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Early Bird

Americans Don't Back Giving Arms to Ukraine, Pentagon: Russia Won't Invade, No ENLIST Act in NDAA

By Jordain Carney (@jordainc)

Welcome to NJ's Early Bird, today's best national security, defense, and foreign policy coverage. To contact us, email earlybird@nationaljournal.com.

 

Pentagon Says Chuck Hagel Told That Russia Won't Invade
(Associated Press)
The Defense secretary requested clarification of Russia's intentions in eastern Ukraine, and the Russian defense minister, Sergei Shoygu, reassured Hagel that Russian forces will not invade.

Poll: Americans Support Sanctions, Not Arms for Ukraine
(USA Today: Susan Page, Kendall Breitman)
They oppose by more than 2-1 the idea of sending arms or military supplies to the Ukrainian government to bolster its defenses against Russian forces.

Buck McKeon: No ENLIST Act in Defense Bill
(Politico: Seung Min Kim)
His chief concern: Including a provision involving immigration in the National Defense Authorization Act would complicate the process for passing the sweeping legislation.

 

Ending Asia Trip, Obama Defends His Foreign Policy
(The New York Times: Mark Landler)
President Obama said his policies were based on a workmanlike tending to American priorities that might lack the high drama of a wartime presidency but also avoided ruinous mistakes.

UKRAINE/RUSSIA

U.S. Turns Down Ukraine's Plea for Weapons
(Military.com: Richard Sisk)
The U.S. has put on indefinite hold on Ukraine's urgent requests for arms shipments to shore up the Ukrainian military.

U.S. Announces More Sanctions Against Russia
(The New York Times: Peter Baker, Mark Landler)
The Obama administration ordered travel bans and asset freezes for seven Russian officials, and froze assets for 17 companies.

A Who's Who of Putin's Friends Hit by U.S. Sanctions
(Associated Press: Lynn Berry)
The seven people from Putin's inner circle targeted with U.S. sanctions include men who have helped restore Kremlin control over Russia's economy and its political system.

 

Sanctions Over Ukraine Cause Headaches in the Energy Sector
(The New York Times: Andrew Kramer)
With the latest round of sanctions over the Ukraine crisis, relationships between Russian state-owned businesses and large multinational companies look increasingly complicated.

E.U. to Sanction More Russian Officials, Diplomats Say
(Associated Press)
Diplomats say E.U. is adding 15 more officials to Russia sanctions list over Ukraine crisis.

Mayor of Ukraine's Second-Largest City Is Shot
(The New York Times: Andrew Roth, Alan Cowell)
The mayor, Gennady Kernes, had been regarded as seeking to steer a middle course as pro-Russian militants conduct a campaign of occupations of key facilities in eastern cities.

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Ukraine's Invisible Presidential Election
(The Atlantic: Tom Balmforth)
With Crimea and Ukraine's eastern regions dominating headlines, the May 25 vote approaches, unnoticed.

Disarray Rules in Eastern Ukraine
(The Washington Post: Griff Witte, William Booth)
The descent into chaos has caught the normally calm regional capital off guard even as pro-Kiev demonstrators rally for peace.

John Kerry Sees Ukraine Crisis as Uniquely Putin's
(The Wall Street Journal: Gerald Seib)
The secretary of leaves no doubt that he sees Russia's actions in the Ukraine crisis as the product not of any collective Russian view of the world, but of the determination of an individual: Vladimir Putin.

EUROPE

Romania to Boost Military Spending Over Ukraine Crisis
(Agence France-Presse)
Romania will increase its defense spending by an additional $215 million.

U.S. Troops, British Planes Deployed to Baltics Over Ukraine
(Reuters: David Mardiste, Andrius Aytas)
The last deployment of U.S. troops arrived in the Baltics with four British fighter jet.

U.S. Paratroopers in Place in Eastern Europe
(Politico: Philip Ewing)
The last of about 600 American paratroopers arrived in Eastern Europe for infantry exercises the Pentagon says are meant to show America's support for its allies during the Ukraine crisis.

