Monday Defense Briefing

Defense

If anyone thought the military’s decision to allow women into combat units would lead to exceptions for women when it came to fitness and physical strength, this is one service’s “gender neutral” answer — or at least part of the answer. – New York Times

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta warned Friday the United States would become a “second-rate power” if Congress and the White House fail to reach a budget deal that would avoid an extra $500 billion in military budget cuts over the next 10 years. – USA Today

Outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Sunday that it would a “shameful, irresponsible” act for Congress to allow the automated budget cuts known as “sequestration” to take effect. – Hill Tube

By the end of this week, the Pentagon must submit its plans to the White House for how it will deal with automatic defense spending cuts set to kick in March 1, according to defense sources. – Defense News

As it makes the case against threatened spending cuts next month, the Pentagon faces an awkward question of its own: Has the military been spending at a faster pace than assumed under a funding bill for the first half of this fiscal year? – Politico

When does congressional gridlock start to undermine military readiness? March 2nd, when the automatic cuts known as sequestration will begin to go into effect? March 27, when the Continuing Resolution now funding the government on a stop-gap basis will expire? Give up? It’s February 15, when the Navy will start to cancel $604 million of major maintenance on 23 warships. – AOL Defense

The number of major mishaps involving aircraft carriers, ships and submarines was higher than in recent years, and the unbudgeted repair bill is just one more factor squeezing fleet maintenance accounts in the middle of the service’s fiscal crisis. – Defense News

The U.S. Navy has revised its overall fleet size requirement from 313 to 306 ships — a modest downscaling that reflects modified operational requirements and is not the result of the ongoing budget crisis. – Defense News

Good news for soldiers and families who look forward to a European duty station: A congressional push to close all bases has been stalled. – Military Times

44 defended the Pentagon’s decision to lift the ban on women in combat roles, saying that he had no hesitation sending female troops into harm’s way. – DEFCON Hill

Male Marines listed being falsely accused of sexual harassment or assault as a top concern in a survey about moving women into combat jobs, and thousands indicated the change could prompt them to leave the service altogether. – Associated Press

The War

Pushed to the brink of collapse in its traditional strongholds, al-Qaeda has staged an unlikely but limited recovery over the past year through affiliates that have taken root in chaotic environments awash in weapons and beyond the reach of the U.S. military and CIA drones. – Washington Post

Leon Panetta, who as CIA director oversaw the U.S. operation that killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, said the job could have been done without resorting to controversial interrogation methods that some have said constitute torture. – Reuters

Cybersecurity

A secret legal review on the use of America’s growing arsenal of cyberweapons has concluded that President Obama has the broad power to order a pre-emptive strike if the United States detects credible evidence of a major digital attack looming from abroad, according to officials involved in the review. – New York Times

Computer networks at the Energy Department were attacked by sophisticated hackers in a major cyber incident two weeks ago and personal information on several hundred employees was compromised by the intruders. – Washington Free Beacon

Aside from a line in a speech last fall by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, and some vague language in a 2011 strategy paper, the missions, purpose and scope of conflict have yet to be satisfactorily revealed. One large missing piece is a declaratory policy similar to that used for nuclear weapons in the Cold War, when nuclear policy was openly debated without divulging important secrets. – Washington Post

Nonproliferation

The creation of a new office in the State Department to oversee implementation of both international and domestic sanctions is evidence of the importance of economic penalties as a U.S. foreign policy tool against nations such as Iran and North Korea, one issue expert said on Friday. – Global Security Newswire

Foreign Armies East

Iran unveiled on Saturday its newest combat jet, a domestically manufactured fighter-bomber that military officials claim can evade radar. – Associated Press

The Israeli attack last week on a Syrian convoy of antiaircraft weapons appears to have damaged the country’s main research center for work on biological and chemical weapons, according to American officials who are sorting through intelligence reports. – New York Times

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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