Wednesday Defense Brief

Defense

Pentagon leaders sent lawmakers a mixed message Tuesday, doling out different advice on whether Congress should again delay pending defense spending cuts, but they were unanimous in their view of the calamitous consequences such cuts would inflict on military capabilities. – Defense News

The Pentagon’s number two official said he will cut his pay in solidarity with the tens of thousands of civilian employees who could face temporary layoffs under looming mandatory budget cuts. – CNN’s Security Clearance

The administration on Monday moved to elevate the status of the general who leads soldiers in Asia and the Pacific to four stars, in another sign of the military’s increased emphasis on the region. – Associated Press

Former Senator Jim Talent writes: One thing is certain. The failure of the carrier to deploy, and the cuts in defense spending that caused it, did not pass unnoticed in Tehran,  Pyongyang, Moscow, or Peking, or in the councils of al-Qaeda. The rest of the world takes our government’s failures seriously, even if Americans, who have become used to them by now, do not. – National Review Online

Nuclear Weapons/Nonproliferation

44 vowed during his State of the Union to continue working to reduce the nation’s nuclear arsenal, telling lawmakers that America must show leadership in order to isolate nuclear rogue states like North Korea and Iran. – DEFCON Hill

44 appears ready to bless South Korean and Japanese efforts to recycle reactor fuel the U.S. has sold them, enabling both nations to edge further toward development of their own nuclear-weapons options. These “peaceful,” “civilian” efforts will be rationalized as being necessary to promote nuclear power, but in fact, they constitute little more than short-sighted ploys to address rising regional security and alliance tensions in East Asia — nuclear tricks that could quite literally blow up in our face. – National Review Online

The War

A NATO airstrike killed 10 Afghan civilians, including five children, in eastern Afghanistan on Wednesday, local officials said, a toll that if confirmed is likely to raise tension between President Hamid Karzai’s government and U.S.-led NATO forces. – Reuters

A military lawyer at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, acknowledged Tuesday that microphones are hidden inside devices that look like smoke detectors in the rooms where defense lawyers meet detainees, but he said the government does not listen in on attorney-client communications. – Washington Post

Senate Republicans on Tuesday ruled out placing armed drone strikes under the authority of a special court, arguing the move would be a dangerous intrusion on presidential power. – DEFCON Hill

Former VP Cheney defended 44’s policy on armed drone strikes, calling it a “good program” amid growing congressional scrutiny. – Hill Tube

In January, a United Nations official began an investigation into the use of drones in targeted killing, the first formal international probe of U.S., British and Israeli counterterrorism programs that have killed hundreds of suspected terrorists — along with an unknown number of innocent civilians — in secret strikes. – Defense News

In his State of the Union address Tuesday night, 44 proposed bringing greater transparency to the war on al Qaeda and creating a new group to research alternatives to fossil fuels. One thing he didn’t mention was a pledge he made four years ago: the closing of Guantánamo Bay. Today, there are still 166 detainees languishing in America’s most notorious prison—and most of them won’t be leaving any time soon. – The Daily Beast

Cybersecurity

44 signed an executive order on Tuesday addressing the country’s most basic cybersecurity needs and highlighted the effort in his State of the Union address. – CNN’s Security Clearance

The Pentagon plans a massive expansion of the joint U.S. Cyber Command, potentially creating a rare pocket of job growth for troops in a force otherwise constrained by budget cuts. – Defense News

Foreign Armies East

Syrian insurgents seized control of a northern military airfield on Tuesday and captured usable warplanes for the first time in the nearly two-year-old conflict, according to rebels and activist groups. – New York Times

The Pentagon’s Joint Staff is conducting an urgent threat assessment of North Korea’s new road-mobile missile and the danger it poses to the United States. – Washington Free Beacon

U.N. Security Council is expected to reach an agreement in two to three weeks to deploy up to 6,000 peacekeepers in Mali to help stabilize the country after a rebel incursion, a senior U.N. official said on Tuesday. – Reuters

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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