By Jordain Carney ( @jordainc)
Welcome to NJ's Early Bird, today's best national security, defense, and foreign policy coverage. To contact us, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Biden Heads to Kiev to Meet Ukraine Leaders
(USA Today: Aamer Madhani)
Biden is set to meet with Ukraine's interim prime minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, parliament Speaker and acting President Oleksandr Turchynov and other key legislators.
Deadly Gun Attack in Eastern Ukraine Shakes Fragile Geneva Accord
(Reuters: Aleksandar Vasovic, Alissa de Carbonnel)
The incident triggered a war of words between Moscow and Ukraine's western-backed government with each questioning the other's compliance with the agreement.
U.S. Ground Troops Going to Poland
(The Washington Post: Fred Hiatt)
Poland and the United States will announce next week the deployment of U.S. ground forces to Poland as part of an expansion of NATO presence in Central and Eastern Europe in response to events in Ukraine.
Iran Says It Would Redesign Heavy-Water Reactor as Concession to West
Move can greatly limit amount of plutonium country can produce at Arak facility.
U.S. Promotes Network to Foil Digital Spying
(The New York Times: Carlotta Gall, James Glanz)
The State Department and other agencies are spending millions to finance local systems, known as mesh networks, around the world as more secure alternatives to the Internet.
Photos Link Masked Men in East Ukraine to Russia
(The New York Times: Andrew Higgins, Michael Gordon, Andrew Kramer)
Photos and descriptions suggest many of the mysteriously well-armed gunmen in Ukraine are Russian military and intelligence forces.
U.S.-Russia Relations Come Full Circle After Ukraine
(The Wall Street Journal: William Mauldin, Carol Lee, Jay Solomon)
Despite 'reset,' Ukraine crisis shows U.S.-Russia tensions far from extinguished.
In Cold War Echo, Obama Strategy Writes Off Putin
(The New York Times: Peter Baker)
Obama is focused on isolating Russia by cutting off its economic and political, limiting its expansionist, and effectively making it a pariah state.
What Is Putin's 'New Russia'?
(The New York Times: David Herszenhorn)
In a Q. and A. session, President Vladimir V. Putin referred repeatedly to southeastern Ukraine as "Novorossiya," a historical term meaning "New Russia."
Ukraine Foreign Minister Speaks of Mistrust—and a Truce
(The Daily Beast: Jamie Dettmer)
In an exclusive interview, Ukraine's foreign minister says that over Easter his government has called a halt to confrontations with Russian-backed separatists.
Pro-Russian Forces Work on Consolidating Power
(The New York Times: Andrew Kramer)
In areas of eastern Ukraine under militant control, pro-Russian forces are stifling the news media and political dissenters.
U.S. Plans Military Drills in Eastern Europe
(The New York Times: Michael Gordon)
The moves in Poland and Estonia are part of a broader effort to strengthen NATO's air, sea and land presence in the region.
Army, National Guard Ready to Leverage, Expand Eastern European Alliances
(Army Times: Michelle Tan)
Commander: Despite drawdown, Army committed to allies as Ukraine crisis unfolds.
Navy's European Missile Sites Move Forward
(Navy Times: David Larter)
Vice Adm. James Syring said it was possible to speed up the deployment of the second Aegis Ashore installation, planned for Poland in 2018.
Lawmakers Want More U.S. Pressure on Ukraine Crisis
(The Wall Street Journal: Dion Nissenbaum)
Sen. Bob Corker, the top Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee, said the U.S. should pursue tougher sanctions on Russia and provide more support for Ukraine's mismatched security forces.
Citing Ukraine Crisis, GOP Looks to Cut Open World Leadership Center
(Roll Call: Hannah Hess)
House Republicans want to slash funding for the Open World Leadership Center.
As Tension With Russia Flares, U.S. Senators Meet With Marines in Baltics
(Air Force Times: Gina Harkins)
The senators' visit highlights the growing unease within the U.S. government about Russia's annex of Crimea and foray into east Ukraine.
BRAC Battles Are Nothing New
(Politico: Jeremy Herb)
The political fights over closing military bases is nothing new.
Snowden's Camp: Staged Putin Q&A Was a Screw-Up
(The Daily Beast: Noah Shachtman)
Even the NSA leaker's closest advisers now say his appearance on a Kremlin call-in show, which touched off yet another international firestorm, was a mistake.
