Thursday Defense Brief


A senior Navy intelligence official issued a blunt warning last week that China’s growing “hegemonistic” threat to security is destabilizing the Asia-Pacific region. – Washington Times’ Inside the Ring

After 19 months in Afghanistan, Gen. John R. Allen, the commander of American and coalition forces here, is leaving a war that has become as much about damage control and crisis diplomacy as fighting the Taliban. – New York Times

Read clips of Gen. Allen’s interview with the New York Times – NYT’s At War

Deadline legislating is once again the talk of Washington, with all sides now demanding an end to the automatic spending sequesters — even though just a few weeks ago many of them seemed to be bracing, or in some cases even welcoming, the $85 billion in cuts divided between defense and domestic needs. – Washington Times

House Republicans are increasingly uncomfortable with the deep cuts scheduled for the Pentagon’s budget under the sequester. Behind the scenes, several prominent members have complained to the leadership, and many rank-and-file members who represent defense-industry workers are nervous. – NRO

One thing is becoming clear: Republicans want to find a way to replace the cuts in the sequester, despite some loud rhetoric to the contrary. – Politico

After avoiding planning for automatic defense budget cuts throughout the fall, the Department of Defense (DoD) now sees the cuts as probable, and is rapidly preparing, a senior pentagon official said Feb. 6. – Defense News

If sequestration is delayed by a few months, as the president proposed Tuesday, the Pentagon would most likely be able to hold off a little longer before taking some of the more drastic measures that it has been warning about. – Politico

The likelihood of avoiding sequestration on March 1 may depend on how bleak a picture the Joint Chiefs can paint in two hearings next week focusing on the national security implications of the across-the-board budget cuts. – Military Times

The U.S. military might not be able to respond to a crisis oversees if sweeping federal budget cuts go into effect in March, outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said. – Military Times

Read the text of Secretary Panetta’s remarks – Department of Defense

House and Senate Republican defense hawks are reviving a proposal to avoid the first year of sequestration cuts by reducing the size of the federal workforce, which they introduced Wednesday as they blasted 44’s efforts. – DEFCON Hill

Faced with budget woes, the U.S. Navy has indefinitely postponed the deployment of the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group, the Defense Department announced Feb. 6. The move drops the number of aircraft carriers deployed in 5th Fleet from two to one. – Defense News

The U.S. Air Force would see flying hours reduced by 18 percent, readiness drop to “sub-optimal levels” and the service could furlough about 180,000 civilians if Congress allows the “sequestration” cuts to defense spending to kick in next month, according to a presentation from the Air Force to Congress. – Defense News

The Air Force general responsible for most of the nation’s military nuclear force is worried that the Continuing Resolution and the automatic budget cuts known as sequestration will wipe out 20 percent of the money he needs to keep his force combat ready. – AOL Defense

Almost 80 percent of the Army’s brigade combat teams will see months-long delays in training if sequestration goes into effect and Congress funds the Defense Department with a continuing resolution for the rest of the year, according to an Army document. – Defense News

The Pentagon will formally recommend that troops next year should receive a 1 percent increase in basic pay, which would be the smallest pay bump in the 40-year history of the all-volunteer force. – Military Times

The U.S. Air Force will have to curtail its orders for Lockheed Martin Corp’s F-35 fighter jet, restructure a $52 billion tanker contract with Boeing Co and reduce its flying hours by 18 percent if lawmakers do not avert impending across-the-board spending cuts, the service told Congress on Wednesday. – Reuters

The War

The White House on Wednesday directed the Justice Department to release to the two Congressional Intelligence Committees classified documents discussing the legal justification for killing, by drone strikes and other means, American citizens abroad who are considered terrorists. – New York Times

The American Civil Liberties Union is fighting Pentagon efforts to get a lawsuit against Defense Secretary Leon Panetta over the targeted killing of suspected al Qaeda leader and U.S. citizen Anwar al-Awlaki tossed from federal court. – DEFCON Hill

Editorial: In the immediate aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001, there was some reason to rely on the agency’s paramilitary activities. But with the expansion of the military’s special operations, the justification for such CIA activity, which feeds the secrecy problem, is no longer apparent. Mr. Brennan should be asked why he should not refocus the agency on intelligence collection and leave military operations to the generals. – Washington Post

Editorial: We’ve written before that this Administration should do more to capture and interrogate terrorists in order to prevent future attacks, rather than defaulting so often to drone strikes. But its drone warfare is legal and necessary to protect America. – Wall Street Journal (subscription required)

Nuclear Weapons

44’s support for global nuclear disarmament over the long term, compounded with today’s extraordinary federal budget pressures, has caused significant worry for one Republican senator that the U.S. government might decide to scale back the nation’s strategic triad. – Global Security Newswire

Missile Defense

After two years on the ground for technical problems, an upgraded version of the system designed to protect the U.S. from ballistic missile attack is finally flying again. But the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) has significant challenges not only to employing the modernized Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system but also incrementally improving other systems that protect areas abroad. – Aviation Week


The Pentagon may want thousands of new cyber experts added to its work force, but experts said the agency lacks any credible means of training that many recruits, and there aren’t enough already trained to meet the need. – 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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