Today's Top 5
1. Afghan contractor handed out Russian cash to kill Americans, officials say
(New York Times) A small-time businessman became a key middleman for bounties on coalition troops in Afghanistan, U.S. intelligence reports say. Friends saw him grow rich, but didn’t know how.
2. Big pay raise, limits on troop moves highlight defense budget measure
(Military Times) A House panel late Wednesday approved plans for a $740.5 billion defense authorization bill which would provide a 3 percent raise for troops, limit the president’s ability to withdraw troops from Europe and Afghanistan, and force the military to reckon with Confederate symbols and legacy on its bases.
3. Defying veto threat, House panel pushes to rename bases honoring Confederate leaders
(Military Times) Defense officials would be forced to rename military bases honoring Confederate leaders under a measure passed by a House panel Wednesday, defying a veto threat issued by President Donald Trump just a few hours earlier.
4. One military suspect deceased, one civilian in custody in case of missing Fort Hood soldier Vanessa Guillen
(Army Times) A soldier allegedly took his own life Tuesday in Killeen, Texas, after law enforcement attempted to make contact with him in the case of missing Fort Hood soldier Pfc. Vanessa Guillen.
5. US Navy’s first 4 littoral combat ships to leave the fleet in 9 months
(Defense News) The Navy’s first four littoral combat ships will be headed into mothballs next March, according to a June 20 message from the chief of naval operations.
Transitioning out of the military and looking for a job?
(Military Times) We have listings from companies looking for vets.
Pentagon report: Russia working with Taliban, others to 'expedite a US military withdrawal'
(The Hill) Russia is working with the Taliban, Afghan government and others with interests in Afghanistan to hasten a U.S. military withdrawal from the country, the Pentagon said in a report released Wednesday.
Pentagon report: less violence but lagging Afghan progress
(Military Times) The most recent U.S. security snapshot and Afghanistan progress report shows a reduction in violence and attacks on coalition forces but also notes that Afghans are not meeting goals for troop retention, training and taking their share of the load for the nation’s security.
Coronavirus outbreak reported at Al Jaber Air Base in Kuwait
(Air Force Times) Almost 30 U.S. personnel in Kuwait have tested positive for COVID-19, according to a Defense Department official.
Russia did pay extremists to attack US soldiers in Afghanistan, according to 3 separate Taliban sources
(Business Insider) Taliban commanders have confirmed that Russia has offered financial and material support to its members in exchange for attacking US forces in Afghanistan.
Panel: NATO needs to take Russian offensive, defensive advances in Arctic seriously
(USNI News) Russia’s massive 70-warship Ocean Shield exercise in the Baltic Sea last year signaled the Kremlin’s intention to be the dominating Arctic power militarily and economically, two international security experts said Tuesday.
Increased testing and regional oubtreaks are to blame for military’s COVID-19 spike, officials say
(Military Times) Despite rapidly rising numbers of new COVID-19 cases throughout the Defense Department, Pentagon officials haves stopped short of expressing concern over the steady rise of cases.
House bill would force DoD to list deployed numbers around the world
(Defense News) Unless Defense Secretary Mark Esper meets a legal requirement to explain where troops are deployed around the world, he’ll lose a quarter of his personal travel budget, according to a plan passed by the House Armed Services Committee Wednesday.
Pentagon’s chief reform job would be scrapped under House plan
(Defense News) The House Armed Services Committee has approved a plan for the elimination of the Pentagon’s chief management officer, which was created three years ago to spearhead reforms within the department.
Why the descendants of Confederate generals are happy to see their names go
(Politico) Politico tracked down 16 relatives of eight Confederate military leaders who are memorialized with military bases or whose names adorn other prominent barracks or facilities. Most of these relatives have said little if anything publicly about how they view their forebears’ legacy.
Congress & Politics
House panel spurns Trump’s Germany troop withdrawal
(Defense News) The House Armed Services Committee delivered a near-unanimous bipartisan rebuke to President Donald Trump’s plans to pull about 10,000 U.S. troops from Germany.
