Friday Defense Briefing

The Navy has dispatched a cruiser to the Black Sea in the latest sign that Washington is ramping up pressure on the Kremlin’s power play in Ukraine ahead of a disputed referendum. – Military Times

U.S. Special Operations Command may have a relatively small budget with which to add the latest generation of widgets to its fixed-wing fleet, but commando leaders say they’re making those dollars count — and doing so quickly. – Military Times

The War

Top military officials are pressing for permission to publicly defend American drone strikes against criticism in the U.S. and abroad, defense officials said.  The issue has come to a head after the military concluded last year that long-standing U.S. secrecy surrounding drone operations has bolstered support for al Qaeda in places like Yemen. – Wall Street Journal

The US House on Thursday struck down a measure that would have voided the post-9/11 authorization of war against al-Qaida despite widespread war fatigue across the United States. – Defense News

The intelligence community is on the verge of “revolutionary” technical advances. Spy satellites and other systems will be able to watch a place or a person for long periods of time and warn intelligence analysts and operatives when target changes its behavior. Satellites and their sensors could be redirected automatically to ensure nothing is missed. – Breaking Defense

Although 44 promised greater transparency in his speech at the National Defense University, U.S. lawmakers are increasingly critical of the secrecy surrounding the operations. – Reuters

One week after the 9/11 attacks, Congress authorized the president “to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001.”   This week, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a hearing on this subject, the first step in an effort to reassert congressional oversight of this issue, which has fundamentally changed from the initial hunt for Osama bin Laden. – Washington Post

About 20 Malian soldiers were killed and 30 wounded in a failed attempt by government forces to retake the Tuareg separatist stronghold of Kidal this week, the defense minister said. – Reuters 

Five suicide bombers carried out the attack which killed 31 people in the capital of China’s troubled Xinjiang region, state media reported a day after the deadliest terrorist attack to date in the region. – Reuters

The top leader of an al-Qaida-inspired group in Egypt’s restive Sinai and three of his associates were killed in a drive-by shooting in the peninsula on Thursday, senior Egyptian security officials said. – Associated Press

The U.N. Security Council added Boko Haram, the Nigerian extremist group holding more than 200 schoolgirls hostage, to its terrorism list on Thursday, meaning its leaders will have their foreign assets frozen, they will be banned from international travel and the group will be subject to an arms embargo. – Wall Street Journal

A handful of heavily armed insurgents, including suicide bombers, launched a rocket propelled grenade and gun attack on the Indian consulate in Afghanistan’s western city of Herat hours before dawn on Friday, officials said. – Reuters

Pakistani soldiers seized control of a neighborhood dominated by foreign Islamist militants in the North Waziristan tribal district on Thursday as part of the most concerted military operation in the area in several years, a senior security official said. – New York Times

Foreign Armies East

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps took a rather interesting move on Thursday and posted a strategy for attacking U.S. warships — on Twitter. – Washington Times

The Thai military seized control of the country on Thursday in a coup, the culmination of months of maneuvering by the Bangkok establishment to sideline the populist movement founded by a billionaire tycoon that has won every national election since 2001. – New York Times

Naval vessels from North and South Korea exchanged artillery fire on Thursday, raising tensions along a disputed maritime boundary. Neither hit the other. – New York Times

A renegade general leading a week-long military campaign in Libya against Islamists dominating the country’s political scene urged Thursday for a “war against terrorism,” vowing to keep up his offensive until he purges his nation of militants. – Associated Press

Russia will pull back all forces deployed to regions near its border with Ukraine “within a few days”, its deputy defense minister said on Friday, a move that if carried out could ease tensions before Ukraine’s presidential election on Sunday. – Reuters

Russia’s top general said on Friday that Moscow would retaliate against increased NATO activity near its border as tensions with the western alliance over Ukraine escalate. – 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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