Snowden Defends Query to Putin on Surveillance
(The New York Times: John Harney)
Edward Snowden insisted that he had been trying to hold Russia's government to account over its surveillance practices, as he did with the Obama administration.
Snowden Reporter Promises More NSA Revelations Are Coming
(The Hill: Erik Wasson)
One of the reporters honored with a Pulitzer Prize last week for his reports on National Security Agency surveillance promised further revelations.
Justices Expect to Hear Case on NSA Spying
(The Hill: Rebecca Shabad)
Two Supreme Court justices suggested that the high court will likely decide the constitutionality of the National Security Agency's surveillance programs.
The Psychologist Behind the CIA's Torture Program Desperately Wants to Speak Out
(The Wire: Connor Simpson)
The psychologist who wrote the CIA's post-9/11 torture program wants to tell his story to the world.
DoD Reshapes R&D, Betting on Future Technology
(Defense News: Zachary Fryer-Biggs)
Overall, DoD wants to keep spending on RDT&E relatively close to the $63 billion the department will spend in 2014.
War's End Threatens Rapid Acquisition
(Politico: Kate Brannen)
The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan upended the Pentagon's labyrinthine acquisition system, opening the door to urgent purchases made outside the traditional process.
Pentagon Agrees to Review Burial of 22 Unknown WWII Sailors
(The Hill: Kristina Wong)
The Pentagon has agreed to conduct a review of the accounting for the bodies of 22 unknown men who died on the USS Oklahoma battleship.
Iran, World Powers to Start Work on Nuclear Drafts Next Month
(Reuters: Michelle Moghtader, Mehrdad Balali)
During the May 5-9 meeting, the P5+1 world powers and Iran will start "writing draft of comprehensive agreements which will be a complex and difficult work."
Ghana Company Says U.S. Plane Seen in Tehran Broke No Laws
(Reuters: Kwasi Kpodo)
Its presence caused a stir as the United States and Iran have been at loggerheads for decades and the Islamic Republic is subject to economic sanctions.
Ex-Marine Held in Iran Asks Official for Help
(The New York Times: Rick Gladstone)
Amir Hekmati, an American incarcerated in Iran since August 2011, recently wrote to its foreign minister seeking help in gaining his release.
Paper Shows U.S.-Flagged Plane in Iran Has Ties to Ghana
(The New York Times: Jessica Silver-Greenberg)
The ownership ties between a Utah bank and a Ghanaian company raise questions about the role of sanctions.
In 1980s Battle With America, Iran Held Back Its Deadliest Missiles
(War Is Boring: Jassem Al Salami)
Tehran feared massive reprisal.
Eighty Percent of Syrian Chemical Weapons Shipped Out
(Reuters: Oliver Holmes)
If the momentum was sustained, Syria should be able to meet its April 27 deadline to hand over all declared chemical agents.
Saudi Spy Chief Removal May Not Change U.S. Ties -- or End His Career
(Los Angeles Times: Sherif Tarek)
Prince Bandar bin Sultan's replacement as Saudi Arabia's intelligence chief has fueled speculation about a shift in the monarchy's shaky relations with the United States.
With Pakistani Taliban Split, Peace Deal Is Uncertain
(The New York Times: Declan Walsh)
Infighting between leaders appears to be impeding talks with the government, and recent attacks raise the possibility that the very idea of making peace has divided the Taliban.
Abdullah Extends His Lead Over Rival for Afghan Presidency
(The Washington Post: Sayed Salahuddin)
The former foreign minister has 44 percent of the votes with 40 percent of the ballots counted.
President Barack Obama Aims to Use Trip to Revive 'Pivot to Asia'
(Financial Times: Geoff Dyer)
Obama will use a trip to Asia this week to expand military arrangements with two U.S. allies.
Top Admiral Says China Likely to Keep Stealing Military Secrets
(Foreign Policy: Dan Lamothe)
Chinese hackers are so good at stealing U.S. military secrets that they're likely to ignore official American protests and continue breaking into classified networks.
Reports: Japan Steps Up Surveillance Posture Against China
The nation's armed forces, called the Self-Defence Forces, launched a squadron of four E-2C early warning planes at its air base in Naha on the main Okinawan island.
