Tuesday Defense Briefing

Defense

Defense industry insiders joined with advocates for public health, research universities and other sectors that rely on federal funds Monday to issue a combined call to stop the upcoming sequester cuts. – Roll Call

Pentagon is pushing a plan that would keep about 8,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan once the NATO military mission there ends in 2014 but significantly shrink the contingent over the following two years, according to senior U.S. government officials and military officers. – Washington Post

Army and Navy operations spending for the first half of this fiscal year is running above the rate set by Congress — a budget decision approved by the White House but one that could make the remaining months that much harder without some relief from lawmakers. – Politico

As FP National Security first reported he would back in December, 44 today nominated Lt. Gen. John F. Campbell to receive his fourth star and become the Army’s second-highest ranking officer. – The E-Ring

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Gen. Martin Dempsey, Joint Chiefs chairman, expect to come out for their final Pentagon press briefing together on Wednesday afternoon, the E-Ring has learned, one day after 44’s State of the Union Address. – The E-Ring

The Pentagon for the first time is considering scaling back the massive buildup of drones it has overseen in the past few years, both to save money and to adapt to changing security threats and an increased focus on Asia as the Afghanistan war winds down. – Associated Press

The War

Created five years ago to focus on training the armed forces of dozens of African nations and strengthening social, political and economic programs, the Pentagon’s Africa Command now finds itself on a more urgent mission: confronting a new generation of Islamist militants who are testing the United States’ resolve to fight terrorism without being drawn into a major conflict. – New York Times

When the U.S. Embassy here was besieged by protesters who took down the American flag and raised a black Islamist flag that looks similar to that of al-Qaida, among the crowd was a man whom Western counterterrorism agencies are watching closely. – USA Today

The Church Commission was a high water mark for principled oversight of executive overreaching. Congress needs to begin a similarly exhaustive investigation today into whether targeted drone killings should be permanently banned rather than permanently enshrined into law. – The New Republic

Congress has the right to step in and, if it so desires, cut off funding for the drone program. Or it can rescind or narrow the Authorization for the Use of Force that was passed on September 14, 2001, and is the legal basis for the drone strikes against Al Qaeda and its affiliates. What Congress cannot do—because I suspect the appeals courts and the Supreme Court would not allow it—is to try to delegate to the judiciary the job of making decisions on the use of military force abroad. – Commentary’s Contentions

Nuclear Weapons/Nonproliferation

North Korea confirmed on Tuesday that it had conducted its third, long-threatened nuclear test, according to the official KCNA news service New York Times

44 isn’t expected to announce any new proposals regarding nuclear disarmament during his State of the Union on Tuesday, White House spokesman Jay Carney said Monday. – The Hill’s Global Affairs

44 has often said that he wants to live in a world without nuclear weapons. Who wouldn’t? Even Gen. Esin is a “Global Zero” signatory. But the real choice isn’t between more nuclear weapons or fewer. It is between a world of fewer U.S. nuclear weapons and more nuclear states, or the opposite. In his idealism, the president is setting the stage for a more nuclearized world. – Wall Street Journal (subscription required)

Nuclear confrontation may not be the result of some irrational but premeditated decision by leaders to initiate a nuclear strike, but of faulty intelligence, command, and control in escalatory situations. In such situations, it appears that the command and control structures that may develop in new nuclear states in the Middle East are likely to exacerbate the dangers inherent in escalation and brinkmanship, and to result ultimately in perennial nuclear instability or even nuclear war. – Policy Review

Missile Defense

Italy and Germany have warned the U.S. that it could be liable for penalty payments of $400 million if it pulls out of a trilateral anti-missile program, almost exactly the sum U.S. politicians want to save by canceling U.S. involvement. – Defense News

Cybersecurity

Whether or not the new NIE references the al-Qassam-Iran campaign, the attack is representative of a technique countries are increasingly using to strike at the United States and other countries — one that has so far proven nearly impossible to defend against or deter. – Foreign Policy

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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