Friday Defense Briefing

Defense

After staying largely on the sidelines of the debate over deficit reduction, the U.S. military’s service leaders have begun painting a stark picture of the toll a congressionally mandated budget cut could take on the readiness of the world’s largest armed forces. – Washington Post

The White House on Thursday turned up the heat on congressional Republicans over finding a way to replace pending national defense cuts, questioning whether GOP lawmakers “care.” – Defense News

Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., is suggesting the administration use a scalpel instead of ax to implement spending cuts under the budget sequester. – Roll Call

Imagine if someone told you 70 percent of all American combat aircraft would not be ready to fly in time of war by July. That’s just what Air Force Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh told some 600 people attending the Air Force Association’s annual winter conference this morning will happen should the automatic budget cuts known as sequestration occur. – AOL Defense

In its latest effort to spell out the impact it claims sequestration and another continuing resolution (CR) would have on both near- and long-term operating budgets, the U.S. Army has released a Power Point presentation that details the scope of jobs and revenue that would be lost in all 50 states. – Defense News

The U.S. Defense Department will slow payments to prime contractors in the coming week in an attempt to increase its on-hand cash as defense spending cuts loom. – Defense News

Lockheed Martin has been awarded a contract to modernize the U.S. Air Force fleet of F-22s — a contract that could be worth almost $7 billion for the company. – Defense News

While most of the attention on the Pentagon’s Pacific pivot has been focused on the re-establishment and sustainment of the U.S. Navy’s stalwart blue-water fleet, the service is also seeking to anchor its forward presence with the development of sea sprinters that can race from point to point with people and supplies of all types. – Aviation Week

The U.S. Army is preparing to submit the results of an analysis of alternatives it conducted last year on its Ground Combat Vehicle (GCV) program to the secretary of defense in March, according to a service official. – Defense News

Report: Congress and the  administration must act responsibly to support a robust American national defense capability. Allowing U.S. military resources and capacity to be curtailed through the ham-handed methodology of sequestration would constitute a dereliction of duty by both. – Jewish Institute of National Security Affairs

The all-volunteer force has served our nation well for more than 40 years — in war and peace, through social and demographic changes, floods, hurricanes and more. We owe the brave men and women of our military thanks — and a true assessment of the impact of national service. – Washington Post

The War

U.S. military launched 506 strikes from unmanned aircraft in Afghanistan last year, according to Pentagon data, a 72% increase from 2011 and a sign that American commanders may begin to rely more heavily on remote-controlled air power to kill Taliban insurgents as they reduce the number of troops on the ground. – Los Angeles Times

The instruction to camouflage cars is one of 22 tips on how to avoid drones, listed on a document left behind by al Qaeda as they fled northern Mali from a French military intervention last month. – Associated Press

In a reflective farewell on Wednesday evening, Gen. John R. Allen recalled a recent trip to Section 60 of Arlington National Cemetery where, he said, “you can see the entire swath of the American experience in Afghanistan.” – New York Times

Nuclear Weapons

On the heels of a North Korean nuclear weapon test, 44 is preparing to move forward with a new approach to the U.S. nuclear arsenal. – Aviation Week

The U.S. Air Force Space Command cautioned recently that if new budget cuts take effect, some of its round-the-clock missile-warning operations would begin working bankers’ hours – raising concerns about detecting missiles targeting America. – Aviation Week

44’s plan to carry out a new round of nuclear-warhead cuts will be announced soon, U.S. officials say. – Washington Times’ Inside the Ring

Arms Control

The U.S. State Department’s top arms control envoy on Thursday described a “very positive environment” in negotiations last week to address Russia’s coming withdrawal from an arrangement to dispose of Cold War-era nuclear, biological and chemical weapons. – Global Security Newswire

NATO

NATO defense ministers are seriously considering a new proposal to sustain Afghanistan’s security forces at 352,000 troops through 2018, senior alliance officials said Thursday. The expensive effort is viewed as a way to help guarantee the country’s stability — and, just as much, to illustrate continued foreign support after the NATO allies end their combat mission in Afghanistan next year. – New York Times

44 has settled on Air Force Gen. Philip M. Breedlove as his likely pick to serve as commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Europe, according to a NATO official. – Washington Post

NATO head Anders Fogh Rasmussen called Thursday on alliance members to halt cuts in defense spending, warning that military readiness and capabilities would otherwise suffer. – AFP

Foreign Armies East

The United States and South Korea announced plans Thursday for major annual joint military exercises as regional tensions run high following North Korea’s third nuclear test. – AFP

Chinese hackers have hit nearly every Washington institution, according to unnamed intelligence officials. – Washington 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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