1. Senate postpones confirmation hearing for VA secretary nominee, casting doubt over his future (Military Times) Senate officials have postponed Wednesday’s scheduled confirmation hearing for Veterans Affairs Secretary nominee Ronny Jackson amid questions surrounding whether the White House may have missed serious concerns during his quick vetting process. 2. Sounding the alarm about a new Russian cyber threat (National Public Radio) The U.S. and U.K. governments say Russia is targeting infrastructure in the West with cyberattacks. 3. Afghanistan veteran receives world’s first full penis and scrotum transplant (Military Times) A veteran who had his genitals blown off in an IED blast while serving in Afghanistan made history last month by becoming the world’s first recipient of a full penis and scrotum transplant. 4. No panacea for aviation mishaps, military brass tells Congress (Military Times) During a April 12 hearing, lawmakers hammered military officials over what they will do to address a wave of rising aviation mishaps documented by Military Times, which found that accidents had grown by 40 percent from fiscal years 2013 to 2017. 5. Kremlin: US, Russia aiming 'cyber' pistols at each other (Washington Examiner) Russia and the United States are a pair of “cowboys [who] are aiming ‘cyber’ pistols at each other,” a Kremlin adviser warned Monday. Overseas Operations ISIS, al-Qaida ‘regrouping’ in Libya, what’s US strategy? Congress asks (Military Times) ISIS and al-Qaida are regrouping in war-torn Libya as reports indicate Russians are pushing a military presence into the years-long civil war and some members of Congress want to know what the United States is doing about it. Chinese aircraft carrier leads live-fire drills in East China Sea (Stars & Stripes) China’s only operational aircraft carrier — the Liaoning — and an unspecified number of ships conducted anti-aircraft and anti-submarine warfare training that included detecting enemy aircraft with radar and launching jets and anti-aircraft missiles, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported Tuesday. Saleh al-Samad, the acting head of the Houthi administration in northern Yemen, was killed last week in a Saudi-led coalition air raid. A rebel-run TV channel confirmed his death on Monday. (Deutsche Welle) Yemen war: Houthi political leader killed in coalition air raid Jim Mattis says he has 'reasons for optimism' on North Korea (Washington Examiner) Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on Monday said he had "reasons for optimism" that planned talks between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un could produce an agreement on denuclearization. South Korea halts propaganda broadcasts before summit with North (The Associated Press) South Korea halted anti-North Korea propaganda broadcasts across their tense border on Monday as officials from the two Koreas met again to work out details of their leaders’ upcoming talks, expected to focus on the North’s nuclear program. White House: ‘We have a long way to go’ in talks with North Korea (Politico) White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Monday that while the U.S. has seen “some steps in the right direction” in talks with North Korean officials, there is still “a long way to go” in the negotiations ahead of President Donald Trump’s historic sit-down with leader Kim Jong Un. White House: Trump 'not naive' on North Korea's denuclearization claims (Washington Examiner) The White House on Monday defended President Trump against concerns that he is "naive" to believe North Korea will follow through on its promise of denuclearization. State Department: US ‘will not leave a vacuum' in Syria (Washington Examiner) President Trump “will not leave a vacuum” in Syria, acting Secretary of State John Sullivan assured allies at a meeting in Canada on Monday. RAF Sentinel R1 hunting IS again (IHS Jane’s 360) A UK Royal Air Force (RAF) Raytheon Sentinel R1 radar surveillance aircraft is again supporting the campaign against the Islamic State extremist group, a senior defence source told Jane’s. Iran's foreign minister: America is already violating the nuclear deal (The National Interest) “If the United States officially withdraws from the JCPOA, the immediate implication would be that it would free Iran of any obligation to remain in the JCPOA.” The 17th Annual C4ISRNET Conference PEO EIS, NGA and PEO C3T to keynote May 10 conference (C4ISRNET) Maj. Gen. David G. Bassett, PEO C3T, Justin Poole, NGA, and Chérie A. Smith, PEO EIS, will keynote at the 17th Annual C4ISRNET Conference on May 10 at the Renaissance Arlington Capital View. Seats are limited, reserve yours today. Pentagon Pentagon completes probe into ambush deaths of 4 US soldiers in Niger (Washington Examiner) The U.S. military’s investigation into last year’s ambush in Niger, in which four U.S. soldiers were killed, has been completed and the notification of families has begun, the Pentagon said Monday. Defense electronic health records program seeks help organizing influx of data (NextGov) The Defense Health Agency wants to know if a vendor