Monday Defense Brief

Defense

The Pentagon’s top weapons tester has given a failing grade to the Army’s premier battlefield intelligence processor, which troops in Afghanistan have criticized as being too slow and unreliable in sifting data to find the enemy. – Washington Times

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Nov. 30 that a tidal wave of outstanding amendments will force the chamber to finish work on a Pentagon policy bill [this] week. – Defense News

One formerly untouchable issue now occasionally crosses congressional leaders’ lips: additional defense cuts. In fact, if one listens to the public debate long enough, it appears that protecting the Pentagon budget from more cuts is suddenly an afterthought. – Defense News

Without specifics on the impact of the automatic U.S. budget cuts on individual programs, and with guidance from the White House not to pre-emptively warn employees of potential layoffs, U.S. defense companies are holding out hope for a budget deal. But they are doing very little to change their businesses. – Defense News

The U.S. Department of Defense has reached an agreement in principle with Lockheed Martin to purchase a fifth block of F-35 jets, ending a year-long negotiation that threatened relations between the joint program office and the contractor. – Aviation Week

Even as the F-35, America’s first 5th generation fighter, struggles to achieve liftoff, the U.S. Air Force is starting to plan on how to get the 6th generation of jets off the ground. – Defense News

This is a story about the Navy’s desire to rebrand and restore the reputation of what is arguably its most important surface-vessel program, which has faced mounting doubts and criticism, especially in the halls of Congress. – Aviation Week

The rise of drone warfare has meant a dramatic cultural shift for the Air Force, whose leadership has for decades been dominated by officers who made their mark flying combat aircraft. – USA Today

“Offshore balancing” in the emerging Middle East will be very much like shelling the continent of Africa, emotionally satisfying but without purpose or result. Some of the satisfaction will be lost when we balance the human cost of letting local conflicts run their course, as in Syria. But beyond what our moral sense can tolerate, there will be more tangible consequences. No one can predict with precision what they will be, but it’s a pretty good bet that the one thing worse than trying to put out all the fires will be letting them burn. – The Weekly Standard

The War

The Pentagon’s top lawyer said that policy makers must look to a time when the U.S. is no longer at war with al Qaeda and that taking on the remnants of the terrorist group would be a matter for law enforcement and intelligence agencies, not the military. – Wall Street Journal

The Senate appeared to reach a broad consensus late Thursday with a decisive 67-29 vote on Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s (D-Calif.) amendment to prevent the military detention of U.S. citizens. But the controversial issue of military detention remains as muddy as ever —  despite the agreement from lawmakers on Feinstein’s provision. – DEFCON Hill

As the Internet evolves, so do the methods of those who want to use it to spread hate and incite terror. Dealing with this new and constantly changing threat should be a major and continuing priority for the government as it works to counter violent extremism. – Politico

Intelligence

The Pentagon will send hundreds of additional spies overseas as part of an ambitious plan to assemble an espionage network that rivals the CIA in size, U.S. officials said. – Washington Post

Nuclear Weapons

A State Department board of experts is calling for steep cuts in U.S. nuclear forces beyond the New START treaty limits and recommends unilateral or informal reductions to avoid expected Senate ratification battles. – Washington Free Beacon

Rebecca Heinrichs and Baker Spring write: The Obama Administration is apparently considering further reductions of U.S. nuclear forces based on the misguided notion that the world is safer when America adopts a nuclear deterrence posture based on a minimal level of effectiveness. In contrast, a sound targeting policy consistent with a “protect and defend” strategy for the U.S. and its allies and friends indicates that the U.S. should maintain approximately 2,700 to 3,000 operationally deployed warheads and be flexible enough to permit continuous updates. – Heritage Foundation

NATO

NATO foreign ministers, meeting for the first time this week since Russia appointed a new ambassador to the military alliance, are hoping to improve ties with Moscow despite a fresh row over plans to send anti-aircraft missiles to Turkey. – Reuters

IAEA

An anti-Israel hacking collective has seized “highly sensitive” nuclear data and satellite imagery from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the world’s top nuclear watchdog, according to the website Cryptome. – Washington Free Beacon

About Courtney Messerschmidt

Is a personae for the contact, co creator, poster girl and correspondent of GrEaT sAtAn"S gIrLfRiEnD a collective of diplopolititary junkies. A real girl, she is an annoying, arrogant, audacious, bloodthirsty, conniving, cool, cruel, deceitfully sweet, discombobulated, flirtacious, jealous, hedonistic, lazy, machiavellian, manipulative, militaristic, self absorbed, self aggrandizing, self centered, semi charmed, semi retarded, shallow, spoiled, stuck up, high maintainance ne'er do well pixie with a penchant for immense libraries, depleting strategic cash reserves and wrecking cars every 10 months. Super saavy history and current events. My superior intellect and easy going smartassticness armed with a chaotic emotion meter gave me a formidable ability to be independently dependent. Currently exiled in Hillbillyland, I wield a vocabulary far above my tiny tiny weight class and have traveled widely including Europe, the Middle East and Alabama. I like Am Ex, Carte Blanche, Discover, Mastercard, Ray Bans, Visa and devouring American Dollars in alarming quantities.
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