Thursday Defense Briefing

Masked from public view, two of the U.S. military’s elite special operations commandos have been awarded medals for bravery for a mission that further undercuts the administration’s original story about the Benghazi tragedy. – Washington Times

A group of Democratic and Republican members of the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) announced on Oct. 29 that the committee is kicking off what they’re calling the “Asia Pacific Oversight Series” to start digging into the White House’s strategic rebalance, and how Congress can provide oversight. – Defense News

So is the Navy buying more Super Hornets or not? A solicitation notice posted on sparked heated media speculation this week that the service might extend production of the current F/A-18E/F Super Hornet as the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program struggles. – Breaking Defense

Message No. 1: After 12 years of inland warfare in Afghanistan and Iraq, all the armed services, not just the Navy and Marines, need to refocus on rapid response to crises around the world. Message No. 2: No single service, nor even the tight-knit Navy-Marine Corps team, can handle the expeditionary warfare challenge on its own. – Breaking Defense

The last C-17 to ever roll off a Boeing production line was delivered to the Air Force in September, but that doesn’t mean the Globemaster will fade into retirement anytime soon as service officials expect the airlifter’s mission set to expand as the U.S. military pivots its focus to the Pacific region. – DOD Buzz

The U.S. Army is considering whether to abandon a controversial program to consolidate military bases from across the services, its top officer said. –

[T]he Air Force is preparing for conditions it terms anti-access, area-denial: when air assets are needed against an enemy with the ability to deny capabilities such as GPS. – Defense News

The Pentagon this week said the Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N) F-35 program had made sufficient improvement to plan for higher production in fiscal year 2015, but contract awards would be tied to progress on the fighter jet’s software, reliability and other issues. – Reuters

The Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 fighter jet dropped a 500-pound bomb this week, hitting a tank at Edwards Air Force Base in California and marking the first time the new warplane has fired a laser-guided weapon, the Pentagon said Wednesday. – Reuters

The War

The top U.S. commander in the Middle East said Iraq has entered a downward spiral of violence that threatens to drive the country’s leader further into the hands of Iran and heighten sectarian tensions across the region. – Wall Street Journal (subscription required)

If there’s no war and no AUMF, he would have diminished legal authority to use drones to “dismantle terrorist organizations.” And those implying that 44 and other Americans are war criminals would have a much more persuasive case. Why the White House would favor such an outcome is a puzzle. – NRO

The wave of attacks by al-Qaida-led Sunni extremists that has killed thousands of Iraqis this year, most of them Shiites, is provoking ominous calls from Shiite leaders to take up arms in self-defense. – Associated Press

Chinese state media demanded severe punishment on Thursday to put down what China has said is a holy war aimed at Beijing by Islamist militants from the restive Xinjiang region. – Reuters

The Chinese authorities announced on Wednesday the arrests of five men described as Islamic jihadists who they say helped orchestrate an audacious attack near Tiananmen Square, the political heart of the nation, that left five people dead. – New York Times

Foreign Armies East

The U.S. will go ahead with a major weapons sale to Iraq that will include Apache attack helicopters to assist the forces of embattled Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki combating an increasingly violent Al Qaeda insurgency, U.S. officials said Wednesday. –

The delivery of F-16 fighters to Iraq is on track for next fall, a senior U.S. administration official said on Wednesday, with Iraq recently depositing an installment of roughly $650 million for the jets. – Reuters

Russian strategic forces carried out a large-scale surprise military drill on Wednesday, launching four nuclear missiles that were closely monitored by U.S. intelligence agencies, U.S. officials said. – Washington Free Beacon

China and Malaysia will hold their first-ever joint military exercises next year, the Southeast Asian nation’s defense minister said Wednesday, despite their rival claims to the tense South China Sea. – AFP

In a surprise move, Pakistan’s government on Wednesday sharply revised downward its official estimate of civilian casualties caused by American drone strikes in the tribal belt, highlighting again the contentious nature of statistics about the covert C.I.A. campaign. – New York 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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