can help match all the new data it’s collecting with the old. Defense Department is pursuing another multibillion-dollar cloud (Defense News) This cloud is focused on collaboration and business tools. The ‘most powerful’ helicopter ever fielded by the US is also the most expensive (Task & Purpose) The CH-53K King Stallion heavy-lift helicopter is on track to enter arsenals around the world within the next few years — but it’ll cost a pretty penny. Army New airborne ruck for paratroopers goes to the 82nd this year (Army Times) Members of the 82nd Airborne Division will be the first soldiers to field a new rucksack designed specifically for airborne operations. This Army unit tested the newest Paladin howitzer by firing hundreds of rounds a day for weeks (Army Times) Cannon-cockers with the 1st Infantry Division’s “Bonecrusher” Battery fired hundreds of artillery rounds a day for two weeks straight as they tested the Army’s newest upgrades to the Paladin howitzer. Man gets life in prison for 2004 slaying of Army officer (The Associated Press) A Georgia man has been sentenced to life in prison for killing a young Army officer during a robbery attempt 14 years ago. Navy Authorities searching for missing Groton-based submariner (Navy Times) Authorities are searching for a Connecticut-based submarine officer who went missing last week. Incoming US Pacific Command chief wants to increase presence near China (Defense News) The nominee to be the next chief of the U.S. forces in the Pacific has called for an increase in U.S. forces from all three services stationed in the vital region, adding that China is now effectively able to control the South China Sea and challenge the U.S. presence in the region. Congresswoman wants Navy to help fight Mexican sewage spills (San Diego Union-Tribune) Rep. Susan Davis wants the Navy to study the impact of Mexican sewage spills on the new $1 billion SEAL training center. Navy’s P-8As unaffected by FAA’s Boeing 737 engine inspection requirement after fatal Southwest incident (USNI News) The Navy’s fleet of P-8A Poseidon aircraft are not in any immediate risk of facing the same engine failure that caused the April 17 emergency landing of a Boeing 737 – which the P-8 design is derived from – a Navy spokeswoman told USNI News. Service leaders rethinking Navy and Marine Corps education (USNI News) A clean sheet review of how the Navy educates sailors and Marines is now underway, with results expected to alter the way Department of the Navy training is conducted. Naval Academy head says court-martial possible in drug case (The Associated Press) A drug investigation at the U.S. Naval Academy could result in a court-martial of a midshipman who is “a suspected distributor,” the academy’s superintendent said Monday. US Navy gearing up for boost in submarine production (The Associated Press) The U.S. Navy is working to build three attack submarines in some years as opposed to two, and wants to keep five of its attack submarines in service longer than expected to address a dip in the number of nuclear-powered attack submarines in coming years. Naval Academy sees big boost in cybersecurity majors (The Associated Press) The U.S. Naval Academy has seen a big increase in cyber operations majors, and a U.S. senator said Monday that midshipmen could be useful in working on cyber challenges before they graduate. Carrier John C. Stennis throws sexual assault awareness rodeo (Navy Times) The carrier John C. Stennis hosted a “Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) Rodeo” last week, according to a Navy release. Air Force Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson in conversation with SpaceNews (Space News) A year since taking office as Secretary of the Air Force, Heather Wilson has been at the center of major changes in national security space. USAF continues targeting Taliban, IS-K targets in Afghanistan (IHS Jane’s 360) The US Air Force (USAF) released more munitions over Afghanistan in March than in the same month in previous years since 2009, according to US Air Forces Central Command (AFCENT). Air Force considering new ways to keep women in service (Federal News Radio) The Air Force is taking into consideration new tactics to keep women officers in the service as it deals with retention issues and a growing pilot shortage. Marine Corps The Corps is on track to turn the MV-22 into a refueling tanker (Marine Corps Times) The vastness of the Pacific Ocean presents a major obstacle to Marine forces. As such, the Corps wants to bridge that “tyranny of distance” by turning its MV-22 Ospreys into an air refueling tanker to extend the range of its fighter and tilt-rotor aircraft. Marines Zero In On Requirements for Future MUX Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (USNI News) The Marine Corps has refined its vision for a large sea-based unmanned aerial system (UAS) after honing in on capability gaps the Marines most urgently need to fill. The Corps is looking for a tube-launched suicide drone (Marine Corps Times) The Corps is in search of a tube-launched drone with an integrated warhead that can loiter