Today's Top 5
    1. Questions mount on size of Puerto Rico relief mission, hospital ship’s inaction
(Military Times) Two U.S. Navy ships, National Guard, Air National Guard, reserve troops and Army helicopters are providing aid to Puerto Rico. But questions are mounting over whether the U.S. is doing enough for its territory and people, who are American citizens.
 
    2. Syrian War Drags On, but Assad’s Future Looks as Secure as Ever
(New York Times) Although Syria’s bloody six-year war is far from over, one result is already becoming clear: President Bashar al-Assad looks as though he is here to stay.
 
    3. Pacific Fleet admiral says he'll retire
(Navy Times) The head of the Navy’s Pacific Fleet announced Monday that he will retire after being passed over for the top job at U.S. Pacific Command.
 
    4. Iraq parliament demands troops go to areas disputed with Kurds
(Agence France-Presse) Iraq's parliament demanded Monday that troops be sent to disputed areas in the north controlled by the Kurds since 2003 as the autonomous Kurdish area staged a referendum on independence.
 
    5. Live-fire show of force by troops from China’s first overseas military base
(South China Morning Post) Troops from China’s only overseas base have staged their first live-fire drills in what military analysts said was a major show of combat readiness.
 
Overseas Operations
    North Korea sought mutual assured destruction relationship with U.S. in 2016: U.S. official
(Japan Times) North Korea told the U.S. government it wanted to establish a mutual assured destruction relationship with Washington when the two countries held informal talks shortly after Pyongyang’s nuclear test in January 2016, a former senior U.S. official said Sunday.
 
    North Korean gas prices reported surging after new sanctions
(Nikkei Asian Review) Fuel prices in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang soared last week, the Voice of America reported Saturday, in what may be a sign that international sanctions targeting the country's oil supply are starting to bite.
 
    President urges bipartisan efforts to peacefully resolve N. Korean nukes
(Yonhap News Agency) President Moon Jae-in called for bipartisan efforts Monday to resolve the North Korean nuclear issue peacefully, noting the country was now facing what he called an "unprecedented" security crisis.
 
    White House: 'We have not declared war on North Korea'
(Politico) The United States has not declared war on North Korea, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Monday.
 
    Senior Somali General Gunned Down in Mogadishu
(Voice of America) A senior Somali military officer was gunned down in Mogadishu Sunday evening, security sources told VOA's Somali service.
 
    Taliban retakes district in Afghan northwest
(Long War Journal) The Taliban has retaken control of the district of Kohistan in the northwestern province of Faryab over the weekend. The district has changed hands twice during the past several months.
 
    JNIM claims large assault in Kidal, Mali
(Long War Journal) After a long media silence, al Qaeda’s Group of Support for Muslims and Islam (JNIM) returned to social media on Saturday and issued a claim of responsibility and also a video for last week’s multi-pronged attack against UN forces in the northern Malian city of Kidal.
 
    What's next after Kurdish independence vote?
(Al Monitor ) Defying pressure from the United States and regional powers Turkey and Iran, millions of Kurds cast their ballots today in a historic referendum on long-fought Kurdish independence.
 
    Curfew imposed in parts of Iraq's Kirkuk: police
(Agence France-Presse) Authorities imposed a curfew Monday on parts of Iraq's Kirkuk amid fears of unrest as the ethnically mixed city took part in an independence referendum organised by the country's Kurds.
 
    Russian Foreign Ministry Official Blames U.S. For Death Of Russian General
(Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty) A top Russian Foreign Ministry official has asserted the United States is to blame for the death of a Russian general killed in eastern Syria over the weekend.
 
    US defence secretary Jim Mattis’ visit to lay stress on New Delhi’s role in Kabul
(The Economic Times) US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis' two-day visit to India starting Tuesday will underscore India's contribution towards Afghanistan's stability and security and how it can be improved. The two sides are also likely to discuss ways to further improve defence trade.
 
    Trump Will Be Hard-Pressed to Get Allies to Stop Buying Iran’s Oil
(Foreign Policy) The Trump administration wants to ratchet up economic pressure on Iran, but unless it can persuade skeptical governments in Europe and Asia to join the effort, it will be forced to use unilateral measures that would probably prove ineffective at choking Tehran’s economy, former officials, diplomats, and experts say.
 
