Friday, December 30, 2016

Early Bird Brief: Military warned over energy drinks..........MORE

Today's Top 5
  1. Trump considering plans for privatizing VA medical options
(Military Times) President-elect Donald Trump is evaluating a radical overhaul of veterans health care options even before he finalizes his pick for the next secretary of veterans affairs. 
  2. Obama Strikes Back at Russia for Election Hacking
(New York Times) The Obama administration struck back at Russia on Thursday for its efforts to influence the 2016 election, ejecting 35 Russian intelligence operatives from the United States and imposing sanctions on Russia’s two leading intelligence services. 
  3. Syria’s cease-fire holding despite minor violations
(USA Today) A nationwide cease-fire in Syria between government forces and rebels that went into effect at midnight was holding Friday despite minor violations, according to opposition activists. 
  4. DoD Health Experts Want Troops to Cut Back on Energy Drinks
( U.S. military health officials are warning service members that chugging too many energy drinks can have harmful side effects. 
  5. Russia moves to expel US diplomats in response to sanctions
(BBC) Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the request had been made to President Vladimir Putin. 
Donald Trump & the Presidency
  Trump, reacting to Russian sanctions, says time to 'move on to bigger and better things'
(Washington Examiner) President-elect Trump responded to the news Thursday that President Obama issued sanctions against Russia for its cyberattacks. 
  Donald Trump and Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu Bond During Transition
(NBC News) President-elect Donald Trump hasn't taken office yet, but his diplomatic ties with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are strengthening by the day. 
Overseas Operations
  Russia readies two of its most advanced submarines for launch in 2017
(Washington Post) Two of Russia’s most advanced nuclear submarines will be launched in 2017, despite ballooning program costs and delays, according to a report by a Russian state news agency. 
  Iraq resumes Mosul operation after a two-week lull
(Al Jazeera) Iraqi troops backed by US-led air strikes have pushed deeper into eastern Mosul after a two-week lull in the operation to retake the city held by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) group. 
  A new wild card in Afghanistan war: Russia
(Christian Science Monitor) Russia is worried that terrorists could be fleeing from Syria to Afghanistan and is moving to counter. It has many of the same goals as the US in Afghanistan, but different motivations. 
  Can DNA technology thwart military supply chain threats?
(C4ISRNET) The issue of counterfeit parts in military equipment isn’t new – and it isn’t going away. 
  Child abuse in the military: Failing those most in need
(Los Angeles Times) The Pentagon has struggled to deal with a little-noticed cascade of child abuse and neglect cases in military families in the years since America went to war in Iraq and Afghanistan, a Times investigation has found. 
  US military could carry out first execution in over 50 years
(CNN) A former US Army soldier who has been on death row since 1988 for raping and murdering several women could now face execution after a judge denied his bid for another stay of execution. 
  New in 2017: Armored BCTs start new deployments to Europe
(Army Times) The Army will start deploying an armored brigade combat team to Europe in 2017. 
  Texas Guard identifies aviators killed in Apache crash
(Army Times) Officials on Thursday released the names of two Texas Army National Guard soldiers who died after their AH-64 Apache crashed into the water off the Bayport Cruise Terminal near La Porte, Texas. 
  Did the U.S. Army Just Build 117,000 'Super' Guns?
(The National Interest) The US Army has now produced at least 117,000 battle-tested, upgraded M4A1 rifles engineered to more quickly identify, attack and destroy enemy targets with full auto-capability, consistent trigger-pull and a slightly heavier barrel, service officials said. 
  Middle East Now Without a US Carrier
(Navy Times) The Dwight D. Eisenhower carrier strike group chopped out of the European theater of operations Dec. 26 and headed home to Norfolk after months of operating in the Arabian Gulf and the Mediterranean, where the strike jets of Carrier Air Wing 3 flew hundreds of missions against Islamic State group targets in Syria and Iraq. The homecoming is set for Dec. 30 — two days shy of the Navy’s stated goal of bringing the group home in seven months
  The Gabby: Navy to commission USS Gabrielle Giffords
(Associated Press) A naval program that has become a target for critics is preparing to commission a new vessel named after a well-known shooting survivor. 
  New in 2017: Tuition assistance and virtual education
(Navy Times) In 2017, the Navy wants sailors to use their Virtual Education Center, which can provide sailors with counseling and tuition assistance processing help both online and over the phone. This past year, the Navy closed all but four of its Navy College offices on bases around the United States and the remaining four will be gone by Oct. 1, 2017
  Navy: Navy SEAL dies after kayak overturns
(Associated Press) The U.S. Navy says a Navy SEAL has died a day after his kayak overturned in the Chesapeake Bay. 
  Navy investigation: Canopy explosion led to grounding of Growlers, Super Hornets
(UPI) The U.S. Navy temporarily grounded all Super Hornet and Growler squadrons because a canopy exploded off a jet earlier this month, according to a Naval Safety Center summary of the incident. 
Air Force
  New in 2017: Trickle of enlisted drone pilots could become a flood
(Air Force Times) History was made in 2016 when the first four enlisted airmen became the first to start training to fly remotely piloted aircraft. 
  Air Force experiments with new career paths
(Federal News Radio) Nearly 40 airmen will help test the waters for a new personnel strategy in the Air Force and throughout the military as a whole. 
  Air Force fires squadron commander after chief's drunk driving arrest
(Air Force Times) The squadron commander who had been reassigned after the unit's security forces manager was charged in a fatal drunk driving accident has been relieved from command, the 4th Fighter Wing announced in a statement. 
Marine Corps
  New in 2017: Future of Marines' gender integration plan uncertai
(Marine Corps Times) It remains to be seen whether President-elect Donald Trump will halt the U.S. military’s ongoing efforts to open all combat jobs to women. 
National Guard
  Cleanup ongoing to reduce lead dust at National Guard armory
