Skip Navigation

Close and don't show again.

Your browser is out of date.

You may not get the full experience here on National Journal.

Please upgrade your browser to any of the following supported browsers:

Expect Big Changes In DoD Budget Priorities, Ukraine Leader to U.S., Sex Assault Reform Bill On Tap Expect Big Changes In DoD Budget Priorities, Ukraine Leader to U.S., S...

This ad will end in seconds
Close X

Want access to this content? Learn More »

Forget Your Password?

Don't have an account? Register »

Reveal Navigation


Expect Big Changes In DoD Budget Priorities, Ukraine Leader to U.S., Sex Assault Reform Bill On Tap

By Sara Sorcher ( @SaraSorcherNJ) and Jordain Carney ( @jordainc)

Welcome to NJ's Early Bird, a morning assembly of the best national security, defense, and foreign policy coverage from around the Web.


Want your defense news even faster? The Early Bird joined Twitter. Follow @NJEarlyBird.

Tell your networks to sign up directly here. To contact us, email

DoD Budget: Expect Big Changes In Five-Year Spending Priorities
(Defense News: Marcus Weisgerber)
Christine Fox, the acting deputy defense secretary, warned last month that the Pentagon's 2015 budget proposal was complicated. It was an understatement.


Ukraine Leader Coming to U.S. to Discuss Russia Crisis
(USA Today: John Bacon)
Ukraine Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk will travel to Washington this week to discuss the crisis with Russia over Crimea.

Sen. Claire McCaskill's Military Sexual-Assault Bill Is Meatier Than Advertised
(The Washington Post: Melinda Henneberger)
McCaskill's bill to overhaul the way sexual-assault cases are handled in the military has routinely been described as more modest, conservative, watered-down and incremental than her Senate colleague Kirsten Gillibrand's measure.

U.S. Network to Scan Workers With Secret Clearances
(Associated Press: Stephen Braun)
U.S. intelligence officials are planning a sweeping system of electronic monitoring that would tap into government, financial and other databases to scan the behavior of many of the 5 million federal employees with secret clearances.


Pentagon: No Formal Proposal for Retirement Overhaul Until 2015
(Military Times: Andrew Tilghman)
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel wants to wait until next year before asking Congress to make fundamental changes to the current military retirement system.


DoD Proposes Revolutionary Changes in Retirement Benefits
(Military Times: Andrew Tilghman)
Plan would shrink pension payments later, but give more cash up front.

Defense Department to Absorb the Full Brunt of IT Cuts in FY15 Budget
(Defense News: Nicole Blake Johnson)
Information technology spending would drop slightly under the president's fiscal 2015 budget from $81.4 billion to $79.0 billion

Gates: Defense Cuts a 'Serious Mistake'
(Politico: Kevin Robillard)
Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates continues to speak out against cuts in defense spending.

Don't Miss Today's Top Stories

Keeps me informed about national leadership concerns."

Senior Military Officer

The best!"

Mark, Compensation Analyst

Timely and informative."

Dave, HR specialist

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

AJ, US Army Officer

Sign up form for the newsletter

Troops in Key Posts May Be Rechecked for Sex Offenses
(USA Today: Tom Vanden Brook)
Hagel has discussed with Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy leaders an Army review that disqualified 588 soldiers from posts as sexual assault counselors and whether those services should follow the Army's lead.

Seeking an Answer on Bandwidth
(Defense News: Aaron Mehta)
Satcom firms and the Defense Department closer to agreement.


In the World of Intelligence Oversight, Sen. Feinstein Gets Bouquets and Brickbats
(McClatchy: Michael Doyle)
The oversight position makes Feinstein highly visible to defense and intelligence contractor firms.

DoD's $26B Budget Hail Mary 'Not Going To Happen:' Rep. McKeon
(Breaking Defense: Sydney Freedberg Jr.)
McKeon said administration's budget gimmicks mask the severity of the problem and make it harder to mobilize the American people to solve it.

House Republicans Balk at Wording in Obama Emergency Aid Package for Ukraine
(The New York Times: Jonathan Weisman)
The administration's proposal would extend a billion-dollar package of loans from the International Monetary Fund to $1.6 billion by expanding loan limits for countries like Ukraine.

