Today's Top Five
1. U.S. pursues quiet troop buildup in Somalia
(Politico) The number of U.S. military forces in Somalia has more than doubled this year to over 500 people as the Pentagon has quietly posted hundreds of additional special operations personnel to advise local forces in pockets of Islamic militants around the country, according to current and former senior military officials.
2. Behind Mugabe’s Rapid Fall: A Firing, a Feud and a First Lady
(New York Times) The rapid fall of Zimbabwe’s president, whose legendary guile and ruthlessness helped him outmaneuver countless adversaries over nearly four decades, probably has surprised no one more than Robert Mugabe himself.
3. STRATCOM head would push back on illegal nuclear launch order
(Defense News) The head of U.S. Strategic Command on Saturday said he would refuse to execute an order from President Donald Trump to launch a nuclear weapon if he believed its use was illegal.
4. The Air Force is throwing money at pilots to stay. Fewer and fewer are interested.
(Air Force Times) Despite offering fat retention bonuses to entice pilots to stay in the Air Force, the percentage of eligible pilots accepting them is plummeting.
5. China sends bombers, intelligence-gathering planes through international airspace near Okinawa
(Japan Times) China on Sunday again sent bombers and intelligence-gathering aircraft through international airspace between the islands of Okinawa and Miyako in the East China Sea, part of what Beijing has called continued “regular” exercises in the area.
Ex-White House chief strategist Bannon hails Japan’s ‘natural evolution’ toward rearming
(Japan Times) Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon has hailed as a “natural evolution” Japan’s push to play a more active role in global defense and security issues amid growing concerns over North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs and China’s increasing maritime assertiveness.
U.S. serviceman arrested in connection with fatal Okinawa vehicle crash
(Japan Times) A U.S. serviceman found with a blood alcohol content three times the legal limit after a fatal traffic accident in Okinawa Prefecture was arrested Sunday, local police said.
Documents show U.S. mulled requesting deployment of nuclear weapons to Japan in 1960s
(Japan Times) The U.S. government weighed its chances of convincing Tokyo in the late 1960s to allow the deployment of nuclear weapons in Japan if an East Asia crisis broke out, declassified documents showed Sunday.
Ukraine Fields an Armed Drone for Use Against Pro-Russian Forces
(DefenseOne) After much experimentation and disappointing American UAVs, the Ukrainian military has a drone of their own.
Trump to be presented with $47M deal to arm Ukraine against Russia
(ABC News) President Donald Trump will be presented with the recommendation to finance and sell anti-tank missiles to the Ukrainian government — a move aimed at deterring aggression from pro-Russian separatists, a State Department official told ABC News.
Understanding al Qaeda through the massive trove of Osama bin Laden’s files
(Long War Journal) On Nov. 17, The Foundation for Defense of Democracies and FDD’s Long War Journal held an event to discuss the findings from the recently released documents from Osama bin Laden’s compound. The event can be viewed in its entirety at the video above.
Iraqi militia publicizes Iranian Qods Force chief by Syrian border town
(Long War Journal) Iraqi Harakat Hezbollah al Nujaba has posted photos of Major General Qassem Soleimani, Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Qods Force chief, inspecting positions near Al Bukamal in Syria near the Iraqi border. The town sits on a major border crossing into Iraq. The photo was taken on Tuesday, according to the group. His presence underscores the importance of the offensive in eastern Syria.
US-backed Forces Deny They Allowed IS Fighters to Evacuate Raqqa
(Voice of America) Officials of the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) are dismissing claims they brokered a covert deal with the Islamic State last month to allow safe passage to hundreds of besieged IS fighters evacuating from Raqqa, the de facto capital of the so-called Islamic State in northern Syria.
Kabul Investigates Reports of Taliban Using Russian-made Night Vision Equipment
(Voice of America) Afghan defense authorities acknowledged this week that Taliban militants have obtained night-vision equipment but fell short of confirming media reports that allege Russia had provided Taliban with the goggles.
US troops lack support despite expanding mission in Africa
(Military Times) A once shadowy mission in the Sahel region of western and north-central Africa has been illuminated since the attack that killed four U.S. soldiers in Niger.
Syria: ISIS militants defeated in final stronghold
(The Associated Press) Pro-government forces defeated the Islamic State group in its last major stronghold in Syria, state media and a monitoring group reported on Sunday, leaving the militants to defend just strips of desert territory in the country and a besieged pocket outside the capital, Damascus.
Japan-based servicemembers slapped with alcohol ban after fatal crash on Okinawa
(Stars & Stripes) The U.S. military has ordered servicemembers in Japan not to buy or consume alcohol until further notice after a fatal vehicle accident involving a 21-year-old Marine on Okinawa.
