Thursday Defense Briefing

The Pentagon is looking at additional support measures for its Eastern European NATO allies increasingly worried over Russia’s military actions in Ukraine, a spokesman said Tuesday. – AFP

New legislation introduced by Armed Services Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee would require the creation of an independent organization within the Department of Defense to manage drones. – Washington Times

Army leaders told a Senate panel Wednesday that combat brigades would be reduced by 46 percent if sequestration cuts continue. – The Hill

44’s pivot to Asia will lack a crucial military underpinning next year, when for four months, the Navy will not have an aircraft carrier in the region. – The Hill

The House Armed Services Committee’s version of the fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill ignores the biggest budget fight of the year: the Air Force’s proposal to retire the A-10 attack jet and U-2 reconnaissance aircraft. – Military Times

The House Armed Services Tactical Air and Land Forces subcommittee largely backed the services’ plans for everything from new fighter jets to tiltrotor aircraft to helicopters to surveillance drone planes to combat vehicles. – Defense News

A subpanel of the House Armed Services Committee on Wednesday adopted legislation that would prevent the Pentagon from retiring an aircraft carrier and reducing purchases of littoral combat ships. – The Hill

House lawmakers on Wednesday reaffirmed their opposition to a new round of base closures in 2017, releasing legislation that would block any attempt by the Defense Department to shutter military facilities. – The Hill

The search for a possible follow-on to the US Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) took a step forward Wednesday with the publication of two requests for information (RFIs). – Defense News

The US Senate late Wednesday confirmed Robert Work as deputy defense secretary. – Defense News

A House subcommittee has rejected a Pentagon plan to consolidate Tricare Prime, Standard and Extra into a single system that would have resulted in higher heath care fees for nearly all Tricare beneficiaries. – Military Times

Lawmakers have not completely shut down the Defense Department’s plan to drastically cut funding for commissaries, but they have at least delayed the significant changes that would almost certainly raise prices for shoppers. – Military Times

A leading Republican senator criticized the U.S. Air Force’s multi-year contract for rocket launches from a Lockheed Martin Corp.-Boeing Co. joint venture, saying it smacks of cronyism. – DOD Buzz

Interview: The Fleet Forces Command, led by Adm. Bill Gortney, is one of the US Navy’s largest, composed of some 100,000 sailors and civilians; about 85 ships, or one-third of the fleet; and more than 1,000 aircraft. Gortney is one of the service’s most influential figures, tasked with setting training standards across the force as well as crafting the master plan known as the Fleet Response Plan that governs how ships, planes and the sailors who man them are deployed. – Defense News

Former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta writes: The real strength of our nation lies in the brave Americans—like those who conducted the bin Laden operation three years ago—who are willing to fight and die for this nation when called upon to do so. We must not shortchange them by weakening our readiness at a dangerous time. – Wall Street Journal (subscription required)

The Pentagon and Congress must get serious now about shrinking the almost-800,000 large Defense Department civilian workforce. – Breaking Defense

The War

Emails released Tuesday on the attack in Benghazi, Libya, include “the smoking gun” that shows a White House official urged that the assault on the U.S. consulate be blamed on a protest that never happened. – USA Today

Al Qaeda’s affiliates in Somalia, Syria, Yemen and West Africa are exerting increasing influence in their regions, posing new challenges for American counterterrorism officials even after a decade of allied attacks that have weakened the group’s leadership in Pakistan, according to a State Department report released Wednesday. – New York Times

Yemen said on Wednesday it had arrested a militant cell that had been planning to kidnap the United Arab Emirates’ charge d’affaires, after a string of abductions that have targeted Westerners and diplomats in the country. – Reuters

Scores of girls and young women kidnapped from a school in Nigeria are being forced to marry their Islamic extremist abductors, a civil society group reported Wednesday. – Associated Press

Foreign Armies East

Saudi Arabia on Tuesday for the first time displayed its medium-range ballistic missiles — a move that analysts interpreted as primarily aimed at Iran. – Global Security Newswire

A Syrian government fighter jet fired a missile at a school in the northern city of Aleppo that killed as many as 47 people, mainly children, as students were preparing an art exhibition to depict the horrors of Syria’s civil war, activists said. – Wall Street Journal

Russia on Wednesday marked the completion of a key part of a project to build two helicopter carriers with France, which has been eyed with increasing unease in the West amid the escalating Ukraine crisis. – Defense News

A new defense pact that will allow thousands of U.S. troops to be temporarily based in Philippines for the first time in more than 20 years signals closer cooperation in the allies’ hot-and-cold relationship that has been shaped over the decades by war, terrorism and now, jitters over China’s rise. – Associated Press

Japan will conduct a military exercise this month to practice defending an island, the Defense Ministry said on Thursday, underscoring concern about East China Sea islands controlled by Japan but claimed by China. – Reuters

As China boosts its military spending, rattling neighbors over territorial disputes at sea, an AFP investigation shows that European countries have approved billions in transfers of weapons and military-ready technology to the Asian giant. – AFP

China said on Wednesday it would conduct joint naval drills with Russia in the East China Sea off Shanghai in late May, in what it called a bid to deepen military cooperation. – Reuters

It would take time and cost money to train the Afghan military on American-made helicopters after years of training Kabul’s military pilots on Russian-built aircraft, a senior Pentagon official said Wednesday. – Defense News

The U.S. military drawdown in Afghanistan is adding an unexpected toll on Americans as poppy production in that country reaches an all-time high, fueling a global opium and heroin scourge that also is funding terrorist activities. – 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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