partners on a contract signed Dec. 30 for the French Cerbere program, a simulation and training system intended to help prepare troops for the Army’s Scorpion modernization project, the country's defense procurement office has revealed.
Nuclear Stockpile About to Go Leaderless, Senator Warns Trump
(Defense News) US Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., is warning the new administration that unless it acts, an agency managing the nation’s nuclear stockpile will go leaderless after Friday’s inauguration.
Sweden Backs Industry for Export Growth in Asia
(Defense News) Sweden plans to use its new defense collaboration agreement with Indonesia to both drive industry sales and support Saab’s ambition to substantially grow military exports to Asia , and particularly to countries in Southeast Asia.
Turkey Launches 'Aggressive' Defense Export Campaign
(Defense News) The Turkish government has pressed the launch button for an “aggressive” campaign to give a boost to local industry’s exports to existing and new markets.
Safran Takeover of Zodiac Aerospace Revealed in $9B Bid
(Defense News) Safran has launched a jointly agreed upon offer for Zodiac Aerospace to create a leading aircraft equipment maker with a combined annual sales of some €21.2 billion (US $22.7 billion), the two companies said in a joint statement about Thursday's bid.
Autonomous Bluefin SandShark now available for defense, commercial use
(C4ISRNET) General Dynamics has announced its Bluefin SandShark autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) can now be purchased by defense, commercial and scientific customers over the company's website.
Navy buys more Blackjack drones
(C4ISRNET) Insitu has been awarded a $70.8 million contract modification for additional RQ-21A Blackjack UAVs.
Congress & Politics
Obama's last Gitmo transfers sent to Saudi Arabia, UAE
(The Hill) One of the Guantanamo Bay detainees transferred in President Obama’s last effort to shrink the facility was sent home to Saudi Arabia, and three others were sent to the United Arab Emirates, the Pentagon said Thursday evening.
Despite Obama campaign promise to close Gitmo, 41 detainees still remain
(Washington Examiner) There will still be 41 detainees left at Guantanamo Bay when President Obama leaves office on Friday, despite his promise during the 2008 presidential campaign to close the detention center in Cuba.
Chelsea Manning to Obama: Thanks for ‘giving me a chance’
(The Hill) Former Army soldier Chelsea Manning on Thursday tweeted her gratitude to President Obama after he commuted her prison sentence.
Obama criticizes Congress for refusing to close Cuba prison
(Associated Press) President Barack Obama on Thursday blamed Congress for his failure to keep a promise to close the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, saying there's "simply no justification beyond politics" to keep it open.
Intelligence & National Security
Judge hints at trial for lawsuit on harsh CIA interrogation
(Associated Press) Psychologists who designed the CIA's harsh interrogation methods for the war on terror want a lawsuit from three former detainees dismissed, but a federal judge said Thursday that he was inclined to allow it to move to a trial that was expected to include classified information.
Cyber, Space & Surveillance
Air Force Investing in Deceptive Cyber Technology
(Fifth Domain) Once an adversary successfully enters a network, the name of the game is damage mitigation. And this is why the Air Force is interested in deceptive cyber tools.
Fraud and cyber crime are now the country's most common offences
(The Telegraph) Online fraud is now the most common crime in the countrywith almost one in ten people falling victim, the latest figures have revealed.
New .Gov Sites to Get Secure HTTPS Protection in 2017
(Fifth Domain) The General Services Administration is taking another step to ensure that agency websites are secure from cyberattacks.
The emergence of the 'cyber cold war'
(CNN) It's now clear, according to American intelligence agencies, that the Russian government engaged in a campaign of hacking, email leaks and fake news in an attempt to undermine the American political process -- and steer the presidential election to Donald Trump.
How the U.S. Military Sees the Anti-ISIS Fight
(The Atlantic ) There’s no welcome sign at this U.S. military base discreetly tucked into the corner of the Kurdistan International Airport in northern Iraq. It doesn’t even have a name. But it’s here. Thousands of troops are here, including Americans, Germans, Italians, Finns, and Brits. And this time, it seems the U.S. military is in Iraq to stay.
Jordan boosts border forces amid ISIS threat from Iraq, Syria
(Associated Press) A senior Jordanian military commander says the kingdom faces a growing threat to its border as Islamic State extremists in neighboring Iraq and Syria are being dislodged from their strongholds by military offensives.
Experts Wary As World Praises Iran for Honoring Terms of Nuclear Deal
(Defense News) Nonproliferation experts are warning that world praise conferred over the week on Iran for abiding by terms of a landmark nuclear deal are premature, and failure to hold Tehran accountable for ostensibly minor infractions will augur major violations to come.
Syria: IS destroys part of Palmyra amphitheatre
(BBC) Militants from the Islamic State group have destroyed part of the Roman amphitheatre in the ancient city of Palmyra, Syrian officials say.
Senegal sends troops into Gambia to force longtime leader to step down
(Washington Post) Senegal announced that its troops entered neighboring Gambia on Thursday to force its longtime ruler, Yahya Jammeh, to step down, part of a bold West African regional effort to defend a democratic election won by the opposition.
Thai junta sets up military-led reconciliation panel ahead of election
(Reuters) Thailand's junta is setting up a reconciliation panel of generals and experts to find common ground between political factions ahead of elections, the general named to lead the body said on Friday.
Desperate search for Iran firefighters after high-rise collapse
(Agence France-Presse) A desperate search was underway Friday for around 20 firefighters trapped for 24 hours under the rubble of a Tehran high-rise that collapsed following a fire.
South China Sea: Australia in firing line if US and China go to war, experts warn
(ABC (Australia)) The South China Sea sits about 5,000 kilometres from Australia. That puts us in the firing line of a war between the United States and China.
Commentary & Analysis
What defines victory for Iraq in Mosul
(Christian Science Monitor) As Iraqi forces end Islamic State’s hold in the country’s second-largest city, politicians are racing to avoid the old mistake of continuing Shiite-Sunni divisions. Political reconciliation is the best weapon against terrorist groups.
Outgoing Army leaders: 'It has been the greatest honor of our lives' to serve
(Eric Fanning and Patrick Murphy in Army Times) As they prepare to leave office, Army Secretary Eric Fanning and Under Secretary Patrick Murphy bid farewell to the force in a letter released Thursday morning.
Syria: The Bottom Line of Political Accommodation
(Frederic Hof in Defense News) Syria’s political fate comes down to a man, his extended family and his political entourage. When President Bashar Assad decided in March 2011 on a violently brutal response to peaceful protest, he separated himself from the interests of his citizenry. When he embarked on a survival strategy featuring mass homicide, he facilitated the rise of the Islamic State group as a political foil and created a humanitarian abomination that made Syria’s problems the problems of all its neighbors and western Europe. Russian and Iranian military intervention saved him. But it will take their continued support and the application of state-destroying, Dark Ages brutality to sustain him.
Trump enters the swamp
(W. James Antle III, Washington Examiner) Donald Trump will be sworn in as the 45th president of the United States Friday at noon in much the same way he was elected.
We Need a Two-Ocean Secretary of the Navy
(Paul Giarra, War on the Rocks) I have absolutely nothing against Bilden. He is well connected in the Navy as well as being accomplished businessman who surely knows China’s business environment well after having lived in Hong Kong for decades. To his considerable credit, Adm. (ret.) Jim — former Supreme Allied Commander-Europe, dean of The Fletcher School, and Bilden’s colleague at the Naval War College Foundation — gives Bilden a strong endorsement I am sure that he’s everything the admiral says he is. But he is not Randy Forbes.