Rep. Mike Rogers: We Shouldn't Underestimate What Putin Will Do
(ABC News: Molly Nagle, Benjamin Bell)
Rogers noted that Putin is "scoring huge points" back home with his forceful foreign policy, using it to assert himself internationally.


Kerry Warns Russia Against Annexation of Crimea
(The New York Times: Michael Gordon)
The secretary of State said that any steps by Russia to annex Crimea would bring diplomatic efforts to resolve the crisis in Ukraine to a halt.

Obama Calls Foreign Leaders to Discuss Ukraine Tensions
(The Hill: Keith Laing)
President Obama called a host of world leaders to discuss military tensions in Ukraine, White House officials said Saturday.

Obama, Putin Find Little Common Ground in Tele-Diplomacy
(The Washington Post: Karen DeYoung)
Neither has budged this month after two-plus hours on the phone talking Ukraine.

In Response to U.S. Sanctions Over Ukraine, Russia May Freeze Weapons Inspections
(The Washington Post: Kathy Lally, Carol Morello)
Russia broadened its war of words with the United States over Ukraine when the Ministry of Defense said it would consider stopping international inspections of its nuclear weapons.

White House Pushes Back on Ukraine Criticism
(USA Today: Aamer Madhani)
A top White House official on Sunday dismissed criticism that President Obama's past foreign policy record influenced Russia's military action in Crimea.

Hagel Vows Support to Ukraine's Defense Minister
( Richard Sisk)
Hagel phoned his Ukrainian counterpart, new Defense Minister Ihor Tenyuh, to show support for Ukrainian sovereignty.

Dempsey Reassures NATO Allies on Ukraine
(Defense One: Ben Watson)
Dempsey said he's been talking to his military counterparts in Russia, but he's also sending a clear message to Ukraine and members of NATO that the U.S. military will respond militarily if necessary.

Putin Doesn't See America as Weak, Former U.S. Ambassador to Moscow Says
(McClatchy: Hannah Allam)
On the contrary, he has a theory about American power that is quite paranoid," Michael McFaul said.

Merkel Raps Putin as Russian Forces Tighten Grip on Crimea
(Reuters: Andrew Osborn)
Germany's Angela Merkel delivered a rebuke to President Vladimir Putin on Sunday.

Ukraine Has No Plans to Send Armed Forces to Crimea
Acting Defence Minister Ihor Tenyukh said there were no plans to send the armed forces to Crimea.

Suspicion Falls on Russia as 'Snake' Cyberattacks Target Ukraine's Government
(The New York Times: David Sanger, Steven Erlanger)
No one can quite pinpoint who is behind a series of cyberattacks that began long before President Yanukovych was forced from office, though some suspicion is falling on Russia.

Pentagon Spends $300,000 Per Year to Study Body Language of Putin, World Leaders
(National Journal: Jordain Carney)
The program has never informed a DOD policy decision, a spokesman said.


Senate Intelligence Panel Staffers Took Secret CIA Papers Years Before Agency Discovered Them Missing
(McClatchy: Jonathan Landay, Ali Watkins, Marisa Taylor)
Democratic staffers of the Senate Intelligence Committee obtained classified documents at the center of a bitter struggle with the CIA some three years before the agency determined that the materials had been spirited out of a secret facility and demanded their return.

Behind Clash Between C.I.A. and Congress, a Secret Report on Interrogations
(The New York Times: Mark Mazzetti)
A dispute over a classified C.I.A. report has led to a bitter fight between the agency and the Senate Intelligence Committee, with each side accusing the other of spying on it.

What's Inside CIA's 'Black Site' Database? And Were Senate Staffers Allowed to See?
(The Daily Beast: Eli Lake)
The CIA and the Senators overseeing the agency are nearly at war. And it all revolves around the contents of a secret database documenting the CIA's clandestine prisons

Court Blocks Government's Request to Keep NSA Phone Records Longer Than Five Years
(The Verge: Adi Robertson)
Judge Reggie Walton said that privacy protection laws overrode the government's argument that it needed to retain evidence for EFF and ACLU lawsuits.

