Thursday Defense Brief

Defense

44 signed a major defense bill Wednesday, notwithstanding public veto threats the White House issued with regard to earlier versions of the legislation. – Politico

Gen. John R. Allen, the senior American commander in Afghanistan, has submitted military options to the Pentagon that would keep 6,000 to 20,000 American troops in Afghanistan after 2014, defense officials said on Wednesday. – New York Times

The nation stepped back Tuesday from the so-called fiscal cliff that had threatened big cuts in defense spending. But the deal could potentially make the automatic budget cuts known as sequestration even harsher on military programs if a deficit and debt agreement cannot be reached between Congress and the White House by a new deadline. – Military Times

Congress prevented the worst possible outcome for the Pentagon with its “fiscal cliff” deal by delaying across-the-board spending cuts, but the “cloud of sequestration remains,” Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Wednesday. – DEFCON Hill

Pentagon and White House budget officials are busily reworking the department’s budget blueprint for the upcoming fiscal year after Congress passed a deal to avert the “fiscal cliff.” – DEFCON Hill

ICYMI, the American Enterprise Institute, Foreign Policy Initiative, and Heritage Foundation write: [S]equestration increases the long-term risks to our nation’s security and prosperity in a world that is only becoming increasingly complex and dangerous…It’s long past time for 44 and Congress not just to delay defense sequestration, but to stop it, once and for all. – Defending Defense

The War

An American drone strike killed a top Pakistani militant commander in a northwestern tribal region, security officials said on Thursday. The death of Maulvi Nazir was seen as a serious blow to Taliban fighters who attack United States and allied forces in neighboring Afghanistan. – New York Times

After all the sacrifice and effort it took to get to this point, Washington should find a way—working with its allies and with the rich Persian Gulf countries—to sustain an Afghan army that is capable of protecting both Afghanistan’s interests and our own in that remote but important country. If anyone associated with this administration understands this, one would think Ms. Flournoy does. – Wall Street Journal (subscription required)

A federal judge in Manhattan refused on Wednesday to require the Justice Department to disclose a memorandum providing the legal justification for the targeted killing of a United States citizen, Anwar al-Awlaki, who died in a drone strike in Yemen in 2011. – New York Times

The men are the latest example of how the Obama administration has embraced rendition — the practice of holding and interrogating terrorism suspects in other countries without due process — despite widespread condemnation of the tactic in the years after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. – Washington Post

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) on Monday said public reports about civilian casualties from U.S. drone strikes are politically motivated and “wildly wrong.” – The Hill’s Floor Action Blog

Foreign Armies East

Myanmar’s military acknowledged on Wednesday that it had been carrying out airstrikes against ethnic Kachin rebels in the northern part of the country, and said it had captured a hilltop post from which the insurgents attacked government supply convoys. – New York Times

Taiwan plans to complete the first stage of an ambitious plan to upgrade its fighter jet force by the end of 2013, in an effort to maintain a credible deterrent against China into the 2030s. – AFP

Turkey’s former armed forces chief was detained on Thursday in an investigation into the military’s role in pushing the country’s first Islamist-led government out of power in 1997, local media reported. – Reuters

The Syrian army last week fired at least two Iranian-made, short-range ballistic missiles in what appears to be an effort to more precisely target Syrian rebelsN. – CNN’s Security Clearance

Iran on Jan. 2 said it had shot down two U.S.-made RQ-11 reconnaissance drones in the past 15 months, adding to a ScanEagle drone and RQ-170 Sentinel stealth aircraft it already claims to have captured. – AFP

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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