Trump calls reports of Russian bounties on US troops a ‘hoax'
(Military Times) President Donald Trump on Wednesday dismissed the ongoing scandal surrounding allegations of bounties being placed on U.S. troops in Afghanistan as “a made up fake news media hoax” designed to hurt his reputation.
Trump, top officials defend response to Russia bounty threat
(The Associated Press) Criticized for inaction, President Donald Trump and top officials on Wednesday stepped up their defense of the administration’s response to intelligence assessments that Russia offered bounties for killing U.S. troops in Afghanistan.
White House does not plan any immediate response over intelligence reports on Russian bounties targeting U.S. troops
(Washington Post) The White House is not planning an immediate response to intelligence reports of Russian bounties given to Taliban-linked militants to kill U.S. and coalition forces in Afghanistan because President Trump does not believe the reports are true or “actionable,” according to two senior administration officials.
Trump plans huge July 4 fireworks show despite DC’s concerns
(The Associated Press) President Donald Trump’s July Fourth celebration on the National Mall will feature one of the largest fireworks displays ever and as many as 300,000 face masks will be given away to those who want them — but despite health concerns from D.C.‘s mayor, no one apparently will be required to wear them.
Confederate battle flag would be banned at all DoD sites under House plan
(Military Times) A week after Army officials announced they would not ban Confederate flags from service installations, a House panel approved plans to prohibit the symbol at all military locations.
Why there are so few GS-10 positions in government
(Federal Times) The number of positions at the GS-10 grade under the federal government’s General Schedule job classification system is tiny compared with other grade levels, due in large part to a categorization quirk that has largely left the GS-10 out of many job tracks.
Loophole in law governing American military use on U.S. soil raises concerns
(Military Times) Following vows from President Donald Trump last month to use active-duty troops to help enforce order in American cities, a Democratic senator wants lawmakers to close a loophole in federal law allowing such actions without congressional approval.
Next-gen ICBM program nukes defunding attempt in House panel
(Defense News) The House Armed Services Committee on Wednesday shot down a plan to slash funding for the Air Force’s Ground Based Strategic Deterrent program. The vote was a bipartisan 44-12.
Ligado would be banned from DoD contracts under House plan
(C4ISRNET) Lawmakers took another apparent jab at Ligado Networks on Wednesday as the House Armed Services Committee passed a ban on the Pentagon awarding contracts to firms that interfere with Global Positioning System signals.
New bill would hit the brakes on agency relocations
(Federal Times) Legislation introduced in the House and Senate July 1 would require agencies to obtain and consider detailed proof of a proposed relocation’s advantages prior to executing the move.
Biden and Trump agree: November election could be corrupt
(Federal Times) President Donald Trump and his challenger, Joe Biden, have found something they agree on: The November election could be rife with corruption because of how officials handle the voting process.
Paratroopers flew from Alaska to practice seizing a Pacific air base
(Army Times) Paratroopers from 4th Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, had only a few days notice ahead of an airborne operation to practice seizing territory in the Indo-Pacific region.
Families of Green Berets slain in Jordan call for extraditions, apology
(Army Times) The parents of three Army Special Forces soldiers killed in 2016 are calling for the extradition of their sons’ killer and a convicted Jordanian terrorist tied to the deaths of two U.S. citizens.
First trainees set to graduate from pandemic-modified basic training
(Army Times) More than 250 soldiers at Fort Leonard Wood will be the first to graduate from the Army’s controlled monitoring model of basic combat training.
Army investigating Fort Hood sexual assault response program after soldier's disappearance
(Military.com) The same day that one suspect in the disappearance of Army Pfc. Vanessa Guillen was arrested, and another suspect took his own life, the service announced a probe into the local program intended to respond to and prevent sexual assault.
Army's senior officer ranks are not diverse enough, general says
(Military.com) As the military wrestles with racial inequities in the ranks, the general in charge of Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) acknowledged Tuesday that the senior officer corps is not as diverse as it should be.
