Tuesday Defense Briefing

Defense

A new report to Congress predicts that relatively few women will be able to perform land combat tasks on the same level as men, and it says the Pentagon’s pledge to maintain “gender-neutral” physical standards has a loophole. – Washington Times

U.S. House Republican leaders on Monday blasted 44’s plans to visit a southeastern Virginia naval shipyard instead of leading talks to avoid pending defense cuts, with one charging the commander in chief with using troops as “campaign props.” – Defense News

With a deadline for avoiding defense spending cuts closing in, there is no effort underway on Capitol Hill to give Pentagon officials the authority to decide what gets trimmed, congressional aides say, despite calls from some quarters to give the Defense Department that authority. – Defense News

Big Republican names in the Senate warned Monday against giving away congressional power in order to escape responsibility for the adverse impact of automatic spending cuts expected to go into effect Friday. – Politico

Rep. Randy Forbes’s bill introduced [yesterday] morning, H.R. 773, at least offers the virtue of simplicity: At the stroke of a pen, it would erase half of the sequestration cuts — about $50 billion this year, $600 billion over a decade — those that apply to the Department of Defense. – AOL Defense

House and Senate defense lawmakers are crafting legislative language that will allow the Navy to conduct critical repair work to a number of its warships, despite looming, across-the-board cuts to the service’s budgets under sequestration. – DEFCON Hill

The Navy will put off repairs and upgrades to a dozen warships because of the sequester, according to the White House. – DEFCON Hill

Furloughs of about 730,000 Defense Department civilian employees would cost the states $4.43 billion in lost salaries and billions more in military operating expenditures if Congress fails to avert sequester, according to documents released by the Obama administration late Sunday. – Roll Call

The defense industry is in the fight of its life, but many of its longtime champions on Capitol Hill are retired, dead or in jail. – Politico

A preliminary report on the engine malfunction that grounded the entire F-35 Joint Strike Fighter fleet is expected by Friday, according to a program spokeswoman. – Defense News

The Air Force’s first class of six F-35 pilots might have to delay their first flights if the Defense Department doesn’t clear the Joint Strike Fighter to resume flying by next week. – Defense News

As the date for the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS-1) USS Freedom’s deployment to Singapore approaches, the LCS Council of U.S. Navy brass is calling for an expanded workload and mission set for the new class of warship. – Aviation Week

The Global Hawk was once the U.S. Air Force’s procurement darling, a premier unmanned air system primed to take over or augment key intelligence-collecting missions for the service. Now, however, after more than 10 years of addressing urgent needs in recent wars, service leaders may terminate the Northrop Grumman aircraft. – Aviation Week

The defense companies in competition to build the military’s Humvee replacement did not seem worried about a potential delay in the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle program brought on by the massive budget cuts facing the Pentagon. – DoD Buzz

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

Today [the Marines have] six four-star generals, a record number, serving in prominent positions around the world. Gen. John Allen, who stepped down as commander in Afghanistan, was the first Marine to command an entire theater of war. – USA Today

The  administration’s recent decision to lift the ban on women in combat has opened the door for a change in the law that currently compels only men between age 18 and 25 to register for a military draft, according to legal experts and military historians. – Associated Press

The surest (and cheapest) way of protecting America is to deter these threats before they ripen into war. That requires, first and foremost, a robust military. Conservatives may disagree about a lot of things, but they should agree on that. In fact, liberals should agree, as well…And as Ronald Reagan used to say, “Of the four wars in my lifetime, none came about because America was too strong.” – NRO

Foreign Aid

Analysis: While U.S. lawmakers must examine every dollar spent by the federal government to ensure that it is used judiciously and well, and begin to make the tough political decisions necessary for fixing our fiscal woes, they should recognize that the returns from the nation’s foreign assistance programs are far more than their costs. – Foreign Policy Initiative

The War

In the first study of its kind, researchers with the Defense Department have found that pilots of drone aircraft experience mental health problems like depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress at the same rate as pilots of manned aircraft who are deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan. – New York Times

Former White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Sunday that he and other administration spokesmen often seem evasive about the government’s drone program because they have been told not to acknowledge the secret strikes. – Hill Tube

Almost two years after his death at the hands of U.S. special forces in Pakistan, a U.N. Security Council committee has removed al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden from its sanctions list, although an order freezing any assets of the Islamist extremist remains in place. – Reuters

Between al-Fadl’s conviction and the end of 2011, 170 other individuals have been convicted by American courts or military commissions for committing crimes on behalf of, or inspired by, the organization responsible for the 9-11 attacks. A new study finds that a majority of these operatives were American citizens. Nearly a quarter were converts to Islam. More than half had completed some form of college course work. – The Daily Beast

Lake also reports: For some time now, Wyden and Paul—along with two other senators, Republican Mike Lee of Utah and Democrat Mark Udall of Colorado—have been working together to try to curb the broad authorities the Obama administration has asserted in the war on terror. – The Daily Beast

Nuclear Weapons

44 can use his executive authority to take action on missile defense and nuclear arms reductions without having to secure the go-ahead from a hostile Republican Party. – Global Security Newswire

Capitol Hill Republicans are threatening to block any possible attempts by the  administration to obtain further nuclear arms reductions without congressional approval. – Global Security Newswire

Sens. Bob Corker (R-TN) and Jim Inhofe (R-OK) write: The president has a choice: running into a likely stalemate on nuclear disarmament or working with Congress on practical and realistic steps to stop nuclear proliferation and improve nuclear security. – Wall Street Journal (subscription required)

Cybersecurity

Tom Ridge and Howard Schmidt write: So let’s put sticking points and political points aside. Let’s embrace our common ground — our areas of agreement — and do what we can now. Let’s pass cybersecurity legislation and reverse our course away from the cybercliff. – Politico

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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