Friday Defense Brief

Defense

The Pentagon is pushing ahead with its campaign to move women closer to the battlefield, despite a series of sex scandals involving senior officers and a report showing an increase in sexual assaults among the troops. – Washington Times

The fiscal uncertainty that continues to engulf Washington could delay the submission of the U.S. Defense Department’s 2014 budget proposal, according to a senior Pentagon official. – Defense News

As the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS-1) USS Freedom got under way in late November for ship-and-crew-deployment certification trials, it was clear that the LCS program team had made a priority of fixing some major ship issues noted earlier in the year by Aviation Week during an unsanctioned guided tour of the ship while it was in a U.S. Navy dry dock in San Diego. – Aviation Week

Fear of defense sequestration was not enough, in the end, to force through substantial fiscal and entitlement reforms, but the McConnell-Biden scrum that produced the final deal did protect the Pentagon. With continued control of the House in one hand and the Constitution in the other, Republicans do have what it takes to defend defense until they can attack the entitlement state. – TWS

The War

With 44′s second term about to begin, one of the administration’s first promises, that it would close the military detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, looks all but abandoned after the president signed a defense bill late Wednesday that includes an array of tough restrictions on the transfer of detainees out of the facility. – Washington Post

The GRS, as it is known, is designed to stay in the shadows, training teams to work undercover and provide an unobtrusive layer of security for CIA officers in high-risk outposts. But a series of deadly scrapes over the past four years has illuminated the GRS’s expanding role, as well as its emerging status as one of the CIA’s most dangerous assignments. – Washington Post

The FBI suspected within days of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks that the American Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki may have purchased tickets for some of the hijackers for air travel in advance of the attacks, according to newly released documents reviewed . – Fox News

A Pakistani man accused by British authorities of being an al Qaeda operative who took part in a plot to bomb U.S. and English targets was extradited from Britain to the United States on Thursday to face terrorism charges. – Reuters

An Afghan man who is being held with the most significant terrorism suspects in U.S. custody has apparently gained extensive knowledge of western pop culture in an unlikely place: the top secret prison-within-a-prison in Guantanamo Bay. – Associated Press

Nuclear Weapons

Buried inside legislation to avert the federal budget “fiscal cliff,” passed by the U.S. Senate and House on Tuesday, are two retroactive changes to wording on nuclear arms reductions found in a recently passed defense authorization conference bill. – Global Security Newswire

Poised to join his former Senate Foreign Relations Committee colleagues Barack Obama and Joe Biden (and possibly Chuck Hagel) in the executive branch, Sen. John Kerry will likely join this administration’s push for “dramatic reductions” in America’s nuclear arsenal. Yet as a long-time senator and possibly our next secretary of state, he should know better. Such cuts threaten both the viability of our strategic deterrent and the Senate’s constitutional say over treaties, a critical check on executive power in foreign affairs. – Wall Street Journal

Intelligence

Congress has drastically trimmed the budget for U.S. spies and satellites for 2013, though not quite as deeply as the White House wanted. – Associated Press

Cybersecurity

Brown is only one of a number of companies that are adopting tactics long used by law enforcement and intelligence agencies to turn the tables on hackers. The emerging trend reflects a growing sense in industry that companies need to be more aggressive in fighting off intruders as the costs of digital espionage soar. – Washington Post

Foreign Armies East

U.S. sales of warplanes, anti-missile systems and other costly weapons to China’s and North Korea’s neighbors appear set for significant growth amid regional security jitters. – Reuters

The Afghan National Army (ANA) is arguably the most respected institution in Afghanistan.  Keeping it that way as it becomes more self-sufficient will contribute to all of NATO’S post-2014 strategic aims….NATO political and military leaders should be brutally honest with themselves as to the actual requirement associated with ANA development beyond 2014, and they must avoid a dangerous pitfall endemic in this kind of decision.  Maintaining the ANA’s positive developmental trajectory is a necessary component to both NATO’s and America’s post 2014 strategy. – Institute for the Study of War

At least three suspected al Qaeda militants including a local commander were killed on Thursday in Yemen by a strike from an unmanned aircraft, residents and a local official said. – Reuters

Rebel fighters and government forces on Thursday battled for control of two strategic airports in northern Syria, the loss of which would be a severe blow to President Bashar Assad’s efforts to maintain a hold in the region. – Los Angeles Times

Mr. Nasrallah, the head of one of the most powerful state or nonstate  militant group/movement in Lebanon, addressed a ceremony in the town of Baalbek, near the Syrian border, by video link, underscoring the urgency of the need for a resolution. “I call on the Lebanese government to develop its position on the Syrian crisis,” Mr. Nasrallah said – New York Times

Facing an insurgency by a new rebel coalition, the president of Central African Republic consolidated military power under his control Thursday after dismissing his own son as acting defense minister along with his army chief of staff.  – Associated Press

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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