Thursday Defense Briefing

Defense

The Senate on Wednesday agreed to re-pass the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) in order to dodge a technical hurdle that was preventing the House and Senate from meeting to agree on a final version of the bill. – The Hill’s Floor Action Blog

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta reiterated the White House’s veto threat of the defense authorization bill to lawmakers as they hash out the final version of the bill in conference committee. – DEFCON Hill

U.S. defense officials are still holding out hope that they might be given some flexibility on how to tailor spending reductions, particularly in weapon buying accounts, should sequestration go into effect next month, according to a senior defense official. – Defense News

The defense industry’s loud campaign against sequestration has led many observers to believe those companies would be safe if steep cuts to the military budget under sequestration are avoided. That’s a misperception. The defense industrial base is also concerned about possible cuts to the nondefense budget if the $109 billion in automatic cuts takes effect next year – National Journal

Michele Flournoy, oft rumored as the next Secretary of Defense, called the military’s elaborate planning process “stale,” its training too risk-averse, and its corporate culture in danger of a new “Vietnam syndrome” where it willfully forgets the lessons of the last decade of guerrilla war. – AOL Defense

The Pentagon has notified Congress of its intent to sign a multibillion-dollar deal with Lockheed Martin for 32 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, according to a senior defense official. The actual inking of the contract is expected on Dec. 14. – Defense News

The search for Canada’s newest fighter jet is now under way, according to the country’s defense leaders, yet another indication the longtime U.S. ally is planning to walk away from the Pentagon’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program. – DEFCON Hill

The War

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta met with American commanders in Afghanistan on Wednesday to finish work on options that will be presented to President Barack Obama for keeping a limited American troop presence in the country after 2014. – Wall Street Journal (subscription required)

Top U.S. intelligence officials gathered in the White House Situation Room in March to debate a controversial proposal. Counterterrorism officials wanted to create a government dragnet, sweeping up millions of records about U.S. citizens—even people suspected of no crime. – Wall Street Journal (subscription required)

Even before its official release, “Zero Dark Thirty,” the new movie about the hunt for Osama bin Laden, has become a national Rorschach test on the divisive subject of torture. – New York Times

A military judge has ruled that any testimony about the CIA’s treatment of Khalid Sheik Mohammed and four other men accused of orchestrating the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks will remain secret during their death penalty trial at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. – Washington Post

Missile Defense

The U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) is planning another major flight trial involving multiple targets and multiple interceptors to increasingly challenge its young missile defense shield’s ability to handle “raids,” or multiple threats launched simultaneously. – Aviation Week

Nuclear Weapons

Dozens of Democratic lawmakers have revived a call for $100 billion in U.S. nuclear weapons spending reductions over 10 years as Congress pushes to enact $1.2 trillion in deficit reductions by the beginning of January. – Global Security Newswire

Foreign Armies East

Syrian forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad have fired Scud missiles at rebel fighters in recent days, Obama administration officials said on Wednesday. – New York Time

Turkey plans to build four frigates with assistance from foreign shipyards and likely will fund an additional four for a total cost of about $7 billion, after the current production of eight corvettes is completed between 2015 and 2020, a senior procurement official said. – Defense News

Japan scrambled fighter jets on Thursday after a Chinese surveillance plane entered what Japan considers its airspace above disputed islands that have become a source of heightened tension between the Asian powers. – New York Times

India and Israel are discussing broader cooperation in joint weapon development, with India also seeking to purchase and produce the Iron Dome short-range surface-to-air missile defense system. – Defense News
 

Cybersecurity

Some of the nation’s biggest banks are at risk of a massive cyber attack next year that could potentially siphon funds from unsuspecting customers, according to a leading digital security firm. – CNN’s Security Clearance

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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