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CIA Pulls Back in Afghanistan, DoD Throws Away Millions, Will Congress Swap Programs for Personnel? CIA Pulls Back in Afghanistan, DoD Throws Away Millions, Will Congress...

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CIA Pulls Back in Afghanistan, DoD Throws Away Millions, Will Congress Swap Programs for Personnel?

By Jordain Carney ( @jordainc)

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


The Pentagon Literally Tossed Millions of Dollars Into the Trash
(War Is Boring: Matthew Gault)
Logistics agency would rather throw out faulty spare parts than go to the trouble of returning them.

CIA Falls Back in Afghanistan
(The Daily Beast: Kimberly Dozier)
The intelligence agency's irregular forces have been key to the fight against the Taliban since 2001. Now they're being withdrawn—just as a bloody fighting season heats up.

DoD Personnel Costs Could Force Program Cuts
(Defense News: John Bennett)
The House Armed Services Committee is rejecting personnel-reform plans. And that means lawmakers could end up raiding procurement accounts.


U-2 Spy Plane Triggered Air-Traffic Outage
(The Wall Street Journal: Andy Pasztor, Susan Carey)
Improper computer code for Pentagon's aircraft set off chain of events affecting 500 flights in and out of Los Angeles.


U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Calls for Probe Into Recent Violence
(The Wall Street Journal: Damian Paletta, Patrick O'connor)
Says no evidence directly links Russian government but 'somebody wanted' Odessa violence.

Breedlove: Russian 'Shadow Soldiers' May Snatch Eastern Ukraine
(Military Times: Jeff Schogol)
For weeks, Breedlove's top concern has been whether Russian President Vladimir Putin would send Russian troops into Eastern Ukraine.

John Kerry to Russia: End Backing of Ukraine Insurgents
(Associated Press: Lara Jakes)
The secretary of State spoke with Russian Minister Sergey after pro-Russian insurgents had released the seven European military observers and five Ukrainian assistants.


Ukraine Presses Pro-Russia Militants After Fighting Spreads to a Port City
(The New York Times: Alison Smale, Andrew Kramer)
Even as European military observers held as suspected NATO spies were released Saturday, Russia cited bloody street violence in Odessa as proof that Ukraine could no longer protect its citizens.

Ukraine Crisis: Fear of Wider Pain Tempers Sanctions
(The Wall Street Journal: Ian Talley)
Threat to global growth shows why West is moving gingerly against Russia's Putin.

Vision of Ukraine Unity Fades
(The Washington Post: Simon Denyer)
Peace-loving Ukrainians are being forced to take sides in an increasingly ugly fight.

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Will Putin's Gaze Reach Latvia?
(The Wall Street Journal: John Stoll, Charles Duxbury, Juris Kaža)
Still steeped in Russian culture, this Baltic neighbor finds itself sharply divided as its government nervously tries to maintain its borders and economy.

Hagel Urges NATO Members to Raise Defense Spending
(The Washington Post: Karen DeYoung)
The U.S. defense secretary says members will be "judged harshly" if they fail to meet Russia's challenge.

Hagel: NATO 'Will Be Judged' Based on Response to Russia
(The Hill: Kristina Wong)
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel called upon the alliance to accept a new mission: Stand up to a resurgent Russia.


Confronting Cuts, Hawks Say 'Not It'
(Politico: Austin Wright, Jeremy Herb, Philip Ewing)
The message of congressional defense advocates used to boil down to a simple question: "Where's mine?"

Boehner to Appoint Select Benghazi Committee
(Associated Press: Bradley Klapper)
For Boehner, appointing a select committee raises the profile of one of the Republicans' main points of attack against Obama.

Mission Improbable: Trey Gowdy Gets Into Benghazi
(Politico: John Bresnahan, Lauren French, Jake Sherman)
The Gowdy probe will last into the fall — keeping Benghazi in the news for the 2014 midterm elections.

Rep. Buck McKeon: Obama Foreign Policy Invites Conflict
(The Hill: Martin Matishak)
The House Armed Services Committee chairman pounced on comments the president made during his recent Asia trip.

Congressman Pressures Marine Commandant to Account for Whistle-Blower Fallout
(Marine Corps Times: Andrew deGrandpre)
An outspoken member of Congress says he is frustrated that the Marine Corps' top general has not yet addressed questions put to him nearly two months ago.

