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Another Official Charged in Navy Bribery Scandal, Deal Reached on Defusing Ukraine Tensions

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.

 

Syria Provides More 'Detailed' List of Chemical Weapons
(Reuter: Dominic Evans, Anthony Deutsch)
The list comes after discrepancies were reported by inspectors on the ground.

Diplomats Reach Deal on Defusing Ukraine Crisis
(The Washington Post: Karen DeYoung, Anne Gearan)
"Compromise, of sorts" calls for both sides to end provocation; Western officials doubt Russian commitment. 

Pentagon Moves to Block Russian Spy Plane in American Skies
(The Daily Beast: Eli Lake)
Russian surveillance planes already fly over America, thanks to a long-standing treaty. But a new, ultra-sophisticated spy plane has U.S. military and intelligence bosses spooked.

 

U.S. Releases $450 Million of Frozen Iranian Funds After IAEA Report
(Reuters: Will Dunham)
State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said that "all sides have kept the commitments made" under the agreement.

Another Charge in Navy Bribe Case
(The New York Times: Christopher Drew)
A Navy enlisted man was charged in a complaint unsealed Thursday with accepting $1,000-a-month in cash, trips and consumer electronics for supplying a Malaysian contractor with sensitive Navy ship schedules.

UKRAINE/RUSSIA

Deal Brings No Immediate Changes to Eastern Ukraine
(Associated Press: Nataliya Vasilyeva)
Pro-Russian militiamen who control government buildings in eastern Ukraine showed no sign of relenting.

Obama Hopeful on Ukraine Pact, but Remains Concerned About Russia
(Associated Press)
Obama said the U.S. and its European allies will remain prepared to respond to efforts by Russia to interfere in eastern and southern Ukraine.

 

Vladimir Putin Vows to Fight for Russians in Ukraine
(Bloomberg: Kateryna Choursina, Olga Tanas, Jake Rudnitsky)
The Russian president said he "hopes" he won't have to use his "right" to send troops to Ukraine.

Putin: Annexation of Crimea Partly a Response to NATO Enlargement
(Reuters: Alexei Anishchuk, Maria Kiselyova)
Putin said Moscow will respond if the United States moves ahead with plans to base elements of a missile defense shield in eastern Europe.

Is Putin's Next Move to Take Over Odessa?
(The Daily Beast: Josh Rogin, Eli Lake)
There are increasing signs that the unrest in eastern Ukraine is spreading, and Odessa, the country's third-largest city, could be the next to fall.

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The Ukrainian Army Is Crumbling Before Putin
(The Daily Beast: Jamie Dettmer)
A deadly Ukrainian operation to protect a base in the Black Sea port of Mariupol is a rare example of some backbone shown by a disorganized military that doesn't want to fight.

Sorry, Snowden: Putin Lied to You About His Surveillance State—and Made You a Pawn of It
(The Daily Beast: Eli Lake)
In a bizarre televised appearance the NSA whistle-blower now living in Russia asked Putin if he spied on his own citizens the way the Americans do on theirs. Putin, predictably, said no.

EUROPE

Pentagon Eyes More Deployment to Poland
(Politico: Philip Ewing)
Hagel spoke at the Pentagon after a meeting with Polish Defense Minister Tomasz Siemoniak, who came to Washington in search of more American soldiers, warplanes, and support troops.

Hagel: U.S. Forces to Stay in Poland Until End of 2014
(Stars and Stripes: Jon Vandiver)
Hagel also urged allies to contribute to the U.S. air detachment mission in Poland.

CONGRESS

McConnell Rips Obama Foreign Policy, Would Send Arms to Ukrainian Army
(McClatchy: David Lightman)
The Senate Republican leader maintained that President Obama's foreign policy is deeply troubled.

ASIA/PACIFIC

House Members Headed to Asia for Talks on Trade, Security
(McClatchy: David Lightman)
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor announced the trip, noting that "the United States must also remain engaged in promoting peace and stability in Asia."