over suspected targets at sea or air and strike with deadly precision. Marines add Stinger missiles, lasers to vehicles to make up for lagging air defense (Marine Corps Times) Right now, Marine Corps vehicles are exposed, and threatened by drones and other airborne dangers that could target the entire ground fleet, which lacks built-in defenses. World War II Navajo Code Talker dies at 92 (The Associated Press) A Navajo Code Talker who used his native language to confound the Japanese in World War II has died. Hundreds in Okinawa confront police to mark a year since start of contentious Futenma relocation project (Japan Times) Protesters in Okinawa rallied after being removed from the replacement site for U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma on Monday as they marked nearly a year since seawall construction began. National Guard Russians want to hack your election? Call out the National Guard (Bloomberg) When floods swept through West Virginia polling places during the 2012 presidential election, the National Guard came to the rescue with tents and electrical connections. For the state’s congressional primaries next month, the Guard will be on the lookout for another disaster: Russian interference. Coast Guard Pence to speak at Coast Guard Academy graduation (The Associated Press) Vice President Mike Pence has been tapped to speak at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy's graduation ceremony next month. Defense Industry Defense intelligence chief: ‘A lot of technology remains untapped’ (Space News) Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence Joseph Kernan, a retired Navy vice admiral, is rarely seen or heard at public events. But he decided to step on the stage and address the nation’s largest gathering of geospatial intelligence professionals to relay a message that the military is in the market for cutting-edge technology. Do new Trump arms export rules live up to the hype? (Defense News) For the greater part of a year, the defense industry has been eagerly awaiting a wave of new rules for defense exports that would ease regulations and open up potential sales for U.S. weaponry, particularly for drones. Orbital ATK poised to 'upset' SpaceX, ULA in race for Air Force contracts, Jefferies says (CNBC) Once a monopoly, the market to launch Air Force equipment to space is getting crowded. RE2 Robotics to develop a drop-in robotic air field repair kit for USAF (IHS Jane’s 360) RE2 Robotics is developing a kit to convert manned construction vehicles into unmanned platforms that are capable of airfield repair. Lockheed, US Air Force mount F-35 sales pitch at Berlin Air Show (Defense News) The first-ever exhibit of an F-35 fighter jet at this week’s Berlin Air Show could inject a new sense of competition for a key German military program that has already appeared to tip toward the European-made competition. To keep foothold in government market, satellite imaging companies have to gain trust (Space News) The golden age of open source has arrived. A thriving commercial imagery industry has been welcome by U.S. intelligence agencies but it also has brought a new set of challenges. South Korea to open bid for anti-submarine helicopters (Defense News) South Korea’s arms procurement agency has announced a plan to purchase at least 10 anti-submarine helicopters overseas at a time when the military is keeping weapons procurement programs low-key amid thawing inter-Korean relations. Dassault Aviation tours India to promote industrial partnership opportunities (Defense News) Dassault Aviation held its first executive committee meeting in New Delhi last week, signaling the importance of building an industrial partnership in India, the aircraft builder said April 23. Chinese cyberspies allegedly targeted Japanese defense firms for North Korea secrets: report (Japan Times) The hackers have targeted domestic defense companies, possibly to get information about Tokyo’s policy toward resolving the North Korean nuclear impasse, according to a cybersecurity firm. Indian Army reduces ammunition purchases as cost-saving measure (IHS Jane’s 360) Faced with a severe financial crunch the Indian Army (IA) has shortlisted assorted ammunition and spares that will be affected by cost-cutting measures, despite existing stocks falling short of the approved levels required for 10 days of ‘intense warfighting.’ Veterans Former VA secretaries throw their support behind Trump’s latest pick for the job (Military Times) In advance of a confirmation hearing on Wednesday, three former Veterans Affairs secretaries praised White House physician Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson as “eminently qualified” to take over the challenge as President Donald Trump’s latest pick for the post. War correspondent Ernie Pyle’s legacy more important than ever, officers say at memorial (Stars & Stripes) Navy Capt. Robert Mathewson Jr. didn’t know much about famed World War II correspondent Ernie Pyle before being asked to speak during a memorial service Sunday at the spot where Pyle was felled by a Japanese bullet. StoryCorps: The last viewing (Voice of America) A father who lost his son in Iraq is comforted by a chance meeting in Washington with the nurse who cared for the soldier in his last moments, and after. Families of former POWs angry loved ones can't receive full honors at Arlington (Stars & Stripes) A growing number of dissatisfied POW families are angry that enlisted POWs who survived captivity and made it home are denied full honors — most notably, an escort and the iconic horse-drawn caisson — at the nation’s most hallowed cemetery. Congress & Politics House lawmakers close Pentagon budget hearing to the public (DefenseOne) Mattis and Dunford have open hearings at the Armed Services Committees, but will talk over their $686.1 billion request with House appropriators in private. Election year history belies ambitious talk on appropriations (Roll Call) November might seem far away, but the midterm elections’ impact on spending bills is already on display, amplified by internal Republican jockeying for leadership positions in the House. George H.W. Bush hospitalized the day after funeral for his wife, Barbara (Washington Post) The 93-year-old former president was admitted to Houston Methodist Hospital on Sunday “after contracting an infection that spread to his blood,” spokesman Jim McGrath said. Pruitt support in Senate erodes as GOP lawmakers seek hearings (Politico) Scott Pruitt’s wall of GOP support developed some new cracks on Monday, with three key Senate defenders calling for hearings into the embattled EPA administrator's recent controversies. After vote switch, panel backs Pompeo for secretary of state (New York Times) Minutes before a Senate committee vote, Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky, bowed to pressure and backed the confirmation of Mike Pompeo to be secretary of state, avoiding a major rebuke of Mr. Trump. Republicans aim to sidestep another spending meltdown (Politico) Trying to avoid another debacle over government spending — this time in an election year — House and Senate Republican leaders are pushing for quick action on annual appropriations bills. 108 retired military officers urge Senate to probe CIA nominee Gina Haspel's ties to torture (Washington Examiner) More than 100 retired military officers sent a letter to the Senate Monday saying they are “deeply concerned” by the nomination of Gina Haspel to lead the CIA. Lawmakers want answers on FDIC data breaches and stingrays (NextGov) And a new bill pushes for the naming and shaming of foreign hackers and government officials who attack the U.S. National Security Pence names Keith Kellogg as top national security adviser (Bloomberg) Vice President Mike Pence named Keith Kellogg as his top national security aide, after the previous candidate for the post withdrew amid reports that President Donald Trump was angered over his role in anti-Trump attack ads. Chinese smartphones cited by intelligence as security risk sold on US bases (Stars & Stripes) The Huawei phones, which are being sold by TKS, an Army and Air Force Exchange Service concessionary and subsidiary of Vodaphone, could be used to gather sensitive information, according to U.S. intelligence agencies. Cyber, Space & Surveillance DARPA wants to merge human and computer cyber defenders (DefenseOne) The CHESS program would build on DARPA’s autonomous cybersecurity contest and traditional hacking competitions. Russia parades war-‘bots for the first rime (War Is Boring) On April 18, 2018, Russian defense minister Sergei Shoigu announced that the year’s military parade in Moscow, commemorating the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany in World War II, will feature new and advanced weaponry. Portugal, Australia to join NATO cyber center (Fifth Domain) Portugal and Australia is set to join NATO’s Cooperative Cyber Defense Center of Excellence (CCD COE) April 24, becoming the 21st and 22nd nations to join the center. War cloud: JEDI to deploy backpack servers to front line (Breaking Defense) In a world where knowledge increasingly matters more than physical power, US troops can’t quickly access vital information in a labyrinth of often incompatible and inaccessible databases. The Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure — archly acronymized as JEDI — aims to fix all that. State reauthorization elevates cyber office Tillerson once shuttered (NextGov) The House bill closely tracks a standalone bill to restore and elevate the cyber coordinator’s office. Drone technology is now dangerous enough to kill for (NextGov) Advances in consumer electronics are making drones available to armed forces without the resources to hire billion-dollar defense contractors. Experts say AI could raise the risks of nuclear war (DefenseOne) A new RAND report says ideas like mutually assured destruction and minimal deterrence strategy offer a lot less assurance in the age of intelligent software. Management chief: Workforce must change to reach IT modernization goals (NextGov) The Office of Management and Budget’s Margaret Weichert shares how the administration's “holistic approach” to management can fix the government’s