DoD eyes a change to GI Bill transferability
(Military Times) The Pentagon is weighing a policy change that would limit certain service members from transferring their education benefits to dependents, a Defense Department official said in a written statement this week.
Trump era sparks new debate about nuclear war authority
(The Associated Press) It’s hard to overstate how thoroughly the U.S. military has prepared for doomsday — the day America gets into a nuclear shooting war.
After years of letting captives own their artwork, Pentagon calls it U.S. property. And may burn it.
(Miami Herald) The military has decided that art made by wartime captives is U.S. government property and has stopped releases of security-screened prisoner art to the public. One attorney says the U.S. military intends to burn cellblock art.
Earning it: A complete history of Army berets and who's allowed to wear them
(Army Times) It’s official: Seventeen years after adding another color to its array of distinctive headgear, the Army is getting another beret.
West Point cadet makes the list of Rhodes scholars
(The Associated Press) A cadet from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point is among the newest batch of Rhodes scholars.
Sexual assault reports increase 28 percent at Fort Bragg
(The Associated Press) A summary released by the Department of Defense shows reports of sexual assault from Fort Bragg increased by 28 percent in 2016 over the year before.
Pentagon data: Fort Carson sexual assault reports increased
(The Associated Press) Sexual assault reports have more than doubled since 2013 at Fort Carson, Colorado, according to a report released Friday by the Pentagon.
Japanese tug boat collides with destroyer Benfold
(Navy Times) A Japanese tug boat lost propulsion and collided with the guided-missile destroyer Benfold during a routine towing exercise Saturday
Air Force offers follow-on program for airmen with short tours
(Air Force Times) Airmen who were selected for a dependent-restricted short tour can apply for the follow-on assignment program, according to an Air Force news release.
The Air Force is throwing money at pilots to stay. Fewer and fewer are interested.
(Air Force Times) Despite offering fat retention bonuses to entice pilots to stay in the Air Force, the percentage of eligible pilots accepting them is plummeting.
Air Force Academy cadet is a Rhodes Scholar
(The Associated Press) A U.S. Air Force Academy cadet from Tennessee has been named a Rhodes Scholar.
Where does cyber fit in the Air Force’s multi-domain command and control concept?
(C4ISRNET) The Air Force is finalizing its study on multi-domain command and control, a top priority for the service’s chief of staff. This concept seeks to orchestrate effects across space, cyber and air seamlessly, and potentially simultaneously, as a way to overwhelm adversaries.
Air Force studying the future of coordinated air, space, cyber ops
(Fifth Domain) The Air Force is on the cusp of completing a 16-month study that could serve as a blueprint for how the service will operate in the 2030s and seamlessly coordinate between air, cyber and space.
Air Force Academy wrestlers to face Fresno State on USS Midway's flight deck
(Military Times) Air Force Academy wrestlers will storm the flight deck of the USS Midway Museum in San Diego on Tuesday, looking to cause some crash landings.
B-52s Fighting ISIS Soon Will Carry More Smart Bombs
(Aviation Week) he U.S. Air Force B-52 squadron fighting Islamic State terrorists in the Middle East soon will be the first to field a key upgrade that will allow the venerable “BUFF” to carry eight additional smart weapons.
Russian Fighters Test U.S. Boundaries In Skies Over Syria
(Aviation Week) As Islamic State militants lose ground in Iraq and Syria, U.S. fighter pilots are seeing increasingly alarming behavior from Russian aircraft flying.
Air Force's Expanded Medical Waiver Policy Admits More Than 600 Airmen
(Military.com) The Air Force has allowed more than 600 airmen to join its ranks despite having previously disqualifying medical conditions such as eczema and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, new statistics show.
Driver in Japan dies in crash with truck driven by US Marine
(The Associated Press) Police on the southern Japanese island of Okinawa are investigating a fatal traffic accident that occurred Sunday when a truck driven by a U.S. Marine collided with a small truck at an intersection, killing the Japanese driver of the other vehicle.
One dead, three others in serious condition after boat hits barge
(WWL) One person is dead and three others were rescued by the Coast Guard after a boat hit a barge near Bayou Segnette Sunday.
Do you have the AI solutions the intelligence community needs?
(C4ISRNET) U.S. intelligence agencies are looking for the next best thing in analytics, particularly when it comes to artificial intelligence and similar solutions.
Ambassador to Nato unsure if US will impose sanctions on Turkey for S-400 buy
(Defense News) On Friday, the U.S. ambassador to NATO stopped short of saying that that the United States will impose sanctions on Turkey if it goes through with its purchase of the Russian S-400 missile system, but said Turkey understands “all of the ramifications” of its decisions.