Japan PM Talks to U.S. Vice President Biden About Ukraine, Trade
(Reuters: Kaori Kaneko)
The U.S. official said the phone conversation touched on Obama's April 23-25 visit to Japan, talks on the U.S.-led Trans-Pacific Partnership multilateral trade deal, and Ukraine.

Marine's Comment on Islands Draws Sharp Chinese Response
(The Washington Times: Miles Yu)
Marine Corps Lt. Gen. John Wissler said that the Marines in the Pacific would quickly retake the Senkaku island group and return it to Japan if China were to invade it.

U.S. Envoy Power Urges Myanmar Action to Stop Rakhine Violence
(Reuters: Michelle Nichols)
U.N. officials have warned that the violence poses a serious threat to the country's dramatic economic and political reforms as it emerges from a half century of military rule.

MIDDLE EAST

U.N.: Iran Complying With Nuclear Agreement, but Planned Facility Delayed
(Reuters: Frederick Dahl)
The monthly update, which has a pivotal role in verifying that Iran is living up to its part of the accord, made clear that Iran so far is undertaking the agreed steps to curb its nuclear program.

Iranian Officials Warn Russia Not to Dismiss U.S. Sanctions Threat
(The Wall Street Journal: Jay Solomon)
Government technocrats and bankers in Tehran voiced astonishment over just how much damage the U.S-led sanctions campaign on Iran has had on their economy over the past three years.

Israeli, Palestinian Negotiators Seek to Rescue Troubled Talks
(Reuters)
Two Israeli sources speaking on condition of anonymity confirmed that officials from both sides were meeting in Jerusalem, declining to provide further detail.

AFGHANISTAN/PAKISTAN

Marines Pull Out of Afghanistan's Nimroz Province
(Marine Corps Times: Hope Hodge Seck)
The final departure of Marines came after Afghan forces proved their mettle in providing security for a peaceful national election.

U.S. Troops in Afghanistan Hosting 'Shadow' Marathon
(Associated Press)
The Fort Drum-based 10th Mountain Division will host what will be the last Boston Marathon "shadow run" to be held at Bagram air base in Afghanistan.

DEFENSE DEPARTMENT

DOD Reports Changes To $1.6 Trillion Stable Of Big-Ticket Weapons Programs
(Inside Defense)
The size of the Pentagon's major weapon system acquisition portfolio held steady over the last year at $1.6 trillion, with seven programs added and six programs removed because they are near the end of the procurement cycle.

NAVY

U.S. Navy's New Nuke Sub Is 20,000 Tons of Apocalypse
(War Is Boring: David Axe)
Next-gen ballistic-missile boats are the priciest and biggest ever for the U.S.

AIR FORCE

GAO to Air Force: Improve Morale for Drone Pilots
(Air Force Times: Brian Everstine)
The Air Force's drone pilots believe there is a negative perception attached to their jobs, report low morale, and receive insufficient training, according to a GAO report.

SPECIAL OPS

U.S. Special Forces Struggle With Record Suicides
(Reuters: Warren Strobel)
The number of special operations forces committing suicide has held at record highs for the past two years, said Admiral William McRaven, who leads the Special Operations Command.

CYBER

Report Urges Building Resilience to Future Cyber Shocks
(Inside Cybersecurity: Christopher Castelli)
Institutions worldwide must confront the high risk that stems from their dependence on information technology and build resilience to withstand future global shocks to the Internet

DETAINEES

 Guantanamo Trial Judge Orders CIA to Account for Treatment of Detainee
(The Guardian: Spencer Ackerman)
Judge James Pohl orders the agency to produce a detailed account of its detention of a USS Cole bombing suspect at the secret prison.

COMMENTARY/ANALYSIS 

U.S., E.U., Russia Strike a Balance on Ukraine
(The Washington Post)
If it is implemented, Ukraine could be diverted from a downward spiral that could have led to civil war.

The Vlad and Ed Show
(The Wall Street Journal)
Putin tells Snowden there is no mass spying in Russia. 'Thank God.'

Time for America to Rethink the Way We Nuke People
(War Is Boring: Robert Farley)
We can't afford three different methods. 

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