House Authorizers Support Accelerating ACV Program, Add $85 Million
(Inside Defense)
The House Armed Services Committee is supporting the Marine Corps' plans to accelerate the Amphibious Combat Vehicle Increment 1.1 program.

Senate Democrats Antsy Over W.H. Release of CIA Report
(Politico: Burgess Everett)
Wondering what happened to the controversial CIA interrogation report that the Senate Intelligence Committee voted to declassify a month ago? So are many Senate Democrats.


Arms Cache Most Likely Kept in Texas by the C.I.A.
(The New York Times: Charlie Savage)
An assortment of records compiled by a retired agency analyst points to a camp north of San Antonio as the site of "Midwest Depot."

Obama, Merkel Still Struggle Over Spying but Agree on Trade
(Reuters: Jeff Mason, Steve Holland)
Berlin has pushed in vain for a "no-spy" agreement with Washington.

In Surveillance Debate, White House Turns Its Focus to Silicon Valley
(The New York Times: David Sanger)
New restrictions on the National Security Agency may spill over to companies like Google and Facebook in the wake of a government report on technology and the crunching of big data.

U.S. Contractors Scale Up Search for Heartbleed-Like Flaws
(Bloomberg: Jordan Robertson, Michael Riley)
A new league of defense contractors is mining the foundation of the Internet for glitches that can be turned to the country's strategic advantage.


Djiboutian Visit Underscores U.S. Ties
(Politico: Philip Ewing)
How important has Africa become to America's counterterrorism strategy? Take a look at Obama's calendar.

U.S. Deployments to Africa Raise a Host of Issues
(Defense News: Paul McLeary)
On any given day, there are 5,000 to 8,000 US military personnel on the ground in Africa, participating in an increasing number of exercises with partners across the continent.

Can the U.S. Save South Sudan Now?
(The Washington Post: Anne Gearan, Sudarsan Raghavan)
After years of diplomacy and aid, the world's youngest nation is on the brink of civil war.

Kerry: More Congo Aid Depends on On-Time Elections
(The Washington Post: Anne Gearan)
Kerry, in Congo, conditions more U.S. aid on Kabila stepping down after his term expires.

U.S. Urges Congolese Leader Not to Run for Third Term
(The New York Times: Michael Gordon)
Amid speculation that President Joseph Kabila might have the Constitution amended so that he could run again, Secretary of State John Kerry asked him "to put the country on a continued path to democracy."

Kerry Pledges U.S. Help to Return Kidnapped Nigerian Girls
(The Washington Post: Anne Gearan)
Secretary of state calls mass abduction by militants last month "an unconscionable crime."


U.N. Chief Says Syrian Authorities Holding Up Aid Access
(Reuters: Alexander Dziadosz)
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he was no longer in direct communication with Assad after months of the Syrian president "not keeping his promises."

Syria's Assad Calls for Aid Cooperation Without Hurting "Sovereignty"
(Reuters: Alexander Dziadosz)
Assad said aid work was a top priority for the government and urged agencies to increase cooperation.

Syria Cannot Delay Removing Chemical Weapons: U.S.
(Reuters: Phil Stewart)
Kerry put the onus on the Syrian government to prepare the weapons for removal.

FBI Director: More Americans Traveling to Fight in Syria
(The Washington Post: Sari Horwitz, Adam Goldman)
There is concern that the fighters could return to carry out terrorist attacks in the United States.

War Nostalgia Is Leading Veterans to Places Like Syria. One Went Missing There.
(The Daily Beast: Elliot Ackerman)
A Marine combat veteran, Austin Tice was in law school when he went to Syria and disappeared.


Iran Has Briefed U.N. Nuclear Agency on Detonators
(Reuters: Mehrdad Balali in Dubai, Fredrik Dahl)
It was one of seven measures Iran agreed three months ago to implement by May 15.

Yemen Kills Dozens Of Suspected al-Qaida Fighters In Latest Assault
(Associated Press: Ahmed Al-Haj)
The government's U.S.-backed campaign in Shabwa province against al-Qaida militants is part of a rolling campaign against the group's hideouts in Yemen.


Inside China: General Hits U.S. in Africa
(Washington Times: Miles Yu)
A top Chinese defense official has accused Washington of being the mastermind behind a conspiracy to deprive Africa of peace and prosperity.

