Today's Top 5
    Russia ready to discuss inspections with U.S. on arms treaty
(Reuters) Russia is ready to discuss mutual inspections with the United States in order to save the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty, RIA news agency cited Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs as saying on Friday.
 
    Trump administration asks Supreme Court to temporarily allow transgender military ban
(The Hill) The Trump administration is asking the Supreme Court to allow enforcement of a ban on transgender people serving in the military while it fights legal challenges to the new policy.
 
    Rolling Thunder ending its annual DC ride due to cost concerns
(Military Times) Rolling Thunder’s annual roaring parade through the streets of the nation’s capital is coming to an end.
 
    Bucking Trump, US Senate OKs historic Yemen measures
(Defense News) The U.S. Senate on Thursday voted to end U.S. military aid to the Saudi-led war in Yemen, a historic but symbolic rebuke to the White House and Saudi Arabia following the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
 
    US to bill Saudi Arabia, UAE $331M for Yemen refueling
(Defense News) The Pentagon announced it will bill Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates $331 million after undercharging the two countries for U.S. aerial refueling of their aircraft in the Yemen civil war.
 
Overseas Operations
    US Africa strategy hinges on local forces stepping up as Pentagon ramps down: Bolton
(Defense News) As the Trump administration pulls back America’s military presence in Africa, it’s calling for more African regional security organizations to step up, U.S. national security adviser John Bolton said Thursday.
 
    Trump’s 10 ‘terrorists’: Where are they?
(The Associated Press) For some time now, President Donald Trump has been encouraging people to think of Mexico as a portal for international terrorists who “pour” into the U.S. Except, he says, for 10 who were recently caught by the U.S.: “These are very serious people.”
 
    Negotiations yet to begin on return of US Korean War remains, Pentagon agency says
(The Associated Press) Months after the White House raised hopes for bringing home thousands of U.S. battlefield remains from North Korea, the returns have stalled. Detailed negotiations on future recovery arrangements have not even begun.
 
    US-backed Syria Kurds say fight against Islamic State threatened by Turkey
(The Associated Press) The main Syrian Kurdish-led militia warned on Thursday that threats by Turkey’s president to launch a new military operation against U.S.-backed Kurdish fighters in Syria will negatively impact their fight against the Islamic State group.
 
Pentagon
    The head of US special operations is putting out new guidance following ethics concerns, high-profile scandals in his force
(Military Times) In the midst of a Defense Department review of U.S. Special Operations Command, including a dissection of the organizations ethics programs, the four-star in charge of all American special operations troops is calling for an in-house analysis starting in the new year.
 
    Military Times' best books of 2018: 10 can’t-miss military reads
(Military Times) Here are the most unforgettable books of 2018, works that deserve and then command your attention.
 
    Montana Jody moved in to a deployed service member’s home, sold his stuff to buy meth
(Military Times) Being deployed can be tough business. While you’re busy hookin' and jabbin' (ah-punchin' and ah-stabbin’) overseas, concern is ever-present that the infamous, devious snake called Jody might slither his way into the affections of your gal back home.
 
    Here’s how two service members made their decisions about the new retirement system
(Military Times) The decisions that 1.6 million service members are making this year about whether to stay with the old or jump to the new military retirement system have just one thing in common: Each decision is extremely personal.
 
    This Air Force captain wants to retire at age 44 with the full military retirement.
(Military Times) For Air Force Capt. Brad Byington, crunching the numbers and taking a hard look at his career goals pointed to one path: He has decided to stick with the military legacy retirement system, rather than opting in to the new Blended Retirement System.
 
    For this sailor, the new blended retirement system is a safe bet
(Military Times) Navy Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Ronald Rhea made his decision early on to opt in to the new Blended Retirement System.
 
    Hiring our Heroes president: Military spouse employment is ‘critical to national security’
(Military Times) How many service members have talked about leaving the military because their spouse can’t find a job? The number recorded in a recent Hiring Our Heroes survey might shock you.
 
    Pentagon to take over all security clearances in nine months, officials say
(NextGov) The Defense Department and Office of Personnel Management expect to have merged two offices and moved 2,000 federal employees and a 600,000-case backlog of security clearance investigations nine months from now.
 
    Show Me The Data: The Pentagon’s Two-Pronged AI Plan
(Breaking Defense) “It’s not going to be just about , ’how do we get a lot of data?’” deputy undersecretary Lisa Porter told the House subcommittee. “It’s going to be about, how do we develop algorithms that don’t need as much data? How do we develop algorithms that we trust?”
 
Army
    Former Green Beret major faces murder charge for 2010 Afghanistan incident
(Army Times) After eight years, two investigations and the intervention of a congressman, Maj. Matthew Golsteyn is being charged with murder in the death of an Afghan man during a 2010 deployment.
 
    This Green Beret received the Soldier’s Medal for pulling an unconscious man out of a burning vehicle
(Army Times) It was about 3:30 a.m. on April 1, 2017, and Sgt. 1st Class Erik Kingsley was heading to the Raleigh airport with his wife and two daughters to drop off his airman brother-in-law, who was heading off to Okinawa, Japan.
 