Snowden Says He Reported N.S.A. Surveillance Concerns Before Leaks
(The New York Times: Charlie Savage)
Edward Snowden said that he initially told officials of his concerns about the National Security Agency's surveillance operations, but that none "took any action."


Post-9/11 Vet Unemployment Rate Jumps to 9.2 Percent
(Military Times: George Altman)
Meanwhile, the nation's unemployment rate held steady around 6.7 percent and the economy added 175,000 jobs.

Researchers Link Iraq Dust With Some Vets' Lung Problems
(Air Force Times: Patricia Kime)
Researchers found that exposing mice to dust collected from Camp Victory in 2007 produced inflammation and changes to respiratory airways similar to those found in Iraq veterans diagnosed with constrictive bronchiolitis.


Navy Plans to Retire All Frigates by End of 2015
(Navy Times: Christopher Cavas)
The steady decline of the fleet's frigate force is being stepped up, and it's looking like the last ship, previously scheduled to inactivate in 2020, will leave service by the end of 2015.

U.S. Navy Budget Plan: Major Questions Abound
(Defense News: Christopher Cavas)
At the top of the questions facing the Navy is the future of the aircraft carrier George Washington.

Navy Cancels 18 Planned MQ-8s, Will Focus on C Variant
(Politico: Leigh Munsil)
The service will still purchase two more Fire Scout autonomous helicopters in 2014.

Navy Starts Study to Re-Examine LCS Mission
( Kris Osborn)
The Navy is in the early phases of a new study designed to explore alternative proposals for the Littoral Combat Ship formally requested last week by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel

CNO Predicts Steady Manning Levels, Outlines Plans to Shelve Some Ships
(Navy Times: Sam Fellman)
The Navy's top officer believes the force, at 323,500 sailors, is the right size and sees his task as rebalancing the force to fill the thousands of open billets across the fleet.

Navy To Create an Overall Type Command for Information Dominance Forces
(Seapower Magazine: Richard Burgess)
The Navy plans to upgrade its Navy Cyber Forces Command to a type command for its Information Domination Corps.

Navy to Survey Women on Interest in Submarine Duty
(Associated Press)
The survey is part of a review that could lead to enlisted women joining the undersea force by 2016.


Fox: Army Must Remain Ready To Shrink If Sequestration Stands
(Inside Defense)
A top Pentagon official told the service that it should be prepared to shrink to $420,000 if Congress does not take steps to undo the automatic budget cuts triggered by sequestration next year.

How Big Will the U.S. Army Be in 2019? Not Even the Army Knows
(Defense News: Paul McLeary)
There is no money budgeted to pay for that larger projected force, even if Congress somehow avoids sequestration in 2016 and beyond.

Emails Show Shared Concern of False Testimony in Army Sexual Assault Case
(The New York Times: Richard Oppel Jr.)
Emails released by military prosecutors indicated that other officers discussed whether the chief accuser of Brig. Gen. Jeffrey A. Sinclair might have testified untruthfully.

Accuser Takes Stand in General's Sex Assault Case
(Associated Press)
The trial is unfolding with the Pentagon under heavy pressure to confront rape and other sexual misconduct in the ranks that even the military has called epidemic.

Fort Hood Soldier Charged in Prostitution Case
(Associated Press)
A Fort Hood sergeant who was a coordinator of the post's sexual assault and harassment prevention program faces multiple charges after he was accused of setting up a prostitution ring involving cash-strapped female soldiers.


Air Force Left With Little Budget Flexibility
(Air Force Times: Aaron Mehta)
The service has left itself in a precarious position as it heads into Congress to defend its decisions.

USAF Hopes For Full FY-15 Funding While Readying Constrained Budget
(Inside Defense)
The Air Force has designed an FY-15 budget request that can be scaled down in some ways to account for future spending cuts

First GPS III Launch Delayed One Year To 2016
(Inside Defense)
The launch of the Air Force's first next-generation Global Positioning System satellite won't occur until 2016 due to a delay in the delivery of space vehicle's the navigation payload.


Japan, U.S. Differ on China in Talks on 'Grey Zone' Military Threats
(Reuters: Nobuhiro Kubo, Linda Sieg, Phil Stewart)
Military officials meet this week in Hawaii to review bilateral defense guidelines for the first time in 17 years.