Dozens Denied Navy Base Access Due to Past Crime
(Associated Press: Brock Vergakis)
Dozens of transportation workers have been denied access to Navy bases on the East Coast because of their criminal histories.
Navy Looks at Sleep Research to Address Fatigue on Submarines
Study shows that sailors, who typically work every 18 hours, aren't as tired on a more natural schedule.
Fox Hits Capitol Hill To Sell Army National Guard Reductions, Aviation Restructure Plans
High-ranking Pentagon officials have been visiting Capitol Hill to make the case for shrinking the Army and to support the service's controversial aviation restructure initiative.
Nuke Commander: Lessons Learned From Cheat Scandal
(Wyoming Tribune Eagle: Trevor Brown)
The ICBM force has come under fire in recent months after it was discovered that 96 missileers at Malmstrom cheated on their monthly proficiency exams.
Pilot Sidelined after Criticizing F-22 System
(The Virginian-Pilot: Bill Bartel)
Almost two years ago, Wilson and Maj. Jeremy Gordon told CBS's "60 Minutes" that the F-22 had a defective oxygen system that was endangering pilots.
DCMA Nominee Seeks Improved Communication
(Politico: Leigh Munsil)
The Air Force is taking a new approach to improving its acquisition by putting program teams that work with specific contractors in the same room.
MDA Delays Plans To Seek $3 Billion Multiyear Missile Deal With Raytheon
The Missile Defense Agency is delaying by one year its plans to seek congressional permission for a $3 billion multiyear purchase of Raytheon's newest guided missile.
Ship Study Should Favor Existing Designs
(Defense News: Christopher Cavas)
Lockheed Martin, Austal USA and Huntington Ingalls have worked to develop more heavily armed versions of ships already in production for domestic customers.
Camaraderie of Military Life Leaves Veterans With a Void
(The Washington Post: Eli Saslow)
The transition to civilian life becomes defined by isolation for many.
Obama Vows to Continue Focus on Veterans Issues
(Air Force Times: Leo Shane III)
Obama met privately with American Legion National Commander Daniel Dellinger to discuss the organization's concerns and challenges.
Guantánamo Bay Detainees' Release Upon End of Afghanistan War 'Unlikely'
(The Guardian: Spencer Ackerman)
U.S. officials indicate fate of inmates captured during the country's longest conflict will continue to complicate Obama administration's efforts to close wartime detention complex.
Covert Inquiry by F.B.I. Rattles 9/11 Tribunals
(The New York Times: Matt Apuzzo)
The F.B.I.'s inquiry became the focus of the pretrial hearings at Guantánamo this week, after the contractor who was visited by the F.B.I. disclosed it to the defense team.
SOCOM Lists Iron Man Suit Collaborators
(Military.com: Mike Hoffman)
The U.S. military listed off the companies its working with thus far to develop a tactical suit for special operators.
How the U.S. Is Vulnerable to Terrorism in Space
(National Journal: Laura Ryan)
The possibility of a dangerous space incident is on the rise, says a new report
Terror Watch Lists Run Amok
(The New York Times)
The Justice Department removed a Malaysian professor from the overbroad no-fly list after eight years of confounding litigation.
Every Airman Has Role in Preventing Sex Assaults
(Military Times: Gen. Larry Spencer)
Start by taking responsibility for your workplace, and do not tolerate inappropriate or degrading remarks or the display of sexually explicit or suggestive materials.
What Putin Wants, and How He Plans to Get It
(Los Angeles Times: Doyle McManus)
The Russian president is a product of the 20th century KGB. He knows that subversion is much cheaper than invasion.
How America Lost Vladimir Putin
(The Atlantic: David Rohde, Arshad Mohammed)
A rupture between Russia and the West, 14 years in the making.
Chemical Reprise in Syria
(The Wall Street Journal)
Credible reports of new attacks, despite the promises by Assad.
Obama Is on the Right Course With the Pivot to Asia
(The Washington Post: Tom Donilon)
The United States can help ensure that the 21st century in Asia will be defined not by conflict but by security and prosperity.
Divided in the Wake of Fort Hood
(The Daily Beast: Thomas Gibbons-Neff)
After Fort Hood many veterans saw a tragic but isolated incident, while a narrative about PTSD fueled violence spread in the media.
Want your defense news even faster? Follow the Early Bird on Twitter: @NJEarlyBird. And tell your networks to sign up directly here.