Tuesday Defense Briefing

Come March 1, automatic spending cuts will begin slicing $500 billion from the Pentagon’s budget over the next 10 years — and prompting layoffs for as many as 800,000 civilian Defense Department workers. – Washington Times

The controversial fiscal cliff deal reached last week would deliver a softer blow to the Pentagon’s budget than could have occurred, says Defense Department Comptroller Robert Hale. – Defense News

The battle of the fiscal cliff is over, but the war to stop sequestration rages on – and President Obama’s decision that his new Secretary of Defense should be former Sen. Chuck Hagel, the Republican other Republicans love to hate, makes it even harder to get a deal. – AOL Defense

The design of the Freedom-type LCS ship includes a weave of disparate — and often foreign-made — systems combined in the vessel in a way not done before, and it has been difficult in some cases to locate and buy parts, components and equipment for the ship. Being a new class of ships, LCS has yet to generate the kind of demand of other ship classes that have been in the Navy procurement system longer. – Aviation Week

Sec. of the Air Force Michael Donley: Trading size to maintain a quality force, and staying focused on readiness and modernization, will be politically difficult and challenging to implement. But absent additional resources, this likely remains the best combination of choices available to sustain America’s military as the world’s finest. – AOL Defense

Plans to concentrate the biggest U.S. military presence in Asia on the tropical island of Guam have been pushed back for several years, hit by local opposition and cost overruns. – Wall Street Journal (subscription required)

So far, the debate about the defense budget has focused chiefly on dollars — with the huge numbers involved tossed about like chips in a Vegas casino, with little regard for context or strategy. A more useful way to approach the problem is conceptually. There are two basic ways we can cut the defense budget further, should we choose to do so – Foreign Policy

Intelligence

44’s nomination on Monday of John O. Brennan as director of the Central Intelligence Agency puts one of his closest and most powerful aides in charge of an agency that has been transformed by more than a decade of secret wars. – New York Times

Nuclear Weapons/Nonproliferation

There is no expectation that Russia and NATO will reach an accord anytime soon to reduce their respective stocks of deployed short-range nuclear weapons, a Russian arms control expert declared on Friday. – Global Security Newswire

U.N. nuclear chief Yukiya Amano, a key figure in international diplomacy on Iran’s disputed nuclear work, is set to win another four-year term as he faces no rivals for the post. – Reuters

36 once quipped that “good nonproliferation policies make for bad politics.” It’s not surprising that the 44th administration has gone soft on nonproliferation when a hard line proves inconvenient. But this administration asked to be held to a higher standard, so its nonproliferation failures must be tallied with candor. – Defense News

The plan to solidify the number of U.S. troops that will be left in Afghanistan after the NATO-led operations end in 2014 should come into greater focus this week as Afghan President Hamid Karzai visits Washington. – CNN’s Security Clearance

Missile Defense

In these days of austerity and across-the-board cost-cutting measures, it is inconceivable that we would risk the safety of our troops and the well-being of our allies by not supporting a proven missile system that is cost-effective and efficient. Turkey and other allies are now reaping the benefits of the continued investment in Patriot – our best deterrent of war and preserver of peace. – AOL Defense

As U.S. troops arrive in Turkey and prepare to man Patriot antimissile batteries along the Syrian border, some of the people who will be under such protection say that the extra line of defense is not needed and that the presence of foreign forces could pull their country into the war next door. – Washington Post

The War

LTG David Barno: For Americans, the Afghanistan war is entering its final phase. Obama knows that this war will end on his watch. His legacy as president will inevitably be shaped by its outcome. Whether U.S. troops ultimately stay or leave Afghanistan after 2014 may now come down to just one week of tough bargaining. Each nation has a great deal at stake. – Foreign Policy

A U.S. drone strike killed eight people in northwestern Pakistan on Tuesday, three intelligence sources said, the latest in a series of drone attacks that come as a retired U.S. general warns their overuse may threaten American foreign policy goals. – Reuters

A Pakistani man accused of taking part in an international al Qaeda plot to attack targets in the United States and Europe pleaded not guilty to terrorism charges during his first U.S. court appearance Monday in New York. – Reuters

A jihadist group with links to al Qaeda has become the most effective of the different factions fighting the in regime, according to a new analysis, and now has some 5,000 fighters. – CNN’s Security Clearance

Foreign Armies East

The United States has given 200 armored vehicles to Lebanon, the Lebanese army said on Monday, bolstering forces that have been struggling to deal with sectarian violence inflamed by the war across the border in Syria. – Reuters

Syria‘s state media said Monday that government troops repulsed a rebel attack on a police school in the northern city of Aleppo, one day after President Bashar Assad called on Syrians to fight an opposition driven by what he characterized as religious extremists. – Associated Press

Japan’s new conservative government announced a review of national military strategy on Monday that analysts said was aimed at offsetting China’s growing military power and that may increase defense spending for the first time in a decade. – New York Times

A U.S. drone believed to be used for reconnaissance was recovered Jan. 7 in waters off the central Philippines, police and naval authorities said. – AFP

Canada will rely on either private companies or its allies for midair refueling if it decides to purchase F-35 Joint Strike Fighters to replace its CF-18 fighter aircraft. – Defense News

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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