Weekend Defense Brief

Defense

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta will testify before the Senate Armed Services Committee on the attack on the U.S. facility in Benghazi, Libya, an aide confirmed to The Hill. – DEFCON Hill

Despite mounting budget pressure that could slash $17 billion from the service’s 2013 budget — and long-term funding cuts already programmed into future year funding — the U.S. Army is working to move its Rapid Equipping Force (REF) into the base budget beginning in 2015, according to REF director Col. Pete Newell. – Defense News

Two decades later, the U.S. is entering another round of deep defense cuts. As Washington debates “sequestration” — automatic budget cuts that threaten to slash $600 billion from the Pentagon budget by 2023, beginning March 1 — the defense industry, and cities relying on it, know sequestration isn’t half the problem. – Defense News

The head of Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program plans to retire, ending a decade-plus run in charge of the most expensive weapon program in DoD history. – Defense News

The military’s top leaders are warning Congress that automatic spending cuts looming in March would force the Pentagon to slash operating budgets, weakening the armed forces and possibly forcing furloughs of 800,000 civilian employees. – Associated Press

Big automatic cuts in federal spending are fast approaching again, alarming the defense sector but generating little activity in Congress to avoid them. – Reuters

Robbin Laird writes: If the US fails to innovate in its re-shaping of its forces in the Pacific, it cannot effectively play the crucial role which is essential to a strategy focused on our allies. Without innovation, the US cannot protect its interests in the Pacific, ranging from the Arctic to Australia, and will lose the significant economic benefits which presence and protection of our interests provide. – AOL Defense

Nuclear Weapons

Vice President Joseph R. Biden will discuss arms control Saturday with Russia’s top envoy, a meeting that could shed light on President Obama’s unguarded comment last year that he would have more “flexibility” to negotiate with the Russians after his re-election. – Washington Times

NATO

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fosh Rasmussen on Jan. 31 expressed deepening unease at a growing disparity in defense spending between the United States and European allies due to economic pressures on eurozone governments. – AFP

The War

The military judge overseeing the prosecution of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and four other detainees accused of aiding the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks ordered the government on Thursday to disconnect the technology that allows offstage censors — apparently including the Central Intelligence Agency — to block a public feed of the courtroom proceedings at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. – New York Times

Foreign Armies East

China’s future bomber aircraft requirements appear murky as Western analysts — stuck with reading tea leaves in an opaque pond — battle over what it all means. – Defense News

French troops homed in on Kidal, the last significant population center under Islamist militant rule in Mali’s vast north, and France urged Mali’s government to open up a new, political front in its effort to regain authority over the desert region. – Wall Street Journal (subscription required)

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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