Friday Defense Briefing

The Pentagon said Thursday it plans to sell Washington’s Gulf allies Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates $10.8 billion worth of missiles and munitions, including “bunker-buster” bombs. – AFP

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel publicly questioned whether Congress can come up with a plan to stave off sequestration amid the bitterly partisan environment on Capitol Hill. – DEFCON Hill

Two influential Senate defense hawks on Thursday stopped short of ruling out that a special House-Senate budget panel can avoid calling for defense cuts. – Defense News

Budget reductions could render the Army at “high risk to meet even one major war,” according to documents obtained by USA Today, a warning the Army is sounding because it sees another war as inevitable before long. – USA Today

Senate Armed Services member Kelly Ayotte is dropping her bid to block the White House’s pick for US Air Force secretary. – Defense News

The Air Force could save about $3.5 billion over five years by cutting the entire A-10 fleet, and then would rely on other aircraft for close-air support. – Military Times

The US government shutdown cost the Defense Department at least $600 million in lost productivity, Pentagon Comptroller Robert Hale said Thursday. – Defense News

Top Pentagon officials will examine the cost of building and operating the Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 fighter jet at a major review of the $392 billion program next week that will also provide updates on lingering technical issues. – Aviation Week

Only a last-minute decision by Congress will give service members anything more than a 1 percent across-the-board pay increase on Jan. 1. – Military Times

Although the Navy and Air Force have generated more headlines related to the Pentagon’s much-discussed Pacific Re-balance, the Army has taken a series of initiatives to advance its standing in the Pacific region. – DOD Buzz

The Marine Corps’ top officer is calling on the service to renew its focus on discipline and standards amid early signs that 12 years of combat have caused some “fraying” of the service’s values. – Military Times

Defense contractor Lockheed Martin said Thursday it will lay off 600 US workers in its missions systems and training business, in a move not linked to the government shutdown. – AFP

Simply put, the failure to reform harms the capabilities of the MTF mission and the well-being of beneficiaries. In all aspects, lack of reform is a detriment to our national security and the men and women who uphold it. – American Enterprise Institute

The War

Lawmakers are working with the Homeland Security Department to determine whether it is feasible to establish a U.S. presence at the foreign ports it considers most vulnerable to the smuggling of illicit weapons of mass destruction. – Global Security Newswire

Former Congresswoman Jane Harman writes: As conflicts rage in Syria and Egypt, and failing governments plague North Africa, many are being trained and radicalized. The challenge is to shore up governments, provide tools for police training, schools and economic development, and counter extreme messages, before the bad guys can mobilize further. – CNN’s Security Clearance

Missile Defense

The Pentagon’s inspector general has begun a quality review of Raytheon Co.’s (RTN) manufacturing of the primary interceptor used in the U.S. ballistic missile defense system. – Bloomberg

Whether missile defense in Europe is the right answer to the question of dealing with missile threats from countries like Iran and North Korea aside, Russian protests ring hollow. Whatever assurances we give the Russians will probably not be enough. Simply put, Russia is just playing politics. – Breaking Defense

Foreign Armies East

A detachment of Angolan troops crossed into neighboring Congo Republic earlier this week and has detained a group of Congolese soldiers, a senior Congolese officer said on Thursday. – Reuters

More than 20,000 Chinese soldiers, sailors and airmen carried out a boisterous joint-operation exercise this month, with Taiwan as the apparent simulated target of a Normandy-style invasion. – Washington Times’ Inside China

Several military and Pentagon officials tell CNN that a central option now being considered calls for a total NATO force of between 8,000 to 12,000 troops, with 3,000 to 4,000 coming from NATO countries, and the United States making up the balance. – CNN’s Security Clearance

A top Iraqi official said Thursday that Baghdad had begun receiving arms from Russia under a historic $4.3-billion deal it signed last year but then scrapped amid corruption allegations. – AFP

The world’s chemical weapons watchdog is confident it will be able to meet deadlines to destroy Syria’s toxic stockpile even though some sites are in disputed or rebel-held territory, a special adviser to the organization’s director general said. – 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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