CONGRESS

U.S. Lawmakers Say Latest Russia Sanctions Too Mild, Want More
(Reuters: Patricia Zengerle)
Sen. Bob Corker, the top Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee, called the new sanctions "just a slap on the wrist."

Democrat Says Broader Russia Sanctions 'Will Likely Be Necessary'
(The Hill: Kristina Wong)
A senior House Intelligence Committee member called the new sanctions against Russia "an important step," but said additional measures will likely be needed.

Thornberry, Larsen Offer Different Views on Defense Spending, Russia, China
(Defense News: John Bennett)
The more the duo spoke, the more clear it became just how far apart the former's Republican Party and the latter's Democratic Party stand on national security issues.

GOP Sees Opening in Military Minimum Wage Hike
(Politico: Philip Ewing)
Republicans and pro-business groups want to use the Pentagon as a stalking horse in a campaign to chip away at President Obama's new minimum wage mandate.

Senate Drops Bid to Report on Drone Use
(The New York Times: Mark Mazzetti)
The provision was quietly stripped from an intelligence bill, highlighting continuing government resistance on these operations.

Senate Intelligence Panel Leaders Draft Cyber Legislation
(The Washington Post: Ellen Nakashima)
Efforts to move comprehensive legislation in this area have failed in recent years, with a bill to establish security standards and ease data sharing going down to defeat in 2012.

Sen. Rand Paul Proposal to Halt Aid to Palestine
(Politico: Lucy McCalmont)
The Kentucky Republican will introduce a bill this week, calling for an end of U.S. aid to Palestine until it recognizes Israel's right to exist.

MIDDLE EAST

Israel Appears to Raise New Peace Talks Issue With U.S.
(The New York Times: Isabel Kershner, Jodi Rudoren)
Israel raised a new source of potential tension with the United States over Washington's approach to the unity government planned by the Palestinians.

U.S. Cutter Has Stabilizing Effect in Arabian Gulf
(Defense News: Christopher Cavas)
On patrol in the gulf, the small 110-foot-long cutter's presence isn't always appreciated, at least by pirates and robbers and others wishing to do harm.

Kerry Apologizes for Remark That Israel Risks Apartheid
(The New York Times: Michael Gordon)
Secretary of State John Kerry expressed support for Israel after a controversy erupted over a phrase he used in a private appearance.

IRAN

Russia and Iran in Talks Over Energy Deal
(The New York Times: Rick Gladstone)
The Russia-Iran energy deal is the second significant economic collaboration under negotiation between the two countries that could undercut the efficacy of the sanctions on Iran.

U.N. Nuclear Watchdog Holds Talks in Tehran Ahead of May Deadline
(Reuters: Fredrik Dahl)
The International Atomic Energy Agency gave no details about the previously unannounced visit of IAEA Deputy Director General Tero Varjoranta to the Iranian capital.

SYRIA

Syria's Assad to Run for President in June 3 Vote
(Associated Press: Albert Aji, Diaa Hadid)
President Bashar Assad will seek a third seven-year term against six other contenders, a race he's likely to win.

Syrian Relief Work Hampered by U.N. Failings, Aid Groups Say
(Reuters: Oliver Holmes)
Aid organizations working in Syria are accusing the United Nations of excluding them and withholding information vital to assist millions in need.

AFGHANISTAN/PAKISTAN

Two NATO Troops Die in Attack in Eastern Afghanistan
(Associated Press)
The deaths come two days after five British service members died in a helicopter crash in the southern province of Kandahar.

From 'Torturer in Chief' to a Life in Southern California
(The Washington Post: Greg Miller, Julie Tate, Joshua Partlow)
An Afghan spy chief has resurfaced.

ASIA/PACIFIC

Obama Headed Home After 4-Country Asia Tour
(Associated Press: Darlene Superville)
Ukraine overshadowed an Obama tour that was meant to reassure anxious allies in the orbit of a rising China that the U.S. will always be there to defend them.

Obama's Asia Trip Yields Better Military Ties but No Trade Concessions
(McClatchy: Stuart Leavenworth)
It remains to be seen whether Obama's goodwill trip through Asia will do much to help him at home.