‘A failure of command’ — How one soldier’s sexual harassment case forced a reckoning among leaders in the Army Reserve
(Task & Purpose) Military leaders have for many years made statements, held focus groups, organized fundraisers, and conducted surveys to get a better understanding of sexual assault and harassment within the ranks. They have deemed the problem unacceptable and vowed that it would be handled appropriately under their watch.
Here’s how Big Navy plans to study racism in the ranks
(Navy Times) The Navy officially stood up “Task Force One Navy” Tuesday, a group that will seek to “address the issues of racism, sexism and other destructive biases and their impact on naval readiness,” according to a sea service release.
Five service members ask Navy for reprieve from order banning off-base church attendance
(Stars & Stripes) At least five service members have hired a lawyer to fight a Navy order that bars them from attending indoor worship services to prevent the spread of the coronavirus because they believe it violates their constitutional right of religious freedom.
One of America’s aircraft carriers is named for a segregationist. Some want to rename it.
(Virginian-Pilot) As a Mississippi senator, John C. Stennis signed the infamous “Southern Manifesto” decrying integration. He fought black equality in the Navy and, as a prosecutor, sought execution for three black men who’d been tortured into confessing.
VADM Black takes command at U.S. 6th Fleet; Franchetti headed to OPNAV N7
(USNI News) In a ceremony in Naples, Italy, that had guests and side boys spaced six feet apart in their dress whites, Vice Adm. Lisa Franchetti today turned over command of U.S. 6th Fleet, ending a historic posting as the first woman to lead a numbered fleet.
Goldfein: ‘Something broke loose’ in the Air Force after George Floyd’s death
(Air Force Times) Now is the time for the Air Force to “put on the gas” and move toward racial equality across the service, according to Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Dave Goldfein.
Pilot killed in F-16CM Fighting Falcon crash at Shaw Air Force Base
(Air Force Times) An Air Force pilot was killed late Tuesday night in the crash of an F-16CM Fighting Falcon assigned to the 20th Fighter Wing, Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina , according to a message on the official Shaw Facebook page.
F-35 simulators can now team up with other fighter sims for virtual combat
(Defense News) U.S. Air Force F-35 pilots at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, will now be able to step into a simulator and train alongside virtual F-16s, F-15s and other aircraft, a Lockheed Martin executive said Wednesday.
We don’t have enough cash to build new nuclear weapons, says Air Force chief
(Defense One) Nukes or conventional weapons, “the current budget does not allow you to do both,” says Gen. Dave Goldfein, suggesting Congress create a separate account.
First Air Force ‘Echo Flight’ class graduates basic training after English-language immersion
(Stars & Stripes) A group of mostly native Spanish speakers from Puerto Rico recently completed a first-ever Air Force program to provide them English-language training and cultural immersion before basic training.
Marine vet McGrath raises Russia bounty issue in Kentucky Senate race
(The Associated Press) Taking the offensive after her narrow primary win, Democratic Senate nominee Amy McGrath challenged Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to disclose what he knows about intelligence assessments suggesting Russia offered bounties for killing U.S. troops in Afghanistan.
Marine Corps buys dozens of SkyRaider drones
(C4ISRNET) The U.S. Marine Corps has awarded FLIR Systems a $10 million contract for dozens of SkyRaider drones, the company announced June 30.
General, colonel rebuked after Marine Corps finds serious flaws in fatal crash investigation
(Military.com) In a rare move, the Marine Corps has acknowledged a host of problems with an investigation into a horrific midair collision off the coast of Japan that killed six, resulting in new reprimands for two senior leaders who oversaw the squadrons involved.
Marine commandant says families of fallen service members are 'entitled' to answers on alleged Russian plot
(ABC News ) Gen. David Berger, the Marine Corps commandant, told ABC News on Tuesday that while he saw no evidence of Russians offering bounties to kill U.S. troops during his time commanding Marines in Afghanistan, the families of fallen service members are "entitled" to answers.