(WCAX) Vermont National Guard officials say efforts are underway to reduce lead dust at a Bennington armory that was built more than 90 years ago. 
  Washington National Guard and USCG helicopters land on John C. Stennis
(Kitsap Sun) Sailors conducted deck landing qualifications Dec. 18 with the Washington National Guard and the U.S. Coast Guard. 
Coast Guard
  US Coast Guard searching for missing plane in Ohio
(Fox News) The U.S. Coast Guard is searching for a missing plane that took off from an Ohio airport on the shores of Lake Erie. 
  Coast Guard suspends search for kayaker on Chowan River
(WAVY) The U.S. Coast Guard on Thursday suspended a search for a kayaker who reportedly went missing overnight on the Chowan River. 
Defense Industry
  Rockwell Collins awarded DISA contract to support VIPs
(C4ISRNET) Rockwell Collins has been awarded a data link contract by the Defense Information System Agency and the Defense Information Technology Contracting Organization (DITCO). 
  Azure awarded common sigint sensor contract
(C4ISRNET) Azure Summit Technology has been awarded a $48.5 million Navy contract for a common signal intelligence sensor. 
  Turkish Armor Makers in Talks to Produce 1,000 Vehicles for Qatar
(Defense News) A new multinational venture featuring Turkish, German and Malaysian manufacturers is in talks with Qatar to produce 1,000 armored vehicles — just one component of an aggressive marketing strategy that targets Gulf, Middle Eastern and Middle Asian markets. 
  Turkish, Saudi Firms Sign Joint Venture
(Defense News) Aselsan, Turkey’s largest defense company, and Saudi Arabia’s Taqnia announced Tuesday the establishment of a joint venture. 
  Trump Floats VA Privatization Despite Opposition of Veterans’ Groups
(US News & World Report) President-elect Donald Trump appears to be moving towards privatizing the health care for veterans, meeting with hospital executives, including a top contender for secretary of Veterans Affairs, at his estate in Florida on Wednesday. 
  New in 2017: Trump takes on veterans health care reform
(Military Times) The Department of Veterans Affairs could see radical transformation under President-elect Donald Trump, if he follows through on campaign promises to shake up the bureaucracy. 
  Dan Gallagher, 69, championed veterans' causes
(Missoulian) Gallagher, 69, dealt with heart and stomach problems throughout his life after inhaling Agent Orange during his 1967 tour of duty in Vietnam. His heart attack came after he was hospitalized the day before Veterans Day; he had heart surgery over the Christmas holiday. 
Congress & Politics
  Senators to push for further sanctions against Russia under Trump
(The Hill) Senators in both parties are pledging to push additional sanctions against Russia next year, setting up a potential conflict with the incoming Trump administration. 
  McConnell: New Russia sanctions an 'initial step'
(The Hill) Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Thursday called new sanctions against Russia an "initial step" but reiterated that lawmakers will review Moscow's meddling in the U.S. presidential election next year. 
  Why filling Gitmo with 'bad dudes' could require a new war authorization
(Washington Examiner) President-elect Trump may need to work with Congress to pass a new war authorization if he plans to make good on his pledge to fill Guantanamo Bay with "some bad dudes." 
Cyber, Space & Surveillance
  New DARPA radio transmitter could revolutionize battlefield communications
(Military Times) Military engineers are looking to revolutionize battlefield communications by introducing a new project that seeks to bridge gaps in current military communications capabilities. 
  NK hackers could disable US Pacific Command: report
(Korea Herald) A cyberattack by North Koreans could potentially knock out the computer network for the US Pacific Command, warned a report by a state-run agency for the analysis of defense technology. 
National Security
  Contentious presidential transition could threaten national security
(Federal Times) The continued discord between the outgoing Obama administration and the incoming Trump administration is setting the stage for one of the more contentious presidential transitions in recent memory, and may present the country with dire national security threats as a result. 
  DHS, FBI release joint report on Russian cyberactivity
(Washington Examiner) A joint report released Thursday by the Department of Homeland Security and FBI has shed light on how federal investigators concluded that Russia was behind the hacking of Democratic political institutions in the presidential election. 
International Affairs
  Syria and Some Rebel Groups Agree to a Russia-Backed Truce
(New York Times) A cease-fire agreement between Syria’s government and weakened rebel forces that have been trying to topple it is scheduled to start on Friday, a potential turning point in a nearly six-year conflict that has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives and shredded every hope of resolution. 
  Duty or desertion in Afghanistan
(Boston Globe) There is much that is compelling about the story of Captain Niloofar Rahmani, Afghanistan’s first female military pilot, who just completed flight training in the United States. It is a remarkable achievement for any Afghan woman to rise to such public professional heights. All of which makes her recently revealed request for asylum in the United States so problematic for traditional Western notions of duty, public service, and the social contract. 
  Russia retaliates against US following sanctions
(Washington Examiner) Russian authorities announced on Friday the closing of an international school in Moscow. The swift move was a change of course from a comment a spokesman for the Russian government made Thursday that there was "no need to rush" retaliation following sanctions by the US. 
  China Takes New Step to Downgrade the Dollar’s Prominence
(Bloomberg) China took another step to degrade the dollar in defining the value of its currency, in an effort that cuts against its rival’s stubbornly strong hold on the global financial system. 
  What it means if Trump names China a currency manipulator
(Los Angeles Times) President-elect Donald Trump has vowed to name China a currency manipulator on his first day in the White House. There's only one problem: It's not true anymore. 
  Duterte delegates Philippines into economic sweet spot but misgivings rising
(Reuters) After six months at the helm in the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte has been touting just two achievements of his presidency - a vicious war on drugs and a surprise alliance with his country's bitter rival, China. 

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