    US has the right to fly near North Korea, Pentagon says after shoot-down threat
(Washington Examiner) The U.S. military will not abandon show-of-force flights or any other military options on or near the Korean Peninsula despite North Korea's assertion Monday it has the right to shoot down bombers outside of its borders, a Pentagon spokesman said.
 
    Iran's ballistic missile launch was fake: report
(The Hill) Iran’s recent ballistic missile launch was fake and never took place, U.S. officials told Fox News on Monday.
 
    Escalating tension has experts simulating a new Korean War, and the scenarios are sobering
(Los Angeles Times) Simulations of a war on the Korean peninsula usually start with a relatively minor incident at the demilitarized zone between South Korea and its hostile northern neighbor, or a provocation that develops into a conventional war and then escalates.
 
    U.S.-backed Syrian fighters claim they were hit by Russian airstrikes again
(Military Times) U.S.-backed Syrian forces known as the Syrian Democratic Forces, or SDF, released a statement claiming their forces were struck by Russian aircraft and artillery fire near the Syrian city of Deir el-Zour, according to the group’s official media page.
 
    Iraqi Kurds vote in referendum on independence from Baghdad
(Military Times) Iraqi Kurds cast ballots on Monday in their autonomous region and in a wide sweep of captured territories on whether to seek independence from Baghdad, a historic vote that has also raised tensions and fears of instability.
 
    Contractors accuse Iraq of shake downs to force tax payments
(Military Times) American military contractors operating in Iraq are accusing Baghdad of employing strong-arm tactics to make them pay exorbitant income taxes, a practice they’ve warned the Trump administration is hampering the fight against Islamic State extremists.
 
    North Korea bolsters defenses after flight by U.S. bombers, rhetoric escalates
(Reuters) North Korea has been boosting defenses on its east coast, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency said on Tuesday, after the North said U.S. President Donald Trump had declared war and that it would shoot down U.S. bombers flying near the Korean peninsula.
 
Pentagon
    Pentagon: Will Provide Trump Options if North Korea Provocations Continue
(Reuters) The Pentagon said on Monday that it would provide U.S. President Donald Trump with options to deal with North Korea if its provocations continue, after North Korea's foreign minister said his country reserved the right to shoot down U.S. bombers even if they are not in its air space.
 
    Mattis Visits South Asia Amid Afghanistan Shakeup
(Voice of America) Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is in South Asia for the first time since the White House unveiled its new strategy for the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan.
 
    For the first time, a civilian drone has crashed into a military aircraft
(Military Times) A drone crashed into a UH-60 Black Hawk over Staten Island Thursday, marking the first time a civilian drone has ever collided with a military aircraft, an Army official said.
 
Army
    Army fires infantry basic training battalion commander
(Army Times) The commander of one of two infantry basic training battalions at Fort Benning, Georgia, has been relieved, an official confirmed to Army Times Monday.
 
    Fort Irwin just opened the Defense Department’s most environmentally friendly hospital
(Army Times) A new, nearly $211 million hospital is now open at Fort Irwin, California.
 
    Special Forces soldier killed in Florida collision
(Army Times) A Special Forces soldier was killed last week in a head-on collision in Florida, Army officials said.
 
    Steelers tackle Villanueva: Mix up led to anthem flap
(The Associated Press) Alejandro Villanueva just wanted to get a glimpse of the American flag, the symbol he wore on his military uniform during three tours in Afghanistan before beginning an unlikely journey from Army Ranger to the NFL.
 
    Report: After anthem stance, Villanueva's jersey tops NFL sales chart
(Military Times) A day after former Army Ranger Alejandro Villanueva stood alone outside a Soldier Field tunnel for the national anthem, the Pittsburgh Steelers offensive lineman’s gear has become the top-selling merchandise in the NFL’s online store, ESPN.com reported.
 
Navy
    Pacific Fleet admiral says he'll retire
(Navy Times) The head of the Navy’s Pacific Fleet announced Monday that he will retire after being passed over for the top job at U.S. Pacific Command.
 
Marine Corps
    It's Official: The Marines Have Their First Female Infantry Officer
(Military.com) A female Marine lieutenant quietly crossed one of the last remaining hurdles for women in the service Monday, celebrating graduation of the famously difficult infantry officer course in a private ceremony reserved for family members.
 
Air Force
    Offutt Air Force Base pushes to stay open amid closures
(The Associated Press) Officials of the Offutt Air Force Base near Omaha are hoping two new projects will help it survive the next round of military base closures.
 