Historic Coast Guard ship ‘Taney’ to be renamed
(Wall Street Journal) Last U.S. warship afloat from Pearl Harbor attack drew protests for honoring Supreme Court chief justice who delivered Dred Scott decision.
Pay & Benefits
Some military families scrambling to find child care after Trump’s suspension of au pair visas
(Military Times) Having an au pair living with the Gile family made a big difference when the coronavirus pandemic lockdown hit this spring.
Lawmakers debate women veterans’ access to VA reproductive health care
(Military Times) As more reproductive-age women become eligible for VA healthcare, lawmakers on Wednesday debated issues including access to contraception, in vitro fertilization and abortion.
Coronavirus cases among Veterans Affairs patients tripled in June
(Military Times) The number of active coronavirus cases among Department of Veterans Affairs patients tripled in June, with more than 4,100 active cases at 138 medical sites spread across the country.
VA medical testing on dogs gets support and criticism in new report
(Military Times) Veterans Affairs officials and animal rights activists sparred on Wednesday over a report by an independent panel which said medical testing on dogs conducted by department researchers may be scientifically necessary in some cases.
Woman who faked death after cheating VA out of $300,000 now headed to prison
(Military.com) A woman who staged an "elaborate hoax" including a faked fatal fall into a gorge to avoid the consequences of VA health care fraud was caught anyway -- and will serve 3 and-a-half years in federal prison, the Department of Justice announced Wednesday.
US buys additional 248 JLTVs from Oshkosh
(Defense News) The U.S. government has placed a new $127 million order for 248 Joint Light Tactical Vehicles from Oshkosh, the company announced Wednesday.
The Air Force awarded another batch of contracts to build its new battle management system
(C4ISRNET) The Air Force on July 1 announced its second round of Advanced Battle Management System contracts, a series of awards to 18 companies worth up to $950 million apiece.
Israel Aerospace Industries CEO says he’s stepping down
(Defense News) Israel Aerospace Industries CEO Nimrod Sheffer announced July 1 that he is stepping down after two years in the position.
GE gets contract for first batch of F-15EX engines
(Air Force Magazine) General Electric received a $101.4 million contract for the first batch of engines to power the F-15EX fighter being acquired by the Air Force, according to a June 30 notice from the Pentagon.
The mercenary who botched a Maduro coup is lying low in Florida
(Bloomberg) Jordan Goudreau, a former Green Beret and prolific Instagrammer, signed a contract to, essentially, heist Venezuela. The results were embarrassing.
Cyber, Space & Surveillance
Inside the Navy financial system’s cloud migration
(NextGov) The Navy is running $70 billion in annual financial transactions in Amazon Web Services’ GovCloud.
Watchdog finds the Pentagon needs to improve artificial intelligence project management
(C4ISRNET) Poor management of artificial intelligence projects in the Department of Defense could erode the United States’ competitive advantage in the emerging technology, the Defense Department’s watchdog warned in a July 1 report.
Commentary & Analysis
Banning J-1 au pairs affects military readiness
(Military Times) Four years ago, we made the decision for our family to host an au pair not only for language continuity but to give us childcare flexibility to support my career.
Protecting undersea cables must be made a national security priority
(Defense News) Data is arguably the most important strategic asset to emerge in the 21st century.
How Biden would wage great power competition
(Defense One) Part 3: While Trump chooses go-it-alone, Biden wants allies and partners “at the forefront” of U.S. foreign policy. But his options to renew old agreements are limited.
Bring back the seaplane
(War On The Rocks) On December 8, 1941, Japan attacked the Philippines and destroyed nearly half of the U.S. Army Air Corps’ bombers along with a third of its fighters on the ground. Yet, 43 of 45 Navy patrol aircraft survived the day.
Russia’s new super weapons may be cause of radiation leak
(Forbes) A recent nuclear leak may be related to new nuclear-powered strategic weapons Russia is developing.
Drone-era warfare shows the operational limits of air defense systems
(RealClear Defense) While most countries struggle with the COVID-19 pandemic, the civil wars in Syria and Libya have become battlegrounds for foreign states backing different local sides.