Obama: Goal Is Not to 'Contain' China
(USA Today: Tom Maresca)
The Philippines has ongoing territorial disputes with China at several locations in the South China Sea including the Spratly Islands and Scarborough Shoal.

INDUSTRY

Navy, Northrop Brokering Revised E-2D Muliyear Deal Following 20 Percent Aircraft Cut
(Inside Defense)
The Navy and Northrop Grumman are renegotiating the terms of a proposed multibillion-dollar procurement of the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye aircraft.

Australian Buy Comes at Key Time for F-35 Program
(Defense News: Nigel Pittaway, Aaron Mehta)
The large order is helpful to the F-35 program, which recently had to push some U.S. procurement out to the future.

NAVY

Navy Orders 10 New Subs for Record $17.6B
(Defense News: Christopher Cavas)
The fixed-price incentive multiyear contract for 10 Block IV subs provides for two ships per year over the five-year period.

Upcoming Budget Crunch Could Unravel New Deployment Plan
(Navy Times: David Larter)
A mounting body of testimony from Navy officials suggests that the plan may soon be another victim of budget battles.

MARINE CORPS

Marine Corps Finalizes New Aviation Plan
(Inside Defense)
The Marine Corps will soon release a new aviation plan that paints a more accurate picture of the way ahead, according to a service official.

AIR FORCE

Two Charged After Antiwar Protest at Air Force Base
(Newport News: Andrea Castillo)
A Christian antiwar protest at Langley Air Force Base last week, part of a weeklong set of demonstrations in the region, led to charges against two people accused of blocking the entrance to the base.

VETERANS

Obama: U.S. Takes VA Neglect Claim 'Very Seriously'
(Associated Press)
Obama says he immediately ordered an investigation following allegations that up to 40 Arizona veterans died while awaiting medical appointments at the Phoenix VA Health Care Center.

Deported Veteran Who Died Abroad Is One of Many
(UPI)
Immigration law reforms implemented in 1996 require the deportation of any permanent resident convicted of any of a long list of criminal offenses regardless of military service

DETAINEES

Guantanamo Holds Sunday War-Court Session to Hear From Prisoner's Psychiatrist
(The Miami Herald: Carol Rosenberg)
An Army psychiatrist testified that doctors, with no government account of what the CIA did, offered the captive a range of treatments for his mental health problems, such as antidepressants and exposure therapy.

TERRORISM

Former al-Qaida Associate Testifies in U.S. Trial of Handless Cleric
(Reuters: Joseph Ax)
Badat will testify that he witnessed Abbasi meeting with al-Qaida leaders and discussed carrying out attacks.

CYBER

White House Details Thinking on Cybersecurity Flaws
(The New York Times: David Sanger)
The White House published a series of questions it asks in deciding when to make public the discovery of major flaws in computer security.

AFRICA

White House 'Deeply Troubled' by Mass Death Sentence in Egypt
(McClatchy: Lindsay Wise)
The Obama administration said that the verdicts defy the most basic standards of international justice.

AMERICAS

New Group, #CubaNow, Tells Obama It's Time to Change Cuba Policy
(Reuters: David Adams)
The group believes the 52-year-old U.S. embargo against the communist-ruled island has not worked.

ANALYSIS/COMMENTARY

More Half-Measures From Obama
(The Washington Post)
The president's modest sanctions show Putin that he has little to fear from the U.S. or the E.U.

Russia's Obama Rally
(The Wall Street Journal)
The latest weak sanctions cheer investors in Moscow.

New U.S. Stealth Jet Can't Hide From Russian Radar
(The Daily Beast Bill Sweetman)
America's gazillion-dollar Joint Strike Fighter is supposed to go virtually unseen when flying over enemy turf. But that's not how things are working out.

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DON'T MISS TODAY'S TOP STORIES

Keeps me informed about national leadership concerns."

Senior Military Officer

I can browse over breakfast or while on the metro."

AJ, US Army Officer

Sign up form for the newsletter
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