Today's Top 5
1. US Central Command general says troop surge in Middle East may not end soon
(The Associated Press) Over the past eight months, the United States has poured more than 20,000 additional troops into the Middle East to counter the escalating threat from Iran that peaked with the recent missile attack on American forces in Iraq.
2. Pentagon could start global troop rebalance this year, Esper says
(Reuters) U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper suggested on Thursday he could be ready to start a highly anticipated global force repositioning this year as part of an effort to refocus the Pentagon on challenges from China and Russia.
3. 101st Airborne deployed to Manda Bay after al-Shabab attack
(Army Times) Soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division’s 3rd Brigade Combat Team deployed to Manda Bay Airfield, Kenya on Jan. 5, according to Army officials.
4. Senator calls for investigation after whistleblowers raise concerns about C-130 production practices
(Defense News) Until recently, Lockheed Martin employees manufacturing the C-130J may have been exposed to harmful chemicals, and the Defense Department may have ignored worker concerns, a senator said Thursday.
5. Navy striving for 71% on-time ship maintenance this year, no extensions by end of 2021
(USNI News) The chief of naval operations gave the Navy an aggressive goal to eliminate lost operational days from overrun maintenance availabilities by next year, and surface navy and maintenance community leadership believe they’re on track to do just that.
US military releases new details of Kenyan base attack that left 3 dead
(The Hill) The U.S. military on Thursday released new details of the Jan. 5 attack on a Kenyan airbase used by U.S. troops following a New York Times report that described the scene as chaotic.
Doomsday Clock ticks closer to midnight
(The Hill) The famed Doomsday Clock has been set at 100 seconds to midnight this year, the closest it's ever been to the metaphorical point of the Earth's destruction.
Why US troop cuts in Africa would cause alarm
(The Associated Press) Even as destroyed U.S. military aircraft smoldered from an al-Shabab attack that killed three Americans this month in Kenya, the al-Qaida-linked group issued a taunting message to African troops: The U.S. will abandon you just as it did the Kurds.
No, No America': Iraq protesters demand U.S. military pullout
(Reuters) Thousands of Iraqis rallied at two central Baghdad intersections on Friday after a prominent cleric called for a “million strong” protest against the American military presence, following the U.S. killing of an Iranian general and an Iraqi militia chief.
Good news or bad? Pentagon review of SOUTHCOM kicks off
(Defense News) Secretary of Defense Mark Esper has begun a review of U.S. Southern Command, which could lead to cuts to the regional combatant command — or perhaps increased resources at a time that China and Russia are ramping up activity in the region.
A Texas State Guardsman has created a War on Drugs service medal
(Military Times) You can get an award for practically everything in the military, but member of the Texas State Guard thought it odd that the War on Drugs hasn’t been considered a military campaign ? so he created his own medal, and he’s trying to take it all the way.
Command sergeant major’s death in Kansas under investigation
(Army Times) The death of a senior non-commissioned officer and military policeman stationed at Fort Leavenworth is being investigated by military and civilian authorities, post officials said Jan. 22.
Deployed 82nd Airborne unit told to use these encrypted messaging apps on government cell phones
(Military Times) A brigade of paratroopers deployed in early January to the Middle East in the wake of mounting tensions with Iran has been asked by its leadership to use two encrypted messaging applications on government cell phones.
The Army kicks off a new way to pick critical commanders
(Army Times) The Army has found a wholesale method for measuring the leadership potential of more than 800 mid-career officers to see if they have what it takes to command a battalion of soldiers.
The law of land warfare handbook is now available as a ‘pocket guide’
(Army Times) The Army has issued a new 200-page handbook for general officers and judge advocates in the service as it looks to update a more than 60-year-old guide for ground-pounders that may find themselves wading through complex legalese.
The Army's new battalion commander selection process is just like the NFL Scouting Combine, service chief says
(Task & Purpose) If you ask the Army chief, the new Battalion Commander Assessment Program (BCAP) is comparable to the National Football League Combine — and so far, things are going swimmingly.
US troops in Vicenza investigated after attack as Army reviews off-limits policies
(Stars & Stripes) Italian prosecutors are investigating several U.S. paratroopers after one of them was accused of punching a local man, fracturing his jaw and breaking most of his teeth, the man’s lawyer said.
Navy cryptologists urge service to name destroyer after Shannon Kent, the Navy cryptologist killed in Syria
(Military Times) A group of Navy cryptologists is urging the Navy to name a destroyer after Senior Chief Cryptologic Technician (Interpretive) Shannon Kent, who was killed Jan. 16, 2019 in Syria.
Will a case tied to a Navy base scuttle Trump’s border wall?
(The Associated Press) A federal judge in Washington state is considering whether to block President Donald Trump from diverting billions of dollars from military construction projects to build sections of border wall along the Southern border.
Here’s how the destroyer Zumwalt’s stealthy design handles stormy seas
(Defense News) After years of stability questions about the hull design for the U.S. Navy’s new three-ship class of stealth destroyers, the commanding officer of the lead ship, USS Zumwalt, is satisfied: It handles the seas as well, if not better, than previous classes of surface combatants.
Navy warns mail-in DNA kits could bring 'unwelcome' family news
(Military.com) Military leaders have been sounding the alarm about security concerns over popular mail-in genetics kits, but the Navy is now warning sailors against using the tests for other reasons.
Meet ‘Cabo,’ the Air Force’s newest F-22 demo pilot
(Air Force Times) The Air Force on Tuesday introduced Maj. Joshua Gunderson as the newest pilot of the F-22 Raptor demonstration team.
