Wednesday Defense Briefing

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel offered perhaps his most forceful justification for maintaining robust American military power and global engagement in the face of public pressure to pull back from global affairs, arguing in a major speech that United States national security requires strong military and non-military leadership abroad. – Defense One

US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel urged Congress on Tuesday to give the Pentagon “flexibility” in its fiscal 2015 budget proposal one day after the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee proposed shifting billions of dollars to fund major weapons programs and undo Defense Department reform initiatives. – Defense News

Russia’s invasion of Crimea and alleged stoking of instability elsewhere in Ukraine means the US might need to maintain war-funding accounts that some have called a slush fund, says a key House appropriator. – Defense News

The Pentagon brass made a last stand Tuesday in the months-long battle for military compensation reform, imploring senators to back plans to trim troops’ pay raises and benefits in the fiscal 2015 budget. – Military Times

The top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday harshly criticized the Obama administration’s “reckless” proposals to rein in troop benefits. – The Hill

The House Armed Services Committee is opening the door ever so slightly to the possibility of another Base Closure and Realignment Commission, laying the preliminary groundwork in its version of the fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill for the Pentagon to begin the lengthy and painful process of shuttering unneeded installations. – Roll Call

Hours after the top Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee put out legislative language to permit a Base Reduction and Closure round, the top Republican shot him down. – Breaking Defense

Army

The Army National Guard has reluctantly begun taking steps to relinquish its fleet of AH-64 Apache helicopters to the active component, even as its leaders call for a commission to study the controversial proposal. – Military.com

Helicopter-makers say they’re eagerly awaiting a decision expected this summer from the U.S. Army to move forward with development of a futuristic rotorcraft. – Defense Tech

Interview: Defense One contributor James Kitfield spoke with Odierno about the health of the Army, lessons learned from a decade of war and the threats posed by an unstable world. Here are edited excerpts from the interview – Defense One

Air Force

A quartet of powerful US senators are warning that anything less than keeping the A-10 fully active in the Air Force is unacceptable, a day after a compromise about the retirement of the plane appeared to have been floated by the House Armed Services Committee (HASC). – Defense News

An F-16 fighter does not provide the same kind of close air support to troops on the battlefield as the endangered A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond Odierno told lawmakers on Tuesday. – The Hill

As I watched Senator McCain grill General Welsh about which platform would handle the A-10′s CAS mission, I imagined a stack of air power (B-1s, B-52s, F-15Es, F-16s, and F-18s) that was airborne providing Armed Over Watch of our ground troops, ready to answer their call for CAS. – Breaking Defense

To maintain the same level of service to the nation as has come to be expected in recent decades, the Air Force needs an unwavering partner in Congress, the White House and, by extension, the American people. – The National Interest

Navy

The U.S. Navy’s iconic Tomahawk cruise missile has been launched many hundreds of times since the Gulf War in 1991, but, like a star in show business, the weapon is starting to show its age. It’s only fitting then that the main defense contractor behind the missile is taking a page from the Hollywood playbook and giving it a nose job. – Foreign Policy’s The Complex

Republican governors from three states are urging House lawmakers to protect funding for the Navy’s controversial littoral combat ship program in the fiscal 2015 defense budget. – The Hill

The cost for the Navy’s new DDG 1000 destroyer have risen by $3 billion since 2009, raising the cost per ship by roughly $1 billion, according to a recent report by the Congressional Research Service. – DOD Buzz

A Navy ship that resembles a commercial ferry returned to Virginia on Tuesday following its maiden deployment to Europe and Africa, where military officials tested out some of its other capabilities aside from transporting people and equipment. – Associated Press

Foreign Armies East

Russia’s state-owned arms exporter Rosoboronexport will deliver the first batch of nine Yakovlev Yak-130 jet trainers to the Syrian government by the end of this year. The contract for 36 aircraft is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2016, a source close to the deal told local business daily Kommersant. – Defense News

The Pentagon on Tuesday scoffed at the claims by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards that U.S. carriers were “easy targets” for its swarm boats and could sink a U.S. warship in less than a minute. – Military.com

Ukrainian authorities on Monday announced the seizure of radioactive material that had been smuggled into the country from a separatist region. – Global Security Newswire

The War

Saudi Arabia on Tuesday arrested 62 suspected al Qaeda terrorist cell members who are believed to have links to “extremist elements in Syria and Yemen,” according to the state news agency. – Wall Street Journal (subscription required)

Yemeni government forces captured al Qaeda’s main stronghold in the southern part of the country on Tuesday after insurgents blew up the local government compound there and fled, the Defence Ministry said. – Reuters

The White House pledged Tuesday to give lawmakers expanded access to memos on the legality of killing American citizens in drone strikes, a concession aimed at heading off Senate opposition to a judicial nominee involved in drafting those secret documents. – Washington Post

House Armed Services Committee ranking member Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) on Tuesday said he will propose an amendment to the 2015 defense spending bill to lift the ban on transferring Guantanamo detainees to U.S. soil. – The Hill

Algerian government forces have killed 10 Islamist militants in an operation in the south of the country, the state news agency APS said, where authorities are concerned about an influx of arms and fighters from neighboring Mali and Libya. – Reuters

A division within the Department of Defense is investigating whether the digital currency bitcoin is a possible terrorist threat. – Fox News

Twelve militants were killed in fighting between factions of the Pakistani Taliban near the Afghan border on Tuesday, Taliban and security officials said, the first such clash since the two feuding groups agreed to abide by a ceasefire two weeks ago. – Reuters

Syrian rebels have captured an army colonel who tried unsuccessfully to stand in next month’s presidential election, according to an Internet video posted on Tuesday. – Reuters

Missile Defense

Senate Republicans are pushing for the U.S. military to speed up deployment of advanced interceptors in Poland to send a deterrent message to Russia. – Global Security Newswire

NATO

NATO will have to consider permanently stationing troops in parts of Eastern Europe as a result of the increased tension between Russia and Ukraine, the alliance’s top military commander said on Tuesday. – Reuters

The U.S.-led NATO alliance and Japan, facing mounting security challenges in their respective neighborhoods, agreed Tuesday to cooperate more. – Associated Press

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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