Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Early Bird Brief: Pentagon probe of Islamic State intelligence finds reports weren’t skewed

Feb 01, 2017    
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Today's Top 5
  1. Pentagon Probe of Islamic State Intelligence Finds Reports Weren’t Skewed
(Wall Street Journal) Inquiry examined analyst allegations that senior U.S. military officials manipulated reports to paint a rosier picture of the battle against Islamic State. 
  2. Russian cybersecurity experts suspected of treason linked to CIA
(The Guardian) Two of Moscow’s top cybersecurity officials are facing treason charges for cooperating with the CIA, according to a Russian news report. 
  3. EXCLUSIVE: Pentagon believes attack on Saudi frigate meant for US warship
(Fox News) The Iranian-backed suicide attack targeting a Saudi frigate off the coast of Yemen on Monday may have been meant for an American warship, two defense officials told Fox News. 
  4. Trump speaks with family of slain Navy SEAL
(The Hill) President Trump on Tuesday had a “very somber and lengthy” conversation with the family of a Navy SEAL recently killed during a raid of an al Qaeda facility in Yemen. 
  5. UN Security Council to Meet on Iran Missile Test
(Voice of America) The United Nations Security Council is to hold urgent talks Tuesday in response to a ballistic missile test carried out by Iran. 
The Trump Presidency
  White House: Trump will enforce LGBTQ workplace protections
(The Hill) The White House said early Tuesday that President Trump will continue to enforce an Obama-era executive order protecting the rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community in the workplace. 
  Trump reaffirms US 'ironclad' commitment to South Korea
(IHS Jane’s 360) US president Donald Trump reaffirmed Washington's commitment to defending South Korea in a telephone conversation with that country's acting president, Hwang Kyo-ahn, the White House said in a 29 January statement. 
  Sally Yates firing and Trump cabinet cause partisan 'bad blood' to boil over
(The Guardian) A dirty political fight roiled Washington on Tuesday as allies and officials rallied around Donald Trump and his controversial travel ban, while opponents escalated their tactics to thwart his administration at every turn. 
  Reported Missile Launch Is Early Test For Trump Administration's Approach To Iran
(National Public Radio) U.S. officials say Iran test-fired a ballistic missile on Sunday, the first known test since President Trump took office — which could provide an early assessment of how the new administration will interpret and enforce the terms of the international deal to curb Iran's nuclear weapons capabilities. 
  Donald Trump’s National Security Council reorganization copies previous GOP president
(Wasington Times) President Trump’s reorganization of the National Security Council principals committee, and the participation of the Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman, is a duplicate of what George W. Bush did in February 2001 when he issued his NSC directive. 
  Making America’s ICBMs Great Again
(DefenseOne) SecDef Mattis had some questions about the value of the land-based part of the triad. Here are some answers. 
  By Lifting Sanctions, Trump Could Hand Russia’s Military a Lethal Technological Advantage
(DefenseOne) If Trump walks back sanctions, some fear key arms and military technologies could be next. 
  Trump courts Jordan's king amid embassy, refugee concerns
(Associated Press) King Abdullah II of Jordan's visit to Washington this week is testing President Donald Trump's ability to maintain key Arab alliances while cracking down on immigration from some Muslim countries and possibly moving the American Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. The next few days could provide an indication if Trump is willing to compromise. 
  Trump delays signing cybersecurity executive order
(Associated Press) President Trump has delayed signing an executive order aimed at strengthening cybersecurity. 
  Diplomats defy White House warning, criticize travel ban
(Associated Press) Hundreds of American diplomats defied a White House warning on Tuesday, sending a memo to the State Department's leadership that criticizes President Donald Trump's temporary travel ban on citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries. It is believed to be one of the most popularly supported statements of dissent in the department's history. 
  Conservatives hail Trump's Supreme Court pick
(Fox News) Republican lawmakers and conservative groups hailed President Trump's nomination of federal appeals judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court Tuesday night, even as Democrats questioned whether the nominee has sufficient "respect for constitutional values of liberty, equality and justice for all." 
Overseas Operations
  Syrian militias see more U.S. support for IS fight, plan new phase
(Reuters) The U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State has boosted support for its Syrian allies since President Donald Trump took office, supplying armored vehicles for the first time as they prepare to launch a new phase in their campaign for Raqqa, a spokesman for the militia said on Tuesday. 