    Bombers used in show of force near North Korea deployed from Ellsworth
(The Associated Press) Air Force B-1B Lancer bombers from the Ellsworth Air Force Base launched from Guam flew into international airspace over waters east of North Korea in a show of American military might.
 
    US Air Force official: Northrop’s JSTARS program still needs ‘heavy lifting’
(Defense News) Northrop Grumman is still having trouble moving E-8C JSTARS out of its depot despite improvements in quality control, and aircraft availability is suffering as a result, the head of US Air Force Materiel Command said.
 
Coast Guard
    Coast Guard medivacs 71-year-old man off North Carolina coast
(WTKR) Watchstanders with the Coast Guard Sector North Carolina Command Center medivaced an elderly man from a cruise ship off the North Carolina coast Monday.
 
Defense Industry
    S. Korea's military to buy more advanced trainer jets
(Yonhap News Agency) South Korea's military has decided to purchase more T-50 advanced trainer jets from a local producer, the nation's arms agency said Monday.
 
    JIT to conduct advance tests to find reasons behind M777 howitzer barrel explosion
(The Economic Times) Following a "mishap" earlier this month that damaged one of the two US-manufactured M777 Ultra Light Howitzer artillery guns, a joint investigation team (JIT) comprising Indian Army and US government representatives will conduct "advanced tests" to determine what went wrong -- whether there is a fault in the gun or the ammunition.
 
    China’s CH-5 UAV conducts live-fire trial with new precision weapon
(IHS Jane’s 360) China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) has successfully integrated and launched a new precision guided missile (PGM) on its Cai Hong 5 (Rainbow 5, or CH-5) strike-capable, medium-altitude long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicle (MALE UAV), Jane’s sources have confirmed.
 
    Team Polaris forms for US Army’s SMET
(IHS Jane’s 360) Polaris Government and Defense has joined with robotics and autonomous technology specialists to develop an unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) that is being put forward for the US Army’s Squad Multipurpose Equipment Transport (SMET) programme, Jane’s has learnt.
 
    Israeli lawmakers: F-35 get is fine, but must ‘meticulously assess’ follow-on buys
(Defense News) Parliamentary findings released Monday on long-term planning within the Israeli military validated the nation’s need for 50 F-35 Adir fighter jets, yet urged a comprehensive review of alternatives — including drones and “other sources of precision fire” — before a government decision to purchase another 25 to 50 aircraft, as requested by the Israeli Air Force.
 
    US Navy awards $5B to finish ballistic-missile sub design
(The Associated Press) The U.S. Navy awarded a $5 billion contract to General Dynamics’ Electric Boat on Thursday to finish designing a new class of ballistic-missile submarines so construction can start.
 
    How industry’s helping the US Air Force with multi-domain command and control
(C4ISRNET) Each U.S. military service recognizes that operations must be seamlessly coordinated across all domains of warfare for future conflict. Within that broad sphere, the Air Force, under the direction of Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein, has made multi-domain command and control a top priority.
 
    Turkey accuses US, Germany of arms embargo
(Defense News) Turkey has officially accused the United States and Germany of imposing an arms embargo against the country.
 
    Caterpillar in talks over engine for Turkey's Altay tank
(Defense News) Turkish procurement officials are in talks with the British-based European division of U.S. company Caterpillar over a plan to produce and supply an engine for the Altay, an indigenous, new-generation Turkish tank in the making.
 
    AUDS counter-drone system gets upgrades
(C4ISRNET) The AUDS counter-drone system has been upgraded to operate on ground vehicles.
 
    Italy retires last Atlantique
(Defense News) Italy retired its last Atlantique patrol aircraft on Sept. 21 after 45 years of service and over 250,000 flying hours.
 
Veterans
    WWII Vet, 97, Takes a Knee to Support NFL Protests
(NBC News) The photo of a 97-year-old WWII veteran kneeling in solidarity to show support for protesting football players has gone viral on Twitter.
 
    VFW, American Legion slam NFL players for anthem protests
(Military Times) Officials from two of the nation’s largest veterans groups attacked this weekend’s National Football League protests as “disrespectful” to the American flag and the country.
 
    Top VA health official steps down as major reforms loom
(Military Times) The acting under secretary for health at the Department of Veterans Affairs abruptly stepped aside on Monday, leaving the agency with yet another leadership void as VA officials prepare ambitious reforms for veterans medical benefits.
 
