Friday Defense Brief

Defense

The Pentagon will impose a freeze on hiring civilians, slash operating costs on military bases and take other immediate steps to trim spending in preparation for the possibility that Congress will fail to reach a deal to avert billions of dollars in additional cuts, defense officials said Thursday. – Washington Post

The attack on a U.S. diplomatic outpost in Libya last year has become a factor driving the White House decision on how large a force to leave in Afghanistan after 2014 — and a specter hanging over talks between the Afghan president and the U.S. – Associated Press

Sailors and Marines serving on aircraft carriers can expect long deployments for the next few years because of ongoing crises in the Middle East and a shrinking number of carriers available for duty. – Washington Times

The U.S. Defense Department is preparing to ground military aircraft and call ships back to port should the Pentagon get hit with nearly $50 billion in budget cuts in March. – Defense News

If Syrian dictator Bashar Assad decides to use his chemical weapons, there won’t be a thing the U.S. military can do to stop him, America’s top military officer conceded on Thursday. Nor will the U.S. step into a “hostile” atmosphere, with or without Assad, to keep those chemicals under control. – Danger Room

House Republican defense hawks are pushing back strongly against Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) claim that he has GOP support to allow steep automatic budget cuts to take effect if President Obama does not agree to replace them with other reductions. – DEFCON Hill

Interview: The Air Force’s point man on global deployments is Gen. Michael Hostage, head of Langely, Va.-based Air Combat Command. Recently, two members of the AOL Defense Board of Contributors, Dr. Robbin Laird and retired Air Force Lt. Gen. David Deptula, sat down with Hostage to discuss not just the new weapons systems, but a new vision of how to use them, an emerging concept of operations that Gen. Hostage calls “the combat cloud.” – AOL Defense

The War

An appeals court on Thursday seemed willing to defer to the U.S. government in blocking the release of graphic photos of Osama bin Laden’s corpse. – Washington Post

Nuclear Weapons

The Air Force has dusted off plans more than two decades old to place fixed nuclear missiles on rail cars or massive road vehicles to protect them from a surprise attack. – Global Security Newswire

Foreign Armies East

The news that two Indian soldiers had been killed by their Pakistani counterparts along a disputed border in the Himalayan region of Kashmir sparked full-blown outrage in the national media here this week, after military officials said one of the bodies had been decapitated and the head taken to Pakistan. – Washington Post

The United States government is concerned about new threats of Iranian-backed terrorism against diplomats and high-profile religious leaders in the Middle East from operations by Tehran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). – Washington Free Beacon

In a telling sign of how China’s rise has helped turn former wartime foes into allies, Japan and the Philippines agreed on Thursday to cooperate more closely on maritime security. – New York Times

Russian navy on Thursday hoisted its flag on a new nuclear powered submarine intended to form a key part of the country’s future nuclear deterrent. – Associated Press

Japan is planning to increase its defense budget this year for the first time in 11 years, the Defense Ministry’s revised budget request showed on Friday, amid a bitter territorial dispute with China. – Reuters

Israeli arms exports rose by 20 percent to $7 billion (5.3 billion euros) in 2012, according to defense ministry estimates cited by the Haaretz newspaper Jan. 10. – AFP

Cybersecurity

Major U.S. banks have turned to the National Security Agency for help protecting their computer systems after a barrage of assaults that have disrupted their Web sites, according to industry officials. – Washington Post

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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