Top 5
    Russia announces sweeping naval drills amid Ukraine tensions
(The Associated Press) Russia's Defense Ministry said the exercise will involve over 140 warships and more than 60 aircraft.
 
    2 Marines killed, 17 injured in North Carolina rollover
(Marine Corps Times) During the rollover Marines were ejected from the back of the vehicle.
 
    Troops would automatically be enrolled in VA health care under House plan
(Military Times) House lawmakers on Thursday advanced legislation that would automatically enroll separating service members into the Veterans Affairs medical system, an effort to streamline their access to that care if they need it.
 
    Leaked Oath Keepers list names 20 current military members
(USA Today) When they enlisted in the military, they swore an oath to defend the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic, and to obey the orders all the way up to those from the president of the United States.
 
    A soldier was beheaded at Fort Bragg. Over a year later, the Army still doesn’t know why
(Task & Purpose) The case of Spc. Enrique Roman-Martinez "remains unsolved."
 
Helpful Resources
    Military Benefits Guide
(Military Times) We’ve compiled the latest information service members want to know about basic pay, VA loans, education, retirement, and more.
 
    2021 Installation Guide
(Military Times) Explore our updated database of all the military installations, including location, phone numbers, schools, housing, and more.
 
Overseas Operations
    Satellite images show more Russian troops, equipment near Ukraine
(Military Times) Russian military activity has been increasing in recent weeks, with the Kremlin announcing plans to send troops to Belarus for war games.
 
    Biden issues new warning to Russia over invading Ukraine
(The Associated Press) President Joe Biden said any Russian troop movements across Ukraine’s border would be an invasion and that Moscow would “pay a heavy price” for such an action.
 
    Top US, Russian envoys discuss Ukraine at ‘critical moment’
(The Associated Press) U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned Friday that a weekslong standoff over Ukraine is at a “critical moment,” as he headed into talks with his Russian counterpart amid rising concerns that Europe could again be beset by war.
 
    China’s military demands end to Navy demonstrations in the South China Sea
(Stars & Stripes) A guided-missile destroyer steamed past two disputed island chains in the South China Sea this week, provoking demands from China’s military that the U.S. cease its freedom-of-navigation patrols in the region.
 
    US military in Japan reports 446 new COVID-19 cases as Tokyo breaks day-old record
(Stars & Stripes) Japan’s capital city reported its highest one-day new case number of the pandemic, 8,638, on Thursday as it reimposed coronavirus restrictions approved by the central government, according to Japanese media reports.
 
    A dam in Syria was on a ‘no-strike’ list. The US bombed it anyway.
(New York Times) A top secret unit struck the dam despite a military report warning that the damage could cause a flood that might kill tens of thousands.
 
Pentagon
    Lawmakers urge SECDEF to drop TRICARE copays for birth control
(Military Times) The extra costs are waived by most private insurers but not for members of the military.
 
Congress and Politics
    Lawmakers weigh breaking up toxic exposures bill in face of $282 billion price tag
(Military.com) Lawmakers and advocates want to help troops and veterans who have been exposed to environmental pollutants during their military service.
 
    Inside the Oath Keepers' plan for an armed takeover of the US Capitol
(Military.com) A day before the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, people from three different states wheeled cart after cart laden with weapons and ammunition through an otherwise unremarkable Comfort Inn Ballston hotel located in Virginia, just a stone's throw from the Pentagon, according to prosecutors.
 
    Rep. Madison Cawthorn decided that a hearing on burn pits was a good time to clean his firearm
(Task & Purpose) When asked about it his spokesman reportedly said, "What could possibly be more patriotic than guns and veterans?”
 
Army
    Fort Bliss soldier still missing 18 months on
(Stars & Stripes) The military has reiterated an appeal for information on the whereabouts of a Fort Bliss soldier who went missing 18 months ago.
 
    Army conducted fewer military funeral honors in 2021
(Military.com) The Army conducted about 7,000 fewer military funeral honors in 2021 than in 2020, according to data obtained by Military.com.
 
Navy
    USS Milwaukee confiscates more than $20 million in suspected cocaine
(Navy Times) Littoral combat ship Milwaukee confiscated more than $20 million in suspected cocaine from a drug smuggling go-fast vessel in U.S. 4th Fleet this month, according to the Navy.
 
    Personal injury firms prepare to sue Navy for water contamination
(Honolulu Star Advertiser) Former Hawaii Attorney General Margery Bronster has paired up with a mainland firm to seek compensation for Navy water users, marking the latest legal action taken in response to the Navy's Red Hill water contamination saga.
 
    Naval Academy offers looser liberty if more students get COVID booster
(Navy Times) U.S. Naval Academy leadership last week offered midshipmen the tantalizing prospect of looser liberty restrictions for the long holiday weekend in exchange for getting the COVID-19 vaccine booster shot, according to an internal email obtained by Navy Times.
 
