Friday Defense Briefing

The House Armed Services Committee added funding to the 2015 defense budget for five EA-18G Growler aircraft, a new amphibious assault ship and the refueling of an eleventh aircraft carrier for the Navy. – DOD Buzz

The U.S. will begin a series of military exercises with elite special operations forces in the Baltic states, a new element in ongoing efforts to reassure American allies that the U.S. will defend them in the face of renewed Russian aggression. – WSJ’s Washington Wire

The Pentagon on Thursday said it stands “firmly” behind President Obama’s 2015 defense budget request, much of which was rejected by the House Armed Services Committee. – The Hill

A key House panel on Thursday approved a bill that would increase funding by at least $60 million for a homeland missile defense system. – Global Security Newswire

A US warship arrived on Thursday in Georgia’s port of Batumi, the US embassy said. – AFP

Scores of US and Filipino marines launched mock assaults on a South China Sea beach in the Philippines on Friday in war games aimed at honing the allies’ combat skills. – South China Morning Post

The War

The United States is considering a request by Nigeria to provide surveillance aircraft and intelligence to find more than 200 schoolgirls abducted by Islamist militants, a senior U.S. official told Reuters on Thursday. – Reuters

Libyan security officials said the head of intelligence for the country’s eastern sector was assassinated on Thursday in the city of Benghazi. – Associated Press

Around 270 Syrian rebels granted safe exit under a complex deal with President Bashar al-Assad’s forces are being held in Homs by the army after insurgents elsewhere failed to uphold their side of the agreement, Syrian officials said on Friday. – Reuters

The CIA is planning to close its satellite bases in Afghanistan and pull all its personnel back to Kabul by early summer, an unexpectedly abrupt withdrawal that the U.S. military fears will deprive it of vital intelligence while thousands of American troops remain in the country, U.S. officials said. – Los Angeles Times

The Iraqi government is actively seeking armed drones from the U.S. to combat al Qaeda in its increasingly violent Anbar province, and in a significant reversal, would welcome American military drone operators back into the country to target those militants on its behalf, according to people with knowledge of the matter. – Foreign Policy’s The Complex

Western embassies in Yemen heightened security on Thursday after increasingly bold attacks on foreigners by al Qaeda, even as the militant Islamists lost ground to an army offensive in the south. – Reuters

Cases of deadly violence against alleged blasphemers—and people who campaign against the laws—are even more widespread, with the result that few Pakistanis dare to openly oppose the legislation these days. – Wall Street Journal (subscription required)

Foreign Armies East

Female British soldiers could soon be allowed to fight on the frontline after Defence Secretary Philip Hammond on Thursday announced he had brought forward a planned review. – AFP

Russia’s armed forces conducted a “massive” nuclear forces exercise on Thursday simulating NATO and U.S. nuclear attacks and involving several long-range ballistic and cruise missile firings – Washington Free Beacon

US officials on Thursday voiced concern at the sale of French warships to Moscow as they mull tougher sanctions on Russia for the political upheaval triggered by the crisis in Ukraine. – AFP

France will not review its 1.2 billion-euro ($1.66 billion) contract to sell helicopter carriers to Russia earlier than planned because of the Ukraine crisis, despite U.S. concerns, a French government source said on Thursday. – Reuters

China’s escalating dispute with Vietnam over contested waters in the South China Sea sent new shudders through Asia on Thursday as China demanded the withdrawal of Vietnamese ships near a giant Chinese drilling rig and for the first time acknowledged its vessels had blasted the Vietnamese flotilla with water cannons in recent days. – New York Times

The Iraqi army has dispatched 42,000 troops here in a bid to quell al-Qaeda-inspired jihadists and hostile tribesmen, whose resurgence is posing the biggest test for the Iraqi military and the country’s Shiite-led government since the withdrawal of U.S. forces 2 1/2 years ago. – Washington Post

Canada is revisiting a decade-old decision not to join the US ballistic missile defense program, a top official in Ottawa said on Thursday. – AFP

Georgia’s defense minister said his country is stepping up efforts to formally join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization as part of a broader strategy to deter Russian aggression against former Soviet states. – Wall Street Journal (subscription required)

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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