    These soldiers bought tickets to fly home for Christmas. Then their leave was canceled.
(Army Times) The 4th Combat Aviation Brigade has been deployed to Eastern Europe since the spring, and for Christmas, their commander requested that they be allowed to go home for holiday leave.
 
    Army Bradley Brigade Will Get Israeli Anti-Missile System: Iron Fist
(Breaking Defense) Seeking to stop Russian-made anti-tank missiles, the US Army will buy Israel’s Iron Fist Active Protection System for a brigade of its M2 Bradley armored vehicles, Breaking Defense has learned.
 
Navy
    Navy kicking out four petty officers accused of barracks sex crimes with a child
(Navy Times) Four petty officers accused of sex crimes with a child in the barracks of a Washington state base have received non-judicial punishment and are being kicked out of the Navy, officials confirmed this week.
 
    Navy F-35 squadron gets ‘safe for flight operations’ ticket
(Navy Times) A U.S. Navy joint strike fighter squadron netted a safe-for-flight operations certification on Thursday, hitting another milestone on the way to initial operational capability.
 
    Shipwreck mystery: What happened to this U.S. warship that sank in WWI?
(The Associated Press) A hundred years ago, a mysterious explosion hit the only major U.S. warship to sink during World War I. Now the Navy believes it has the answer to what doomed the armored cruiser San Diego: An underwater mine set by a German submarine cruising in waters just miles from New York City.
 
    Stennis, Essex perform joint exercises in Arabian Sea
(UPI) The nuclear powered John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group and the Essex Amphibious Ready Ground amphibious group engaged in joint training exercises in the Arabian Sea on Dec. 12.
 
    Navy to refurbish T64 aircraft engines for Sea Stallion helicopters
(UPI) General Electric Aviation has been awarded $157.7 million by the Navy for support of the T64 aircraft engine.
 
    Navy Looking To Fly P-8s From Cold War-era Base In Alaska
(Breaking Defense) The Navy may begin deploying submarine-hunting P-8 Poseidon aircraft to a small airstrip hundreds of miles off the Alaskan coast, signaling a new emphasis on keeping watch over Russian and Chinese moves in the Arctic.
 
Air Force
    Academy announces new commandant of cadets
(Air Force Times) Brig. Gen. Michele Edmondson has been selected to become the next commandant of cadets for the Air Force Academy.
 
    Contested airspace: Airmen build base from scratch, through surface-to-air fires and non-permissive threats
(Air Force Times) The Air Force is getting serious about great power competition, and the focus isn’t solely on the actions of generals in smokey war rooms. Ordinary airmen, those who defend a base, arm aircraft and build infrastructure, will be required to stand post in a future conflict involving peer-level adversaries like Russia.
 
    Langley Air Force Base secretary faked payroll for 17 years, giving herself an extra $1.46 million
(The Associated Press) A former secretary at Langley Air Force Base has pleaded guilty to bilking the government out of nearly $1.5 million over 17 years.
 
    Air Force lifts temporary pause on humanitarian assistance program at Tyndall
(Military.com) The U.S. Air Force has lifted a short-lived pause on applications for the Humanitarian Reassignment and Deferment Program at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, and is processing new cases, a spokesman for the base said Thursday.
 
Marine Corps
    Marine Corps reservist charged in shooting death in New Orleans
(The Associated Press) The New Orleans District Attorney’s Office says a man has been indicted in connection with a fatal shooting in the city’s central business district last summer.
 
    $3.6 Billion Needed To Rebuild Camp Lejeune Facilities Damaged By Hurricane Florence
(USNI News) The Marine Corps is looking at a hefty construction cost to repair or replace hundreds of buildings at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune damaged during Hurricane Florence.
 
    Airbus strategy review augurs clean break under new CEO
(Reuters) Airbus has launched a strategic review to outline changes under incoming chief executive Guillaume Faury as it faces industrial challenges and prepares for overdue modernization, industry sources said.
 
National Guard
    The National Guard just turned 382 — check out these impressive photos of the Guard battling fires, hurricanes, and more
(Business Insider) The National Guard, a unique part of the American military, traces its origins to the birth of the first organized colonial militia regiments on December 13, 1636.
 
Defense Industry
    Germany, US haggle over access to secret missile-performance data
(Defense News) The United States and Germany continue to negotiate behind the scenes over access to a highly classified computer model that Berlin needs so it can build its next-generation anti-missile system, according to sources and documents.
 
    India court rejects challenge to Dassault jet deal; win for Modi
(Reuters) India's top court rejected petitions on Friday seeking a probe into a fighter jet deal worth about $8.7 billion with France's Dassault Aviation , handing a political victory to the ruling party months before a general election.
 
Veterans
    VA hospitals often the best option for medical care, study finds
(Military Times) Veterans Affairs officials are touting a new study praising VA hospitals for outperforming most private-sector medical options, but rejecting the authors’ conclusions that the findings undermine the administration’s support for shifting more veterans care into the private sector.
 