  Kiev and Kremlin trade blame over surge in east Ukraine fighting
(Reuters) Ukraine and Russia blamed each other on Tuesday for a surge in fighting in eastern Ukraine in recent days that has led to the highest casualty toll in weeks and cut off power and water to thousands of civilians on the front line. 
  Fresh Clashes Near South Sudan's Oil Hub of Malakal
(Voice of America) Fresh clashes broke out around South Sudan's second-largest city of Malakal on Tuesday, a rebel spokesman and a government official said, the latest turn in the struggle for the capital of the oil-producing Upper Nile region. 
  EU Condemns Ukraine Clashes
(Voice of America) The European Union on Tuesday condemned recent clashes in eastern Ukraine between pro-Russian rebels and government forces, calling the fighting a “blatant violation” of the Minsk truce. 
  NATO, U.S. Want Dialogue With Russia 'From Position Of Strength'
(Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty) NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg says the alliance and the new U.S. administration agree on the need for dialogue with Russia "from a position of strength." 
  Azerbaijani Political Movement Said To Have Been Suborned By Iran 
(Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty) Just days after Baku's Court for Serious Crimes handed down lengthy prison terms to 18 men charged with plotting a coup d'etat at the behest of Iran, the unequivocally pro-Western political movement ReAl (Republican Alternative) has been accused of agreeing to collaborate with, and accepting funding from, Iranian diplomats. 
  Philippine president threatens to scrap pre-positioning agreement with US
(IHS Jane’s 360) Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte has accused Washington of risking regional security by constructing 'permanent arms depots' in his country, and threatened to scrap a bilateral deal that allows US forces to use Philippine military bases and pre-position materiel. 
  US-led coalition delivers armored vehicles to Syrians fighting ISIS
(Fox News) The U.S.-led coalition delivered armored vehicles to Syrian Arab fighters to aid in the fight against ISIS, a military spokesman confirmed to Fox News – however, the delivery had been in the works for “some time [and is] not new policy,” despite earlier reports Tuesday. 
  Pakistan's Stepchildren
(The Dawn) Sharbat Gula was one of the nearly 2 million of Afghans still living in Pakistan, after escaping a homeland obliterated by violence. “Afghanistan is only my birthplace, but Pakistan was my homeland,” she said in one interview. Yet, Pakistan never accepted Gula as her own. 
  Indian security establishment sees hope of shift in Pakistan’s India policy
(The Dawn) Though India's reaction to the detention of LeT chief Hafiz Saeed is a cautious "wait and watch", the security establishment sees the move as a positive development that can, if sustained, improve ties with Pakistan. 
  Beijing’s second aircraft carrier ‘takes shape’ after two years, nine months of construction: media
(South China Morning Post) Beijing’s second aircraft carrier was “taking shape” after two years and nine months of construction, mainland Chinese media reported – a move likely to further unnerve Taiwan and other neighbours about its growing military assertiveness. 
  Iraqis trapped by ISIL in Mosul face starvation, beatings and execution
(USA Today) An estimated 750,000 civilians trapped in western Mosul by the Islamic State are facing beatings, executions, starvation and forced military conscription of children as they wait desperately for Iraqi troops to free them. 
  Afghan Insurgents Use Drones in Fight Against U.S.
(Foreign Policy) NATO no longer has a monopoly on drones on the battlefields of Afghanistan. Because now insurgents are using them. 
  Israeli army gives West Bank settlers 48 hours to leave
(Deutsche Welle) Residents of the Amona outpost have been given 48 hours to evacuate the area, according to media reports. The move comes as tensions increase in Israel between nationalist hardliners and the country's top court. 
  The elaborate system behind ISIS' drone program
(C4ISRNET) According to papers captured in Iraq, the Islamic State group has an extensive and bureaucratic framework for using small, commercially available unmanned aerial systems, or UAS. 
  Mattis to reaffirm ties in visit to a wary Japan
(CNN) Japanese officials have a clear message for their first Trump administration guest: We are equal partners. 