Navy’s advanced warning aircraft to get datalink boost
(C4ISRNET) North Star Scientific Corp. has been awarded a $14 million Navy contract to design a datalink power amplifier for the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye radar aircraft.
CACI will support real-time surveillance of U.S. borders
(C4ISRNET) CACI has been awarded a $34.5 million DHS task order to support U.S. border surveillance.
Station: Video shows nurses laughing as 89-year-old dies
(The Associated Press) Two nurses lost their licenses after a television station persuaded courts to unseal a video secretly recorded by the family of a man who died in their care.
Couple quits Guantánamo after dumpster-dive arrest
(Miami Herald) An Army combat veteran and his wife who were detained by Navy police for plucking used uniforms out of a dumpster to fashion them into souvenir flags have left the base in the aftermath of the episode.
Separate housing for veterans in jail becomes a national trend
(Washington Examiner) What began as a simple idea in Middlesex, Mass., is now a trend being adopted quickly by county jails across the country: the creation of separate housing units solely for veterans.
Veterans Court helps vets get their lives back on track
(The Associated Press) In an office outside Judge Andrew Dimlich’s chambers on the bottom floor of the Raleigh County Judicial Annex, nine men and women in professional attire sit at a boardroom table.
Blind veterans find their way in a dark world
(The Associated Press) Keith Bynum, a blind Army veteran, lives by this rule: Life is not over just because you can’t see.
Congress and Politics
Why the military's Space Corps isn't dead yet
(The Hill) Congress will not create a new branch of the military dedicated to space this year, but lawmakers who support the move and defense experts say it’s only a matter of time.
Kushner failed to disclose outreach from Putin ally to Trump campaign
(NBC News) President Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, failed to disclose what lawmakers called a "Russian backdoor overture and dinner invite" involving a banker who has been accused of links to Russian organized crime, three sources familiar with the matter told NBC News.
Does cooperating witness have info on Flynn tie to Turkey?
(NBC News) A gold trader who is close to Turkish President Recep Erdogan is now cooperating with federal prosecutors in a money-laundering case, according to two sources with knowledge of the matter, and legal experts say prosecutors may be seeking information about any ties between the Turkish government and former National Security Advisor Mike Flynn.
Secret Service arrests person who tried to jump White House barrier
(Washington Examiner) An individual tried to jump a bike rack security barrier along the White House north fence lawn, the U.S. Secret Service said Sunday.
Special Counsel sends wide-ranging request for documents to Justice Department
(ABC News) Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team investigating whether President Donald Trump sought to obstruct a federal inquiry into connections between his presidential campaign and Russian operatives has now directed the Justice Department to turn over a broad array of documents, ABC News has learned.
U.S. Border Patrol Agent Dies From Injuries Sustained While On Patrol in Texas
(Wall Street Journal) A U.S. Border Patrol agent died Sunday morning after being fatally injured while on patrol in the Big Bend Sector of Texas, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
Cyber, Space & Surveillance
New US weather satellite launched from Vandenberg AFB
(The Associated Press) An advanced U.S. weather satellite designed to improve the accuracy of extended forecasts has been launched into polar orbit from California.
China’s aircraft carrier conundrum: hi-tech launch system for old, heavy fighter jets
(South China Morning Post) China’s second home-grown aircraft carrier could be a world-class warship if it uses a domestically developed hi-tech launch system, but the hefty fighter jets it would have to launch remain a fly in the ointment for the country’s naval power aspirations.
CHINA WINS ITS WAR AGAINST SOUTH KOREA’S US THAAD MISSILE SHIELD – WITHOUT FIRING A SHOT
(South China Morning Post) A detente between China and South Korea may be good news for the Korean economy and a necessary step towards resolving the North Korea issue, but at the same time it threatens to degrade regional security for years to come.
The city on the North Korean border where Chinese come to peer in
(Nikkei Asian Review) Close to the mouth of the Yalu River lies the city of Dandong -- a gloomy, nondescript place that lays claim to being the gateway to North Korea.
China debunks theory Saudi Arabia wants regional war
(Asia Times) The dominant narrative through the past fortnight since the Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri announced his resignation on November 4 from Riyadh has been that Saudi Arabia is working on a master plan in league with the United States to start a regional war.
Chabahar: Iran’s new ‘Indo-Pacific’ ace card
(Asia Times) On November 11, as US President Donald Trump was visiting Hanoi, Vietnam, trucks started arriving in Zaranj on the border between Iran and Afghanistan. On board the vehicles were the first shipments of wheat from India – 15,000 tons, with 7 more to follow – heading into Nimruz Province, Afghanistan from the Iranian port of Chabahar.
Bangladesh arrests militant suspect in US blogger killing
(Reuters) Bangladesh police said on Sunday (Nov 19) they had arrested a suspected leader of an Islamist group wanted in connection with the death in 2015 of a US blogger critical of religious extremism.