    Steelers’ Villanueva Takes a Stand, but Might Agree With Kaepernick’s Mission
(New York Times) When Alejandro Villanueva, the Pittsburgh Steelers’ starting left tackle, arrived at West Point for cadet basic training in the summer of 2006, he already stood out — and not just because he was bigger than anyone else.
 
National Security
    Cummings demands Kushner preserve emails
(Politico) House Democratic investigators are launching a congressional probe of Jared Kushner's use of a private email for work purposes, a development that threatens to escalate the Russia-related controversies already surrounding President Donald Trump's son in-law.
 
    Travel Ban: Why Has Trump Restricted Visas From Chad? Experts Are Puzzled
(NBC News) President Donald Trump’s decision to include Chad in the latest travel ban has baffled experts who are wondering why the African nation was chosen over others in the region.
 
    FBI: US Violent Crime Spikes for 2nd Consecutive Year
(Voice of America) Violent crime, including aggravated assault and murder, rose for a second consecutive year in the United States last year.
 
    Former Trump adviser Roger Stone set to testify Tuesday at House Intelligence Committee
(Washington Examiner) Roger Stone, the longtime friend and adviser to President Trump, will be interviewed by the House Intelligence Committee Tuesday as part of lawmakers' ongoing investigation into Russia's meddling in the 2016 elections.
 
    Supreme Court postpones hearing on Trump’s travel ban
(Washington Post) The Supreme Court has postponed for now a hearing on President Trump’s power to ban immigrants from certain countries while it considers whether a new order issued Sunday night makes the case moot.
 
    Canada recognizes Chelsea Manning as a traitor, won’t let her into the country
(Military Times) Chelsea Manning has been denied entry into Canada, according to a letter she recently posted to Twitter.
 
    At Least 6 White House Advisers Used Private Email Accounts
(New York Times) At least six of President Trump’s closest advisers occasionally used private email addresses to discuss White House matters, current and former officials said on Monday.
 
Congress & Politics
    Massive defense bill awaits funding fight in Congress
(Stars & Stripes) A push for the largest defense spending plan in several years has overcome a series of congressional hurdles this year, including approval on the Senate floor this past week.
 
Cyber, Space & Surveillance
    What the Russian Ad Buy on Facebook May Have Bought
(The Atlantic ) From what we know now, it was too small to seriously influence the election, but too big to be an afterthought.
 
    Russian operatives used Facebook ads to exploit divisions over black political activism and Muslims
(Washington Post) The batch of more than 3,000 Russian-bought ads that Facebook is preparing to turn over to Congress shows a deep understanding of social divides in American society, with some ads promoting African-American rights groups including Black Lives Matter and others suggesting that these same groups pose a rising political threat, say people familiar with the covert influence campaign.
 
    Air Force activates two space tracking satellites
(C4ISRNET) The Air Force has activated two space-based tracking satellites for the Geosynchronous Space Situational Awareness Program.
 
International Affairs
    Japan claims Chinese ships again sail close to disputed islands in East China Sea
(Agence France-Presse) Chinese coastguard vessels sailed near disputed islands claimed by Japan and China in the East China Sea on Monday, marking the second such incident in less than a week.
 
    How China is using military ties to expand its reach in Southeast Asia
(South China Morning Post) China has been stepping up its military engagement with Southeast Asian nations, a move seen as an attempt to counter balance the United States in the region.
 
    North Korea to be central theme of Abe campaign
(Nikkei Asian Review) Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is set to face another test of his leadership after calling a snap election in less than four weeks.
 
    Hostile foreign agencies trying to destabilise country, warns COAS
(Dawn) Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa on Monday warned that "hostile agencies from abroad are trying to destabilise our country", days after a cross-border attack on a checkpost near the Rajgal Valley border martyred one soldier, the army's media wing said in a press release.
 
    ‘It’s Never a Good Time for the Iraqi Kurds to Become Independent’
(DefenseOne) The Turkish government believes that self-determination for the Kurds represents an existential threat to the NATO ally.
 
    Germany's Angela Merkel remains anchor of stability for US
(Deutsche Welle) The rise of the far-right AfD and losses for two major parties in Germany's election may have shaken up the country's political landscape in a dramatic fashion. But the key takeaway in the US is more mundane.
 
    Russia committing 'grave human rights violations' in Crime – UN
(Deutsche Welle) A UN probe has found that Russian officials in Crimea committed serious rights abuses, including the deportation and torture of prisoners. Investigators also documented crackdowns on Ukrainian citizenship and culture.
 
