Wednesday Defense Briefing

44, declaring that it was “time to turn the page on a decade in which so much of our foreign policy was focused on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq,” announced on Tuesday that he planned to withdraw the last American troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2016. – New York Times

Read the transcript of the President’s remarks – White House

A U.S. warship carrying about 1,000 Marines has moved into the Mediterranean Sea to augment the American crisis response force already deployed in the region, a military official said on Tuesday. – Reuters

The U.S. is weighing a plan to deploy an advanced missile-defense system in South Korea, as the Pentagon begins a new push this week to expand cooperation in Asia to counter the threat of North Korean missiles, defense officials said. – Wall Street Journal (subscription required)

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has ordered a sweeping review of the military health-care system to determine if it is hobbled by any of the problems recently exposed in the medical services provided to the nation’s veterans. – Wall Street Journal (subscription required)

Prodded by Congress, the Pentagon has promised a better count of its bullets and missiles, according to congressional staff. – USA Today

A Senate defense panel wants to create a separate fund to underwrite the nation’s new nuclear-armed submarine fleet, a step the House also supports. – Global Security Newswire

The War

An army assault on pro-Russian rebels in east Ukraine will not have taken Vladimir Putin by surprise, but the ferocity of the clashes may have – and could be a game-changer if they spin out of control. – Reuters

The United States believes Afghanistan has time to develop a reliable counterterrorism force before the end of 2016, when U.S. troops are due to withdraw under plans unveiled on Tuesday, the top U.S. military officer told Reuters. – Reuters

Two Americans suffered light injuries when a U.S. consulate vehicle came under attack in Afghanistan’s western province of Herat on Wednesday morning, the U.S. embassy said. – Reuters

The State Department’s Counter Terrorism (CT) Bureau apologized on Tuesday for promoting a controversial Muslim scholar whose organization has reportedly backed Hamas and endorsed a fatwa authorizing the murder of U.S. soldiers in Iraq. – Washington Free Beacon

A suicide bomber blew himself up inside a Shi’ite mosque in central Baghdad on Tuesday, killing at least 19 people, security and medical sources said. – Reuters

The long pause in U.S. drone strikes, the lack of a serious Pakistani military offensive the drone pause was supposed to facilitate, and the thinning of U.S. and specialist Afghan forces inside Afghanistan have had — and will continue to have — negative effects on the rate of attrition of al Qaeda operatives in South Asia. Al Qaeda being “on its heels” seems an increasingly outdated turn of phrase for a network that has previously shown a remarkable ability to regenerate itself, and that has not suffered serious disruption in more than half a year. – The American

The Pakistan Taliban split into two groups on Wednesday, highlighting growing divisions within the movement and diminishing the government’s chances of finding a negotiated settlement with the insurgency. – Reuters

Boko Haram gunmen attacked a Nigerian military base and adjacent police barracks in the northeastern town of Buni Yadi, killing 31 security personnel, security sources and witnesses said. – Reuters

U.S. military personnel at Camp Lemonnier are locked down following a fatal bombing Saturday at a restaurant frequented by westerners in Djibouti, the strategic Horn of Africa nation that borders Somalia. – Stars and Stripes

Somali rebel group al Shabaab was behind the restaurant attack in Djibouti by two suicide bombers over the weekend that killed a Turkish national and wounded several Western soldiers, the militants said on Tuesday. – Reuters

Militia fighters stole hundreds of American-supplied automatic weapons and other equipment in a raid on a Libyan base where the US was training local forces, bringing an abrupt end to the secretive program, a report said Tuesday. – AFP

The leader of Islamist militant group Ansar al-Sharia in Libya’s Benghazi city warned the United States on Tuesday against interference or it would face worse than the conflicts in Somalia, Iraq, or Afghanistan. – Reuters

Syrians may have just experienced the first suicide bombing by an American jihadist. – Washington Times

Sweden’s biggest security threat comes from around 200 Islamists in the country with the potential for involvement in militant attacks, including young people radicalized after joining the war in Syria, the state’s spy chief said. – Reuters

Foreign Armies East

China has deployed three nuclear-armed ballistic missile submarines to a naval base in the South China Sea, according to a recent photo of the vessels that appeared on the Internet. – Washington Free Beacon

The Philippine government insisted Tuesday that its new accord letting the U.S. expand its military presence in the country is legal and is confident the agreement will withstand constitutional challenges. – Associated Press

The Japanese military’s top officer held meetings with his Myanmar counterpart Tuesday, officials said, the first visit of Japan’s highest-ranking army officer to the country since World War II. – AFP

The U.N. Security Council on Tuesday authorized peacekeepers in South Sudan to focus on protecting civilians instead of state-building activities, backing the use of force by U.N. troops amid worsening violence in the world’s newest nation. – Reuters

Cameroon has deployed some 1,000 troops and armoured vehicles to its border region with Nigeria as it steps up its military presence to counter a rising threat from Boko Haram Islamist militants, a defence ministry spokesman said on Tuesday. – Reuters

Mali Defence Minister Soumeylou Boybeye Maiga resigned on Tuesday, less than a week after an embarrassing defeat of army forces by Tuareg separatist rebels who seized several northern towns, sources close to the minister said. – 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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