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe removed as ZANU-PF party leader
(Deutsche Welle) With Robert Mugabe's political days numbered, the ruling ZANU-PF party has sacked him as leader. Its Central Committee says he must resign as president by noon Monday or impeachment proceedings will start.
Saudi Arabia seeks to ratchet up pressure against Iran
(Deutsche Welle) Riyadh has convened a meeting in Cairo of Sunni-Arab foreign ministers to rally support for a draft resolution slamming Iran. Tehran's support for Hezbollah and Houthi rebels is a leading source of regional tension.
Israel to deport 40,000 African refugees without their consent
(Deutsche Welle) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has announced an unspecified international deal to expel some 40,000 African asylum seekers from the country. The Israeli Cabinet also voted to shut down a migration center.
Argentine navy ramps up hunt for missing German-built submarine with 44 crew
(Deutsche Welle) Argentina's defense ministry has detected 'satellite calls' it believes came from the missing submarine. The ARA San Juan disappeared three days ago while on a routine mission.
Argentina says it may have received signals from missing sub
(The Associated Press) Argentina’s Navy detected seven brief satellite calls Saturday that officials believe may have come from a submarine with 44 crew members that hadn’t been heard from in three days.
Rafah crossing to Egypt opens for (some) Gaza Palestinians
(Deutsche Welle) For the first time in a decade — and for just three days — the Rafah border crossing is open under the auspices of the Palestinian Authority. It's an important step in the reconciliation deal between Hamas and Fatah.
Arab states hold emergency meeting on Iran, Hezbollah
(Reuters) Saudi Arabia and other Arab foreign ministers held an emergency meeting in Cairo on Sunday to discuss ways to confront Iran and its Lebanese Shi'ite ally Hezbollah, who the Arab allies say are interfering in their internal affairs.
Iraqi authorities clamp down on sectarian hate speech
(Al Monitor) The Iraqi government, headed by Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, is seeking to penalize people for the hate speech prevalent in Iraqi society by arresting anyone who expresses such ideas or promotes slogans that insult former or current religious and social figures.
Lebanon under 'total control' of Hezbollah: Bahrain FM
(Agence France-Presse) Bahrain's foreign minister said Sunday that Lebanon is under the "total control" of the Iran-backed Hezbollah movement, in a speech at an Arab League meeting called by Riyadh.
Hariri Will Return to Lebanon Wednesday, Explain His Situation
(Voice of America) Saad al-Hariri, who resigned as Lebanon's prime minister earlier this month, said he would return to Beirut on Wednesday and explain the surprising resignation announcement he made in Saudi Arabia.
Frustrated foreign leaders bypass Washington in search of blue-state allies
(Washington Post) California Gov. Jerry Brown’s recent trip to the capital of the European Union had all the trappings of a visit by a head of state — he even got an upgraded title.
Mugabe still Zimbabwe president despite pressure to quit now
(The Associated Press) Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe on Sunday defied calls to quit immediately, saying he will preside over a ruling party congress in December in an announcement that could trigger impeachment proceedings in the parliament this week as well as more protests demanding his ouster.
People for sale
(CNN) "Eight hundred," says the auctioneer. "900 ... 1,000 ... 1,100 ..." Sold. For 1,200 Libyan dinars -- the equivalent of $800. Not a used car, a piece of land, or an item of furniture. Not "merchandise" at all, but two human beings.
Commentary & Analysis
Paris Pullout Shows How The US Is Shrugging Off Its Global Leadership
(DefenseOne) If America so easily tosses aside a hard-won diplomatic victory, what else is it willing to jettison?
Why America Loses Every War It Starts
(DefenseOne) There’s no school for presidents, JFK said — but there needs to be a way to bring knowledge and understanding to bear on presidents’ decisions.
I'm an Army veteran and gun owner. The 'good guy with a gun' theory is a myth.
(NBC News) I never see a "good guy with a gun:" I see a human more likely to exacerbate a tragedy than to stop it.
Are Hamas drones really a threat to Israel?
(Al Monitor ) State Comptroller Joseph Shapira published a special report Nov. 14 on Israel's national preparedness against the drone threat. The comptroller cited the urgency of the threat in his decision to publish now rather than waiting to release the analysis as part of his annual report. Previous assessments, like that of the Hamas terror tunnels, he said, have sometimes lagged behind the rapid development of severe threats, and there is no time to waste.
Smoked, vaped or in a brownie, marijuana deserves more study
(Military Times) OK, so that propaganda film was 80-plus years ago. It turns out, marijuana is not a “scourge.” In fact, it might be a key to helping our veterans’ service-related ailments.