    Mass Graves of Slain Hindus Found in Northern Myanmar
(Voice of America) Mass graves of dozens of slain Hindus have been found in Myanmar's troubled Rakhine state, according to government officials.
 
    Cameroon Council Silences Journalists, Media Outlets
(Voice of America) Cameroon's National Communication Council, the government media regulator, has suspended 30 journalists or radio and TV programs for what it calls biased reporting.
 
    Israel builds settlements 'at high rate': UN
(Agence France-Presse) Israel continues to build settlements "at a high rate," the UN envoy for the Middle East said Monday, in defiance of Security Council demands for an end to the expansion of Jewish outposts.
 
    UAE to open Arab Gulf's first nuclear reactor in 2018
(Agence France-Presse) The United Arab Emirates on Monday announced plans to open a nuclear power plant next year, in what would be a first for the emirate and the Arab Gulf region.
 
    Erdogan says Turkey to close Iraqi border, warns Kurds on oil
(Agence France-Presse) Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday that Ankara would close its border with northern Iraq over an independence referendum and threatened the Iraqi Kurds with blocking their key oil exports.
 
    Surgical strikes a message to Pakistan, more if necessary: Army chief
(The Economic Times) Indian Army Chief General Bipin Rawat here on Monday said that the surgical strikes conducted across the Line of Control (LoC) in Pakistan last September were a message to Pakistan and more such incidents can follow, if need be.
 
    One month on, a bleak new reality emerges for 436,000 Rohingya refugees
(Washington Post) Rohimullah stood at the precipice of this vast tent city on Friday, chest heaving, eyes reddened by exhaustion, his hunchbacked mother-in-law cradled in his arms. He’d carried her for five days. She’d winced and whimpered at every step.
 
    Philippines 'respects' Malaysia's dissent on Asean's Rakhine crisis statement
(The Straits Times) The Philippines foreign ministry said on Monday (Sept 25) it held "deep respect" for a decision by Kuala Lumpur to disassociate itself from a statement issued by the Philippines, as Asean chair, on the unfolding crisis in Myanmar.
 
    In first, Iran publicly displays S-300 air defense missile system
(The Associated Press) Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard has displayed the country’s sophisticated Russian-made S-300 air defense system in central Tehran.
 
    Palestinian gunman kills three Israeli guards at West Bank settlement
(Reuters) A Palestinian gunman killed three Israeli guards and wounded a fourth in an attack on a Jewish settlement in the occupied West Bank on Tuesday before he was shot dead, a police spokeswoman said.
 
Commentary & Analysis
    Like Sputnik, Cyber Attacks Demand a New Approach to Education
(DefenseOne) When the Soviet Union launched Sputnik in 1957, it was the space shot heard around the world. As the first artificial satellite circled the Earth, its radio pulses picked up by ground stations scattered across the globe, Western scientists recognized a technological breakthrough that threatened our national security. The United States answered with a “Space Race” that reshaped our educational system to produce scientists, engineers, and mathematicians. Our response to Sputnik helped our nation to land the first man on the moon—and to create a space infrastructure that to this day fosters national security, economic prosperity, and scientific discovery.
 
    Why We Must Not Build Automated Weapons of War
(TIME) Over 100 CEOs of artificial intelligence and robotics firms recently signed an open letter warning that their work could be repurposed to build lethal autonomous weapons — “killer robots.” They argued that to build such weapons would be to open a “Pandora’s Box.” This could forever alter war.
 
    For perspective: The North Koreans interpret everything as a 'declaration of war'
(Washington Examiner) You probably shouldn't sweat it too much that North Korea accused President Trump Monday of issuing a declaration of war.
 
    Iranian leaders are quietly panicking over the Kurdish referendum
(Washington Examiner) No country opposes the Iraqi Kurdish referendum more than the Islamic Republic of Iran. The reason is clear: Iranian leaders fear the precedent that Iraqi Kurds might set for Iran's own restive Kurdish population.
 
    Five dangers of giving the Commerce Department oversight of firearms exports [Commentary]
(Defense News) U.S. President Donald Trump’s “Buy American” agenda is taking a potentially deadly turn, with the administration expected to issue new regulations that would make it easier for U.S. firearms and related ammunition to reach terrorists, criminal organizations and corrupt and abusive foreign security forces.