Pacific Pathways: Army Prepares New Tack for Deploying Forces in Pacific
(Stars and Stripes: Olson Wyatt)
U.S. Army Pacific is planning to bolster the land-based force's relevance in the region.

Now It's North Korea's Turn to List U.S. Human Rights Abuses
(The Daily Beast: Nina Strochlic)
On some points, Kim Jong-un's state-owned media is unnervingly accurate about America's problems.


Unofficial Retention Survey Seeks Sailors' Unguarded Opinions
(Navy Times: David Larter)
A fighter pilot who recently argued that the Navy's officer corps is facing an exodus is taking his case one giant step further.

Fire Scout Aircraft on Navy's Cutting Block
(McClatchy: Greg Gordon)
The Navy's five-year plan zeroes out its funding after purchasing the first 40 of them, heightening prospects that it might be among defense systems most endangered in a wave of budget cuts.


V-22s, Other Marine Aircraft Need Battle Networks
(Breaking Defense: Sydney Freedberg Jr.)
A recent experiment put working WiFi in the back of a V-22, but that's just the first step towards what's possible.


ICBM Boss Taking Pulse at Malmstrom Amid Drug, Cheating Scandal
(The Great Falls Tribune: Jenn Rowell)
Less than four months after drug and cheating investigations were announced at Malmstrom Air Force Base, a number of changes have already been implemented.


Lockheed Sees Ukraine Crisis Boosting Missile System Sales
(Reuters: Edward Taylor)
The company is on the lookout for acquisition deals and expects the crisis in Ukraine to boost sales of its missile defense system MEADS.


DHS Cybersecurity Dashboard for U.S. Government to Go Live in January
(Politico: David Perera)
The dashboard will enable DHS officials to make at-a-glance assessments of the cybersecurity posture of federal agencies.


VA Treatment Records Falsified, Probe Finds
(USA Today: Gregg Zoroya)
Clerks at the VA's clinic in Fort Collins were instructed how to falsify appointment records so it appeared the small staff of doctors was seeing patients within the agency's goal of 14 days.

Bush Holds Ride for Wounded Veterans at His Ranch
(Associated Press)
Sixteen current and retired members of the military wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan are participating in the ride.


Guantánamo Prosecutor Fights Handing Secrets Over to Defense
(The New York Times: Charlie Savage)
A judge had ordered the government to turn over classified details to defense lawyers regarding the C.I.A.'s treatment of a Saudi detainee accused of planning the 2000 bombing of the destroyer Cole.


Canada, U.S. Eye Arctic Responsibilities for NORAD
(Defense News: David Pugliese)
A strategic review with various recommendations from NORAD on how to proceed is expected to be presented in the coming months to top U.S. and Canadian officials.


Ukraine Needs U.S. Military Aid
(The Wall Street Journal)
Obama offers Spam while Putin sends in special forces.

What Obama Should Tell Americans About Ukraine
(Politico: Zbigniew Brzezinski)
The crisis is getting worse. It's time for the president to rally the nation.

D.C.'Insiders' Are Wrong,NATO Could Beat Russia
(Defense One: Michael Cohen)
Today, the Russian military is a hollow shell of its former self.

President Obama and the World
(The New York Times)
While the president has made mistakes, and can be frustratingly cautious, he has done a better job than his detractors allow.

Let Mr. Erdogan Fight His Own Battles
(The New York Times)
A threat to request the extradition of a Turkish preacher living in Pennsylvania is a crass attempt to exploit the law.

The Verge of Catastrophe'
(The Washington Post)
Action is urgently needed in South Sudan, where ethnic tensions are reaching a 'boiling point.'

Is the NSA Hiding Another Heartbleed?
(The Daily Beast: Joshua Kopstein)
The news of the Heartbleed security hole—and the NSA's rumored exploitation of the bug—rocked the world last month. What's next?

China: Engagement Vs. Estrangement
(War on the Rocks: Commander Elton Parker III)
Ultimately, the bottom line is this: I see more good from pursuing a strategy of engagement than one of estrangement.

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Don't Miss Today's Top Stories

Keeps me informed about national leadership concerns."

Senior Military Officer

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Dave, HR specialist

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

AJ, US Army Officer

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