technology woes. This FTC group wants to keep you safe from blockchain scams (NextGov) But keeping up with criminals' tech innovation can be challenging. The case for one giant, multi-billion dollar cloud contract for DoD (C4ISRNET) Top Pentagon officials are defending the decision to award a potentially multi-billion dollar cloud contract to a single vendor, pointing to the current state of the commercial marketplace, existing acquisition laws and battlefield requirements as critical components. GEOINT helps make the decision to strike ISIS easier (C4ISRNET) One concern for military leaders in recent years has been the need to share more information – particularly intelligence – with coalition partners, but geospatial intelligence is one discipline that could bridge this gap, miltiary leaders said during an April 23 panel discussion at the annual GEOINT symposium in Tampa, Florida CIA rethinks how to protect operatives’ digital lives (C4ISRNET) The CIA is looking to evolve its tradecraft and protect human operatives ? especially digitally ? much the way the military protects its penetrating aircraft, an agency leader said. Former VA CIO optimistic that IT initiatives will move forward (Federal Times) Despite being part of a recent leadership exodus at the Department of Veterans Affairs, former Chief Information Officer Scott Blackburn said that he was confident that the agency’s pursuit of a new electronic health record system would continue to move forward. Cryptojackers access people's phones to mine virtual currencies (Nikkei Asian Review) If you've noticed your computer or smartphone acting sluggishly after visiting an unfamiliar website, the problem may be more than just the usual file clutter. Your PC may have been hijacked to mine cryptocurrency. International Affairs Can Merkel and Macron save the Iran deal? (Deutsche Welle) During separate talks with President Donald Trump this week, Macron and Merkel will urge the US to stick to the Iran nuclear deal. In an interview with Fox News, the French leader warned there is no "Plan B." US won’t ease sanctions without action by North Korea on nukes (The Associated Press) The White House said Monday North Korea won’t get sanctions relief until it takes “concrete action” toward denuclearization, the goal of President Donald Trump’s planned summit with Kim Jong Un. G7 to study Russia's 'malign behavior' (Deutsche Welle) The G7 is to more closely examine Russia's attempts to sow "doubt and confusion" abroad, Britain's foreign secretary has said. The announcement was made on the sidelines of a ministerial meeting in Canada. India and China jostle for influence in Iran and Central Asia (Nikkei Asian Review) China and India's new Great Game has reached the playing field of the original imperial power rivalry in the 19th century: Iran and Central Asia. German military draws up 450-million-euro wish list (Deutsche Welle) Germany's under-equipped military, the Bundeswehr, wants to spend hundreds of millions on new weapons. Some of the money will go toward leasing drones from Israel, but first the government needs a new budget. Commentary & Analysis Editorial: Rise in aviation mishaps signals serious readiness, manning challenges (Military Times) Rep. Mike Turner made a stunning comparison recently when he was talking to top military aviation officials. Editorial: Military kids should not be penalized for seeking behavioral health help (Military Times) The promise of good, reliable health care for service members and their families is one of the most important things the nation promises to provide to the small fraction of Americans who volunteer to serve. The Army Reserve simply doesn’t have enough people willing to fill command slots (Task & Purpose) The Army Reserve is facing a mid-grade leadership crisis. A logistics colonel with nearly 30 years experience offers a few ideas on how to fix it. Time to terminate escalate to de-escalate — It’s escalation control (War On The Rocks) “Escalate to de-escalate” is catchy, it rhymes, and it rolls off the tongue. Unfortunately, it is also wrong — but not for the reasons experts usually focus on. Why Washington’s new drone export policy is good for national security (War On The Rocks) Last Thursday, the State Department announced its updated export policy for unmanned aerial systems, popularly known as drones. America’s endangered nuclear deterrent: The case for funding two critical capabilities (War On The Rocks) The U.S. nuclear triad is an aging collection of weapons, many of which were designed before today’s policymakers were even born. Because of modernization program cancellations, the average age of a Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) is climbing into the mid-40s, while the air-launched cruise missile weapons system has aged more than 20 years past its original intended service life. A new film reexamines the Haditha Massacre with troubling conclusions for the Corps (Task & Purpose) An investigative documentary on the 2005 Haditha massacre raises questions Defense Secretary James Mattis' involvement in a serious miscarriage of justice.