Thursday Defense Briefing

The U.S. military dispatched 1,000 Marines on an amphibious assault ship to the Mediterranean Sea as the State Department urged Americans to leave Libya immediately because of the worsening security problems. – Wall Street Journal (subscription required)

The administration estimates that keeping 9,800 troops in Afghanistan in 2015 would cost about $20 billion, but the Pentagon is still expected to request tens of billions of dollars more for additional security operations in the region, according to sources and experts. – Defense News

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Wednesday it was not clear yet how many troops the U.S. will use to battle terrorists in Afghanistan in the coming two years, but he expressed some confidence that the Afghan forces will improve enough to secure and govern their own country. – Associated Press

Foreign and security policy experts discussed the state of the U.S. military and called for more decisive leadership in a dangerous world. – Washington Free Beacon

The military’s newest officers need to be strategic thinkers as well as warfighters because the U.S. will have to choose carefully when deciding whether to act alone in the world or build coalitions, Vice President Joe Biden told Air Force Academy graduates Wednesday. – Military Times

Read the transcript of the Vice President’s remarks.

The War

Locked in a local battle for territory but with an eye cocked warily at the West, Mr. Zahawi is in many ways a prime example of the growing terrorist threat of “decentralized Al Qaeda affiliates and extremists” that 44 described Wednesday in a speech at West Point. Although less able or inclined to strike the American homeland, this diffuse patchwork of groups now poses “the most direct threat” to the United States and its interests, especially abroad. – New York Times

One week after the  administration said it would comply with a federal appeals court ruling ordering it to make public portions of a Justice Department memo that signed off on the targeted killing of a United States citizen, the administration is now asking the court for permission to censor additional passages of the document. – New York Times

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said he is reviewing the cases of six Guantanamo Bay detainees on tap to be transferred to Uruguay, but said he would come to a decision “fairly soon.” – WSJ’s Washington Wire

During his commencement address to the West Point Military Academy’s Class of 2014 on Wednesday morning, 44 announced a $5 billion Counter-Terrorism Partnerships Fund to help create “a network of partnerships from South Asia to the Sahel” in order to “more effectively address emerging threats in the Middle East and North Africa,” he said. – Defense News

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is refusing to answer Congress’ questions about the existence of a secret terrorist “hands off” list that is said to have permitted individuals with terrorist ties easy entrance into the United States. – Washington Free Beacon

A Guantanamo detainee accused of orchestrating the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole asked a military judge Wednesday to order the release of a Senate report on the CIA’s use of harsh interrogation techniques. – Associated Press

44’s Wednesday announcement that he wants $5 billion more next year to fight terrorism came as a complete surprise to the Congressmen who will have to give him the money, and they reacted Wednesday with confusion and skepticism. – The Daily Beast

A 2010 Pentagon directive on military support to civilian authorities details what critics say is a troubling policy that envisions the administration’s potential use of military force against Americans. – Washington Times’ Inside the Ring

There is no easy answer as to what the strategy should be to combat the al Qaeda network, but the answer is not to hang our hat on partners that are ineffective, unreliable, or counterproductive. The enemy remains intent on fighting. We must not double-down on an unsuccessful strategy to rely heavily on partners as we flee from the war. – AEI Ideas

A senior commander in Lebanon’s Shiite Hezbollah movement who was on the FBI’s most-wanted terrorist list has been killed in fighting in Syria, U.S. officials said Wednesday. – Washington Post

A United States citizen working in Syria with a militant group backed by Al Qaeda conducted a suicide bombing there Sunday, in what is believed to be the first time an American has been involved in such an attack, American officials said Wednesday. – New York Times

Gunmen in western Tunisia attacked the family home of Interior Minister Lotfi Ben Jeddou in the early hours of Wednesday, officials there reported, killing four guards in one of the most brazen assaults by Islamist militants to hit the country in months. – New York Times

Violence rocked Iraq on Wednesday as at least 54 people died in car bombings, suicide attacks and assassinations around the country. – Reuters

Seven years into a bloody campaign to overthrow the Pakistani state, the Pakistani Taliban split in two on Wednesday when a major faction publicly rejected the movement’s leader, Maulana Fazlullah, and said it would continue the fight on its own. – New York Times

Foreign Armies East

A spokesman for China’s Ministry of National Defense questioned the evidence used by the U.S. government last week to indict five People’s Liberation Army officers for cybercrimes against U.S. companies. – Wall Street Journal (subscription required)

The United States is considering deploying more regional missile-defense systems in the Pacific to counter North Korea, the Pentagon’s second-ranking officer said Tuesday. – Washington Post

China warned against the deployment of a proposed U.S. missile-defense system in South Korea, saying such a move would unnecessarily raise regional tensions. – Wall Street Journal (subscription required)

Japan is considering selling submarine technology to Australia – perhaps even a fleet of fully engineered, stealthy vessels, according to Japanese officials. Sources on both sides say the discussions so far have encouraged a willingness to speed up talks. – Reuters

Japan said on Wednesday it was unable to immediately provide decommissioned patrol ships to Vietnam amid heightened tensions in the South China Sea as its own coastguard was stretched by surveillance activities. – Reuters

Thailand’s military stepped up its propaganda effort and appointed hawkish generals to key advisory roles, tightening its grip on power as it tries to steer the economy away from the brink of recession. – Wall Street Journal

Nigeria’s president said on Thursday he had ordered “a full-scale operation” against Boko Haram Islamist militants and sought to reassure the parents of 219 schoolgirls being held by the group that their children would be freed. – Reuters

A retired air force colonel was appointed Wednesday as Mali’s defense minister after his predecessor resigned over last week’s deadly rebel takeover of the northern city of Kidal. – AFP

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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