Marine Corps
    Marine arrested in connection with fatal rollover near Camp Lejeune
(USNI News) The driver of a medium tactical vehicle replacement (MTVR) involved in a fatal rollover yesterday has been charged for his role in the accident.
 
    Marine Corps, Navy veteran sentenced for role in US Capitol riot
(The Associated Press) He was sentenced Wednesday to home detention and probation.
 
    ‘One of the finest’: Marine Corps to deactivate storied Island Warriors battalion in Hawaii
(Stars & Stripes) The Marine Corps will deactivate the Hawaii-based Island Warriors on Friday, casing the colors of a battalion that fought in World War II, the Vietnam War and the Global War on Terrorism.
 
    The Marine Corps is officially flying its ‘most powerful’ helicopter ever
(Task & Purpose) The new helicopter can haul almost three times the weight of the current fleet.
 
Air Force
    Human error, tech glitches and tape caused May 2020 F-22 crash
(Air Force Times) Several mistakes — including maintenance, pilot and technology errors, plus a wayward piece of tape — compounded to cause the secretive May 2020 plane crash in Florida that totaled an F-22 Raptor fighter, according to the results of an Air Force investigation.
 
    Air Force maintainers are getting new ‘janitor grey’ coveralls
(Task & Purpose) A leaked Air Force PowerPoint slide gave airmen a sneak peek of the coveralls that aircraft maintainers will be able to wear to and from the base, on the flight line, and in other areas where previously they could not.
 
    Air Combat Command designates five ‘lead wings’
(Air Force Magazine) Air Combat Command has designated five units to serve as “lead wings” as the Air Force looks to overhaul its force generation model and pivot to strategic competition with China and Russia.
 
Space Force
    Will Space Force protect orbiting gas stations and bases on the moon?
(Defense One) As U.S. companies venture farther from Earth, whether the newest service will protect them remains under discussion.
 
National Guard
    New Mexico asks Guard troops to sub for sick teachers amid omicron
(The Associated Press) New Mexico is the first state in the nation to ask National Guard troops to serve as substitute teachers as preschools and K-12 public schools struggle to keep classrooms open amid surging COVID-19 infections.
 
    SC National Guard’s planned cyber compound could have statewide sway
(Aiden Standard) A cutting-edge complex the South Carolina National Guard hopes to erect in Aiken County could prove to be the state's cybersecurity locus, with military officials and lawmakers recently underlining just how important the pursuit is.
 
Coast Guard
    Coast Guard repatriates 90 to the Dominican Republic following 3 illegal voyage interdictions
(Homeland Security Today) The interdictions are the result of ongoing local and federal multi-agency efforts in support of the Caribbean Border Interagency Group CBIG.
 
Your Military
    US military offers COVID-19 vaccine booster shots to eligible children in South Korea
(Stars & Stripes) U.S. Forces Korea is offering booster shots of the COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 12 to 15 and 5 to 11 if they’re immunocompromised.
 
Veterans
    Indiana community pays tribute on WWII veteran's 95th birthday
(Stars & Stripes) The small parade was part of a 95th birthday tribute to Brown — a World War II U.S. Navy veteran and member of the Greatest Generation.
 
    Dog tags belonging to WWII veteran from NC found in Italy
(WCNC) In 1949, she married a man named Thomas L. Vaughn, Jr., who was a WWII veteran and recipient of both the Bronze Star and Purple Heart.
 
Military Culture & History
    The wild story of Marine legend Smedley Butler that you won’t hear at boot camp
(Task & Purpose) He was known nationally by his many nicknames: “The Fighting Hell-Devil Marine,” “Old Gimlet Eye,” “The Leatherneck’s Friend,” and “The Fighting Quaker.”
 
Cyber, Space & Unmanned
    National Reconnaissance Office awards five contracts for commercial satellite radar capabilities
(C4ISRNET) The National Reconnaissance Office has issued contracts to five synthetic aperture radar satellite operators as the intelligence agency continues to look at how these commercial capabilities can be integrated into its missions.
 
    AFRL partners with SpaceX to explore Rocket Cargo potential
(C4ISRNET) The Air Force Research Laboratory is using a new five-year contract with SpaceX to better understand the constraints and viability of using space launch vehicles for point-to-point cargo transport.
 
    New NATO policy positions the alliance as a broker, not an owner, in space race
(Defense News) Amid the global race toward a militarized space domain, NATO sees its role firmly planted as a coordinator and interlocutor amidst its member states, but demurs from becoming a space-based actor itself, a recently released document shows.
 
Defense Industry
    Evolution of Aegis Weapon System could underpin joint all-domain operations
(Defense News) Steps by Lockheed Martin to virtualize its Aegis Combat System are helping underpin the U.S. Navy’s vision for its future integrated combat system as well as the Pentagon’s vision for joint all-domain operations.
 
    Israel inks $3.4 billion submarine deal with Germany
(The Associated Press) Israel signed a €3 billion (U.S. $3.4 billion) deal Thursday to buy three cutting-edge submarines from Germany, the Israeli Defense Ministry announced.
 