    Some schools punish GI Bill users for VA’s delays. Congress may be about to stop that.
(Military Times) The House of Representatives this week overwhelmingly passed a bipartisan bill that would protect student veterans from being penalized for late GI Bill payments, a move that advocates say could have helped avoid some of the chaos of the past semester.
 
    A new home away from home for wounded warriors and their families
(Military Times) Wounded warriors healing from the physical and mental injuries of war now have a new refuge to call home during recovery.
 
    North Dakota governor proposes tax exemption for military pay, pensions
(The Associated Press) Gov. Doug Burgum wants to exempt military pay and pensions from North Dakota income taxes, arguing in part that retaining veterans could help the state fill thousands of open jobs.
 
Congress & Politics
    Inhofe bought Raytheon stock after advocating budget hike
(Defense News) Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Jim Inhofe bought Raytheon stock after reports he and others prevailed on President Donald Trump to boost the defense budget, but he has since unloaded the stock and said through a spokesperson he wasn’t aware of the purchase when it happened.
 
    Blue water Navy' backers press Trump to pressure senators
(Military.com) Using the last arrow in their quill, veteran groups and service organizations urged President Donald Trump on Wednesday to use his personal influence with two Republican senators to persuade them to allow a vote on the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act (HR 299) before the 115th Congress expires next week.
 
    Senate Armed Services chair not convinced of need for Trump's Space Force
(The Hill) Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman James Inhofe (R-Okla.) is unconvinced that President Trump's proposed Space Force is necessary, leaving it out of his top priorities for next year's defense policy bill.
 
    House funding bill scraps Arctic icebreaker program
(The Hill) The Homeland Security funding bill that includes the $5 billion requested by President Trump for his proposed border wall would scrap a program to expand the U.S. icebreaker presence in the Arctic.
 
    ‘A Few More Weapons Purchases Cannot Buy Our Silence,’ Senator Says in Rebuke of Saudi Arabia
(New York Times) Senator Robert Menendez, Democrat of New Jersey, joined a bipartisan group of senators in voting to withdraw military aid to Saudi Arabia for its war in Yemen. The move comes amid the mounting criticism against the Trump administration for its defense of the kingdom since the killing of the Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi.
 
Cyber, Space & Surveillance
    Will the Space Force sit under the Department of the Air Force? The Pentagon finally has an answer.
(Defense News) The question of whether the Space Force will be an entirely new military department or reside under the Department of the Air Force has been settled, the Pentagon’s No. 2 leader said Thursday.
 
    Russia’s Carnivora is designed for a drone-eat-drone world
(C4ISRNET) What better tool to stop a drone than a drone? While the Carnivora won’t be catching any Predators, the new counter-drone robot is built to hunt much smaller, more immediate airborne pray. Announced on December 13th, 2018, the robot is produced by Russia’s Mikran and has a stated mission to devour the competition.
 
    The ‘dirty’ secret behind autonomous machines
(C4ISRNET) Fourteen years ago, the future of robotic warfare ground to a halt in the desert outside Barstow, California.
 
    Rise of the machines: The Pentagon’s AI workforce plan
(C4ISRNET) The Department of Defense is looking to build a 21st century military staffed with a cadre of resident data scientists, engineers and artificial intelligence professionals.
 
    Hackers are making their attacks look like they came from the Chinese government
(Fifth Domain) Hackers are increasingly using false flag operations that wrongly point the blame toward China for some cyberattacks, threat intelligence experts said.
 
    Iran hackers hunt nuke workers, US officials
(The Associated Press) As U.S. President Donald Trump re-imposed harsh economic sanctions on Iran last month, hackers scrambled to break into personal emails of American officials tasked with enforcing them, The Associated Press has found — another sign of how deeply cyberespionage is embedded into the fabric of U.S.-Iranian relations.
 
    As Pentagon Demands Cybersecurity, Industry Group Offers New Standards: AIA
(Breaking Defense) As the DoD prepares to make cyber security a key pillar for what it buys — and from whom — a defense and aerospace trade group unveils a new standard that will allow companies, and the government, to see how secure contractors really are.
 
International Affairs
    What Does Growing U.S.-China Rivalry Mean for America’s Allies in Asia?
(The National Interest) Could they end up having to choose sides?
 
Commentary & Analysis
    The Divide Between Silicon Valley and Washington Is a National-Security Threat
(NextGov) Closing the gap between technology leaders and policy makers will require a radically different approach from the defense establishment.
 
    The Senate’s resolution was a powerful repudiation of Saudi Arabia — and Trump
(Washington Post) Votes should make clear to Mr. Trump that he can no longer shield Saudi Arabia from the consequences of the crown prince’s reckless actions.
 
    Three Choices on Brexit, None Good
(New York Times) Pity poor Theresa May and her faltering plan for Britain to exit the European Union. Whatever it is, her critics are against it.