Air Force issues public health alert for ‘Wuhan virus’ following case in Japan
(Military Times) The medical group at Yokota Air Base in Japan is warning U.S. military personnel to be aware of symptoms of the deadly virus originating from Wuhan, China, after a case was reported in nearby Kanagawa prefecture, home to Yokosuka Naval Base, Naval Air Facility Atsugi and the U.S. Army’s Camp Zama.
Marine veteran faces prison time for allegedly bringing an illegal machine gun on Coast Guard Training Center
(Marine Corps Times) A 25-year-old Marine veteran faces up to five years in prison if convicted on federal firearms charges after officials said he tried to enter the Coast Guard Training Center in Cape May, New Jersey, with multiple firearms, including an illegally modified to fully automatic AK-47.
Montana Air Guard pilot killed in C-130 crash fighting Australian fires
(Air Force Times) A pilot from the Montana Air National Guard was one of three American firefighters killed when a Canadian firefighting company’s C-130 crashed Thursday while battling the wildfires raging across Australia.
Korean troops who fought alongside Americans in Vietnam could get VA health benefits
(Military Times) Korean troops who fought alongside American forces in the Vietnam War and later relocated to the United States would be eligible for Department of Veterans Affairs health benefits under new legislation unveiled by a group of House lawmakers this week.
VA looks to improve care planning for HIV patients
(Military Times) Veterans Affairs officials are emphasizing that physicians need to connect HIV-positive patients with long-term care programs as soon as possible after a new study indicated uncertainty over whether some veterans faced delays in those medical treatments due to slow reporting schedules.
VA proposes end to Obama-era policy for faith-based groups
(Military.com) The Department of Veterans Affairs wants to eliminate a rule requiring faith-based organizations to find secular alternatives for veterans who refuse help because of the groups' religious nature. The proposed change has been published in the Federal Register.
Negotiations ‘almost complete’ on Poland’s buy of 32 F-35s, defense minister says
(Defense News) Polish Defence Minister Mariusz Blaszczak said Jan. 22 that next week Poland “will finalize the deal on the purchase of F-35” Lightning II fighter jets.
Bradley replacement: Did Army ask for ‘Unobtainium’?
(Breaking Defense) For the third time in 11 years, the Army’s attempt to replace the 1980s-vintage M2 Bradley ran afoul of the age-old tradeoff between armor and mobility, several knowledgeable sources tell Breaking Defense.
Congress & Politics
In nuclear spending fight, it’s Trump allies vs. White House budget office
(Defense News) A new fight over America’s nuclear budget has erupted from behind the scenes, as key Republicans in Congress are appealing to President Donald Trump for a significant boost to the agency in charge of the nation’s nuclear warheads.
House Democrat presses Pentagon after Trump downplays severity of US troop injuries in Iran attack
(The Hill) The co-chairman of the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force is seeking more information on injuries U.S. service members suffered in Iran’s attack on an Iraqi military base after President Trump downplayed their concussion symptoms as “headaches.”
Trump is preparing to release his Middle East peace plan, will brief Israel’s Netanyahu in Washington, Pence says
(Washington Post) President Trump on Thursday invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his challenger in upcoming elections, Benny Gantz, to Washington next week for a discussion of Trump’s long-awaited Middle East peace plan.
Video: Polish F-35A deal close | Defense News Minute, Jan. 23, 2020
(Defense News) Poland is close to finalizing a deal for 24 F-35A Joint Strike Fighters, which could be worth about $4 billion dollars.
South Korea's push for tourism in North poses tricky balancing act
(Reuters) South Korea’s push to resume tourism with the North is aimed at resetting border ties, but must overcome Pyongyang’s skepticism and chart a careful course around U.S. efforts to pressure leader Kim Jong-un into eliminating his nuclear arsenal.
Cyber, Space & Surveillance
Why did the military research a pigeon-feathered drone?
(C4ISRNET) Airplanes don’t have feathers, but future drones might.
The US will launch its next spy satellite from New Zealand
(C4ISRNET) The National Reconnaissance Office’s first satellite launch of 2020 will take place in New Zealand, with the agency taking advantage of a new contract vehicle designed to leverage growing commercial small satellite launch capabilities.
What new documents say about US-partner cyber operations
(Fifth Domain) Cyber operations were given their first big real-world test in November 2016, during the Department of Defense’s largest cyber operation to date. Now newly released documents reveal that U.S. Cyber Command proposed passing some targets to coalition partners — information typically held closely.
The Pentagon CIO office’s plan for better software
(Federal Times) With just weeks until the Department of Defense plans to begin building its controversial enterprise cloud, one top DoD IT official laid out how the cloud will serve as a platform for another modernization effort: software.
Commentary & Analysis
Ask the ethicist: Is it OK to show Holocaust photos?
(Navy Times) Seventy-five years ago, the world first saw the horrors of Nazi concentration camps.
Freedom Ruck: 106 miles of sacrifice and service
(Military Times) A group of active duty service members, veterans and family members are redefining what it means to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes.
Explainer: How Iran’s military outsources its cyberwarfare forces
(The Associated Press) In the wake of the U.S. killing of a top Iranian general and Iran’s retaliatory missile strike, should the U.S. be concerned about the cyberthreat from Iran?
Where will Iran strike back against the US?
(Washington Examiner) Tensions between the United States and Iran, boiling after the U.S. killed Gen. Qassem Soleimani on Jan. 3, have now returned to a simmer.