    Contractors demonstrate single-user drone swarm at DARPA experiment
(C4ISRNET) Raytheon Technologies and Northrop Grumman recently demonstrated the ability for a single user to control over 100 unmanned systems as part of a swarm in an urban battlefield setting.
 
    US seeks to speed up delivery of new F-16 fighter jets to Taiwan
(Al Jazeera) The United States is looking for ways to potentially accelerate delivery of Taiwan’s next generation of new-build F-16 fighter jets, US officials said, bolstering the Taiwanese air force’s ability to respond to what Washington and Taipei see as increasing intimidation by China’s military.
 
International
    Russian parliament to discuss recognising rebel-held east Ukraine as independent
(Reuters) Formally recognising the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic and the Luhansk People's Republic in Donbass, eastern Ukraine, is seen as one potential step Putin could take if he fails to secure security guarantees he is seeking from the West.
 
    EU agency seeks clearer rules on balancing borders, rights
(Reuters) The European Union needs clearer rules on balancing respect for human rights with the need for border protection, the chief of the EU's Frontex border and coastguard agency said on Friday.
 
    North Korea signals it may resume nuclear and ICBM tests, citing ‘hostile moves’ by the US
(Stars & Stripes) North Korea may be signaling its intent to restart tests of long-range ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons following a recent statement that took aim at the United States, policy experts told Stars and Stripes on Thursday.
 
    Sudanese judges, US denounce crackdown on anti-coup protesters
(Al Jazeera) Sudanese judges have condemned violence against anti-coup protesters as the United States said it would consider taking steps against those holding up efforts to resolve Sudan’s political crisis.
 
    Britain warns Putin and Xi: West will stand up to 'dictatorship'
(Reuters) Speaking in Australia, British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said Britain and its allies in the "free world" must respond together to global threats, deepen ties with democracies in the Indo-Pacific and "face down global aggressors" who were using economic dependence to try to get what they want.
 
    US allows Baltic NATO members to send arms to Ukraine
(Wall Street Journal) The decision will enable Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia to send Javelin antitank weapons and Stinger air-defense systems for Ukraine’s forces.
 
    Suspected ISIL fighters kill 11 Iraqi soldiers ‘in their sleep’
(Al Jazeera) The sources said the attack took place early on Friday in the al-Azim district, a mountainous area more than 120km (75 miles) north of the capital, Baghdad.
 
    US charges Belarus officials with aircraft piracy over diverted Ryanair flight
(Reuters) Four Belarusian government officials have been charged in the United States with aircraft piracy for diverting a Ryanair (RYA.I) flight last May to arrest a dissident Belarusian journalist who was on board, U.S. prosecutors said on Thursday.
 
    Baby among four found dead along US-Canada border
(Al Jazeera) Four people, including an infant, have been found dead in freezing conditions along the United States-Canada border after apparently being abandoned by human smugglers, authorities said.
 
    Security cooperation, China to dominate Biden's talks with Japan's Kishida
(Reuters) The leaders of the United States and Japan will contend with China's growing might, North Korea's missiles and Russia's aims in Ukraine when they hold their first substantial talks since Fumio Kishida became Japanese prime minister in October.
 
    Shelling on Syria’s Afrin kills six civilians; dozens wounded
(Al Jazeera) A rocket attack on a northern Syrian town controlled by Turkey-backed opposition fighters killed six civilians and wounded more than a dozen people.
 
Podcasts
    Veterans sick after toxic burn pit exposure are still struggling to get care covered
(NPR) Momentum on increased Veterans Affairs coverage for veterans exposed to toxic burn pits is building in Congress.
 
Commentary & Analysis
    NATO should shut the door, but not because Russia said so
(Defense News) For the U.S., however, it’s not Russia’s geopolitical sensitivities that matter most—it’s whether a given policy serves core U.S. security interests. And as far as NATO’s open-door policy is concerned, keeping it alive for the sake of principle no longer makes sense for practical and strategic reasons.
 
    What are US military options to help Ukraine?
(The Associated Press) How far might the United States and its allies go to help Ukraine defend itself if the buildup of Russian forces along Ukraine’s borders leads to an invasion?
 
    Putin loves to roll the dice. Ukraine is his biggest gamble yet.
(Wall Street Journal) The former spy chief’s tolerance for risk is tested as he threatens a ground war unseen in Europe since the 1940s.
 
    Three steps to help defense innovation break free from its shackles
(Defense News) The United States simply cannot meet the national security challenges it faces over the next decade if the resource allocation process is not brought into the 21st century.
 
    The Marine who marched on the Philippines — and then on Washington
(Military Times) Walk through American history with decorated Marine Smedley D. Buter in this excerpt from “Gangsters of Capitalism” by Jonathan M. Katz.
 
    Back to the degraded military future
(Wall Street Journal) Failure to pass a budget will squeeze defense at a vulnerable time.