  Mattis aiming to reaffirm US alliance with Japan and South Korea
(Deutsche Welle) US Secretary of Defense James Mattis will visit South Korea and Japan this week. Both Asian allies are deeply concerned about President Donald Trump's "America first" policy. 
  Report: U.S. military did not distort intelligence reports on Islamic State
(Associated Press) A Defense Department review delivered to Congress on Tuesday concludes that senior leaders at the U.S. Central Command did not exaggerate the progress the U.S. was making in fighting Islamic State militants, two U.S. officials said. 
  Military's online fight against ISIS hits snags
(Associated Press) On any given day at MacDill Air Force Base, web crawlers scour social media for potential recruits to the Islamic State group. Then, in a high-stakes operation to counter the extremists' propaganda, language specialists employ fictitious identities and try to sway the targets from joining ISIS ranks. 
  New commissary calculations show shoppers save less money than previously thought
(Military Times) Shoppers save 23.7 percent by using commissaries instead of civilian grocery stores -- lower than the 30 percent savings claimed for years, according to a new analysis by the Defense Commissary Agency. 
  Q-and-A: Colin Powell on Vietnam service, Iraq and Afghanistan, and Black History Month
(Military Times) Colin Powell didn’t sign up with four stars in mind. The New York City native and son of Jamaican immigrants had a much simpler objective. 
  Four soldiers injured in helicopter accident on Fort Campbell
(Army Times) Four soldiers were taken to the hospital Tuesday after a helicopter training accident, according to a press release from the 101st Airborne Division. 
  Army designs small-unit shelter that deploys rapidly for soldiers on the move
(Army Times) Soldiers on the move in small units need a shelter they can set up quickly, use as an operations center and still get a good night’s sleep, Army researchers say. 
  After 43 years, the Army is finally recognizing this paratrooper's PTSD
(Army Times) Sgt. Tom Adamski was sure he was going to die when both of his parachutes failed during a 1972 training jump with the 82nd Airborne Division. 
  Officials: Navy cruiser ran aground near Japan
(Navy Times) The forward-deployed cruiser Antietam ran aground Tuesday off the coast of Japan near its home port of Yokosuka, according to two Navy officials familiar with the incident. 
  Navy SEAL who says he killed bin Laden has book deal
(Associated Press) The Navy SEAL who has said he fired the shots that killed Osama bin Laden has a memoir coming out this spring. 
Air Force
  Air Force: Airmen in flight suits can now pull up their sleeves to their elbows
(Air Force Times) Airmen wearing flight suits are now allowed to roll up their sleeves to their elbows -- most of the time. 
  New US Air Force Wish List Adds Billions for More Aircraft
(Defense News) An update to the US Air Force’s 2017 wish list bumps its unfunded requirements to $10.6 billion, with the service seeking funding for more F-35s and a light attack aircraft experiment, among other new efforts. 
  Retired Air Force sergeant to host Super Bowl radio show
(Associated Press) Bernard Edwards spent the past 16 years as an Air Force surgical operations manager, leading and training more than 300 medics and caregivers and aiding surgeons serving in the military. 
Marine Corps
  Marines seek to destroy enemy drones
(Marine Corps Times) It was only a matter of time until U.S. troops had to face the new sky threat: armed drones. 
National Guard
  General: Iowa National Guard stands ready, brings $353 million in federal funding
(The Des Moines Register) The 9,000-member Iowa National Guard still holds a key role in supporting the daily operations of the U.S. Army and Air Force and currently has about 425 soldiers and airmen mobilized for combat operations around the globe, the Guard's top uniformed officer told lawmakers Tuesday. 
Coast Guard
  Coast Guard joins search for missing woman off Kauai's Anini Beach
(Hawaii News Now) Rescuers are searching for a 22-year-old woman who was apparently swept out to sea while swimming Monday night off Anini Beach. 
  Trump's pick to lead VA isn't a veteran. Does that matter?
(Military Times) For the last 94 years, every permanent or acting head of the U.S. veterans benefits bureaucracy has served in the military. But that is expected change in coming days. 
  Key Republican suggests VA budget may be big enough already
(Military Times) The days of ever-increasing budgets for the Department of Veterans Affairs may be over, according to comments from the new chairman of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee on Tuesday
  VA is studying gut bacteria in PTSD, TBI patients following success in mice

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