Thursday Defense Brief

Defense

With deep military spending cuts weeks from taking effect, House Speaker John Boehner on Dec. 5 urged President Barack Obama to send a plan to Congress that can pass both chambers. – Defense News

The Pentagon has officially begun planning for how it would carry out the first $50 billion across-the-board spending cut as part of the 10-year, $500 billion sequestration cuts set to take effect Jan. 2. – Defense News

U.S. military planners have begun to help organize a multinational proxy force to intervene next year in Mali, the famine-stricken, coup-wracked African country that has become a magnet for Islamist extremists, U.S. officials said Wednesday. – Washington Post

Flanked by AIA’s now-iconic clock counting down 27 days before the sequester destroys “two million jobs” (a disputed figure), President Marion Blakey declared: “I’m an optimist and we have to prevail.” But with automatic budget cuts slated to take effect Jan. 2, unless Congress and the White House reach an increasingly unlikely deal, just how forestalling the sequester isn’t entirely clear. – AOL Defense

The Senate defeated an amendment to the defense authorization bill that would have halted an effort to cut the department’s civilian and contractor workforces by an estimated 5 percent through fiscal 2017. – National Journal

Pentagon officials on Tuesday said that Defense Secretary Leon Panetta never abandoned a plan to cut the ranks of flag and general officers, rejecting a recent allegation by one budget watchdog. – The E-Ring

House Republicans’ “fiscal cliff” counteroffer to President Obama hints at billions of dollars in military cuts on top of the nearly $500 billion that the White House and Congress backed last year, and even the fiercest defense hawks acknowledge that the Pentagon faces another financial hit. – Associated Press

Intelligence

Simply adding to the existing intelligence bureaucracy is not the answer; there are more than enough individuals already on the payroll. The problem is we have too few of the right people. – Los Angeles Times

The Obama administration secretly gave its blessing to arms shipments to Libyan rebels from Qatar last year, but American officials later grew alarmed as evidence grew that Qatar was turning some of the weapons over to Islamic militants, according to United States officials and foreign diplomats. – New York Times

NATO

NATO on Wednesday called on North Korea to cancel plans for its second rocket launch of 2012, saying it would violate U.N. resolutions and could further destabilize the Korean peninsula. – Reuter

Germany’s cabinet agreed on Thursday to send Patriot missiles and up to 400 soldiers to Turkey to act as a deterrent against any spread of the conflict in Syria across the border, Berlin’s foreign and defense ministries said. – Reuters

Foreign Armies East

The new Chinese leader, Xi Jinping, met Wednesday with officers of the military unit that oversees the land-based ballistic and cruise missiles of China’s nuclear force, the state-run news agency Xinhua said, in the latest indication that Mr. Xi is moving quickly to solidify his control of the armed forces. – New York Times

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards are telling the United States to “recount” the drones in its fleet as they insist that — despite U.S. denials — they captured a small U.S. unmanned spy plane over Gulf waters, Iranian media said Dec. 5. – AFP

Cybersecurity

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is pursuing foreign hackers who targeted the computers of retired Adm. Mike Mullen, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in the latest example of what current and former officials call a pattern of attacks on computers of former high-ranking U.S. officials. – Wall Street Journal (subscription required)

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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