Midweek Defense Briefing


Marine Gen. John Allen, who spent the past 19 months in Afghanistan overseeing efforts to end America’s longest war, said Tuesday that he was retiring from the military so he could spend more time with his ailing wife. – Wall Street Journal

Hundreds of Pentagon-related companies large and small are preparing to lay off thousands of employees as Congress takes a recess this week, so far unable to agree on how to undo automatic military spending cuts set to begin March 1. – Washington Times

The Pentagon has launched an inquiry to see whether the recent account of the Osama Bin Laden raid, given by the Navy SEAL who reportedly killed the al Qaeda leader May 2011, included classified or sensitive information about the strike. – DEFCON Hill

44 on Tuesday said “Congress must act” to avoid pending automatic defense and domestic spending cuts, and slammed congressional Republicans for being too unwilling to compromise. – Defense News

Lawmakers have no one to blame but themselves for the current political quagmire on Capitol Hill over how to handle the financial fallout from the White House’s sequestration plan, a top Pentagon official said Monday. – DEFCON Hill

The Army estimates automatic budget cuts scheduled to take effect March 1 will have a $15 billion economic impact and affect more than 300,000 jobs nationwide, according to documents obtained by USA Today. – USA Today

With Congress on a break — and no budget deal in sight — the Navy expects automatic spending cuts to take effect in March. These cuts would damage the industrial base and “strain” sailors, according to updated Navy budget guidance provided to Navy Times on Tuesday. – Military Times

The Pentagon plans to warn Congress on Wednesday that it must furlough many of its 800,000 civilian workers if sequestration takes effect on March 1, according to an internal message obtained by POLITICO. – Politico

After a decade-plus of fighting two wars with static “front lines” and mostly uncontested logistics and strategic airlift, U.S. Army war planners are trying to shock the system into thinking hard about other contingencies. – Defense News

In early talks on the forthcoming fiscal 2014 budget request, the U.S. Air Force is proposing to close the book on Northrop Grumman’s Global Hawk franchise, canceling the ground surveillance variant. – Aviation Week

Undersecretary of the Navy Bob Work has been selected as the new chief executive office of the Center for a New American Security, The Cable has learned. – The Cable

Marcel J. Lettre II, deputy chief of staff to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, will serve as acting chief of staff to Chuck Hagel when he takes over the Pentagon as early as next week, multiple sources tell the E-Ring. – The E-Ring

The War

Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) disputed the Obama administration’s legal reasoning in a memo that outlines when the United States can carry out a lethal drone strike on an American citizen. – The Hill’s Blog Briefing Room

Jane Harman writes: Showing the world that we run “remote-control warfare” consistent with our values will vastly improve our standing in the world – and our ability to win the argument with those who are considering whether to attack the United States. We can have liberty and security, or we can diminish both. – CNN’s Security Clearance

Missile Defense

A group of House lawmakers are complaining that the Pentagon is ignoring a prohibition on funding the Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS), which Congress blocked in the 2013 Defense authorization law (NDAA). – DEFCON Hill

An airborne missile detection system produced by defense contractor Raytheon monitored four ballistic targets during testing in December, Reuters reported on Monday. – Global Security Newswire


44’s high-profile cybersecurity order last week faces a brutal reality with news of the latest case of Chinese cyber espionage: The U.S. government has work to do to keep up with the attackers. – Politico

America must not wait for a cyber Pearl Harbor to take action. It is time to recognize how serious the problem is because if we simply wait for the big one before taking real action, we will succumb to the thousands of cuts being inflicted every day. – Politico

Foreign Armies East

Fears that an Iranian nuclear weapon might trigger an atomic arms race across the Middle East are overplayed, a U.S. security thinktank said on Tuesday, arguing that countries like Saudi Arabia face big disincentives against getting the bomb. – Reuters

Germany wants to send military trainers and medics to Mali and support operations there with transport and tanker aircraft, according to a Feb. 19 decision by the Cabinet in Berlin. Final approval rests with the German parliament, which is expected to cast a positive vote at the end of the month. – Defense News

A French soldier and more than 20 Islamist rebels were killed during what appeared to be the first clashes in the Adrar des Ifoghas mountain range where militants have taken refuge in northern Mali, French officials said on Tuesday. – Reuters

The Sudanese military said Tuesday it liberated the strategic district of Mafo, in the Blue Nile state, from a rebel group it links to rival South Sudan, in the latest outbreak of fighting along the restive border. – Wall Street Journal (subscription required)

North Korea last week tried out a new engine for a developmental strategic ballistic missile, unidentified government insiders told the Yonhap News Agency on Sunday. – Global Security Newswire

China considered using a drone strike in a mountainous region of Southeast Asia to kill a Myanmar drug lord wanted in the murders of 13 Chinese sailors, but decided instead to capture him alive, according to an influential state-run newspaper. – New York Times

An Israeli firm has supplied Turkey with military equipment in the first such reported deal since the two nations froze ties over the 2010 killing of nine Turks aboard a Gaza-bound aid ship, Turkish government sources said on Monday. – Reuters

Fears of Iran and unrest around the Middle East have prompted a shopping spree by Gulf countries for military hardware, ranging from anti-missile systems to unmanned surveillance drones. – Financial 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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