Friday Defense Briefing

When the next-generation aircraft carrier CVN 78 Gerald R. Ford takes to the seas later this decade, it will face one of the most dangerous threats to the U.S. maritime military behemoth—the Chinese DF-21 anti-ship ballistic missile (ASBM). But U.S. Navy officials remain confident that the technological improvements to the Ford as well as the other ships shielding the carrier from attack should be able to protect the vessel. – Aviation Week

The US Marine Corps cannot meet its amphibious assault needs with its current stable of ship-to-shore connectors, according to Commandant Gen. Jim Amos in a recent article he penned for the June edition of Proceedings Magazine. – Defense News

Nearly three-quarters of respondents to a Military Times survey believe that a proposal to give troops a smaller-than-expected pay raise next year would significantly harm morale. – Military Times

The U.S. Air Force wants to raise the clout of its strike command as part of its response to a series of ethics lapses in the nuclear sector. – Global Security Newswire

U.S. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus defended the embattled $34 billion Littoral Combat Ship program on Wednesday and said the ability to reconfigure the ships to carry out different missions would help the Navy keep pace with rapidly changing technologies. – Reuters

The First lady on Monday will help lay the keel for a new submarine under construction in Rhode Island. – Associated Press

The War

James Mattis, a retired Marine four-star general who led U.S. Central Command, which oversaw the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, said announcing a lower U.S. troop number and setting a specific withdrawal date “sends a message” to U.S. allies that it is not fully committed to the fight against the Taliban. – USA Today

[E]ven before 44’s speech on Wednesday sought to underscore a shift in counterterrorism strategy — away from the Qaeda strongholds in and near those countries — American forces had changed their tactics in combating Al Qaeda and its affiliates, relying more on allied or indigenous troops with a limited American combat role. – New York Times

44 said Thursday he’s still determined to close the prison for terrorism suspects at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, before the end of his presidency. – Washington Times

44’s decision to withdraw U.S. forces from Afghanistan by the end of 2016 set the stage for major reductions in the account for war funding, or Overseas Contingency Operations. –

A growing number of Democrats say it is time to scrap a law passed after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks that two administrations have used to justify military actions around the world. – The Hill

The chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff has rejected the notion that the US is politically exhausted during his visit to the United Arab Emirates this week. – Defense News

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Wednesday said he will make decisions soon about six Guantanamo Bay detainees whom Uruguay has offered to accept. – The Hill

Partnership can indeed be a component of an effective strategy for countering terrorism. But partnership requires effective partners. This missing ingredient in 44’s strategy will be its downfall. – WSJ’s Think Tank

James Mattis, a retired Marine four-star general who led U.S. Central Command, which oversaw the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, said announcing a lower U.S. troop number and setting a specific withdrawal date “sends a message” to U.S. allies that it is not fully committed to the fight against the Taliban. – USA Today

Thirteen years after the 9/11 attacks, military aircraft are scrambling more than once a week, on average, to intercept civilian planes that stray into restricted airspace, military statistics show. – USA Today

Roadside bombings across Afghanistan killed 4 people on Thursday as officials reported that a NATO soldier died in a helicopter crash in Kandahar the previous day. – Associated Press

An al Qaeda renegade group killed 15 Kurdish people, seven of them children, in an attack on a village in northern Syria, a monitoring group and a photographer at the scene said on Friday. – Reuters

Foreign Armies East

Sudan turned down an Iranian offer to set up air defenses on its Red Sea coast after a 2012 air strike Khartoum blamed on Israel, fearing they would upset Iran’s regional rival Saudi Arabia, Sudan’s foreign minister was quoted as saying on Thursday. – Reuters

Mali’s army chief of staff, General Mahamane Toure, offered to step down on Thursday following the military’s failed attempt to seize the Tuareg separatist town of Kidal, three military sources said. – Reuters

The U.S. Air Force sent two of its top-tech, long-distanced drones to a military base in Japan to keep better surveillance tabs on North Korea and China, particularly when those countries conduct sea-based operations. – Washington Times

China and Japan are expected to set out rival visions for the future of Asia-Pacific security this weekend, as defense ministers and military leaders converge on Singapore for a summit meeting amid heightened tensions over territorial disputes in the East and South China seas. – Wall Street Journal (subscription required)

Syria has been missing deadlines ever since the agreement was signed last September. And if anyone is still inclined to predict the successful elimination of Syria’s chemical weapons, they should study the experience of chemical weapons disarmament in Libya. – 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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