Philippines 'Won't Rush Defense Accord' For Obama Visit
(Agence France-Presse)
President Benigno Aquino's spokesman said there was no timetable to complete the agreement which would allow more U.S. troops and equipment access to the Philippines.

China's Claims of Defense Spending Boost in Doubt
(Defense News: Wendell Minnick)
Despite the increases, actual spending was less that what China had earlier announced it would spend.

DoD Issues New Threat Report on North Korea
(Military Times: Tony Lombardo)
From attacks on the Republic of Korea to the pursuit for nuclear weapons, there is reason to pay attention.

Pacific Needs Better Allied, U.S. Air-Missile Integration: PACAF Gen. Carlisle
(Breaking Defense: Robbin Laird)
The U.S. is shaping a deterrence in depth strategy in the Pacific to ensure that the U.S. national command authority has options to deal with threats in the region.


Iranian Foreign Minister Questions Western Commitment to Nuclear Deal
(The Wall Street Journal: Laurence Norman)
Javad Zarif says target date still reachable.

No Guarantee' of Final Nuclear Deal With Iran, European Union Official Says
(The New York Times: Thomas Erdbrink)
The European Union's foreign policy chief said that reaching a final comprehensive deal would be "difficult" and "challenging."


A Mission Into Enemy's Heartland — to Get Out The Vote
(The Washington Post: Kevin Sieff)
U.S. and Afghan soldiers came to Nabahar to make voters of men they suspect of abetting the Taliban.

Transit Center Ferries Troops To, From Afghanistan
(Military Times: Kristin Davis)
The new hub, though not a replacement for Manas, would be vital in getting troops in and out of the region safely and quickly.

Afghan Vice President's Death Shakes Up Political Field
(The Wall Street Journal: Yaroslav Trofimov, Ehsanullah Amiri)
Death of key power broker comes less than a month before elections


F-35 Engine Part to be Redesigned
(Defense News: Aaron Mehta)
Part of Pratt & Whitney's F135 engine, which powers the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, was damaged during a ground test in December and will need a redesign.

Lockheed Martin IS&GS Works to Merge C2 and ISR Pictures
(Seapower Magazine: Richard Burgess)
The company is spending internal research and development funds to design a system to blend essential operational and tactical information into a single display for commanders.

Taiwan Faces Tough Choices After U.S. Cancels F-16 Upgrade
(Defense News: Wendell Minnick, Aaron Mehta)
The Air Force's decision not to fund the Combat Avionics Programmed Extension Suite program comes as a blow to Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman.


2016 Republican Prospects Spar Over Ukraine
(The New York Times: Emmarie Huetteman)
Three Republicans said to be considering presidential runs tried to distinguish themselves on Russia's invasion of the Crimean Peninsula in television appearances.


Pentagon Tries Again on Cyber Intelligence-Sharing Contract
(NextGov: Aliya Sternstein)
The Defense Department will recompete a $26 million contract to support a classified cyber intelligence network, after federal attorneys determined the Pentagon failed to properly evaluate contractor proposals


White House says Turkey's Erdogan Misrepresenting His Phone Call With Obama
(McClatchy: Roy Gutman)
White House official said Erdogan's version of the Feb. 19 conversation, which he's now repeated twice, is "not accurate."

Netanyahu Says Any Peace Deal With Palestinians at Least a Year Away
(Reuters: Ori Lewis)
Israeli Prime Benjamin Netanyahu said any peace deal with the Palestinians would take at least another year to negotiate should both sides accept U.S.-proposed principles to keep talks going.


U.S. Military Presence in Africa Growing in Small Ways
(Los Angeles Times: David Cloud)
Small teams are deployed quietly. The limits stem from President Obama's effort to end a war footing and from African opposition to a U.S. troop presence.


Spain Approves Increase in U.S. Rapid Reaction Force
(Associated Press)
The American presence at Moron base will increase to 850 marines from 500 approved in April, while the number of transport and support aircraft will double to 16.


Polar Pivot? Probably Not: Experts Say Chill Out About the Arctic
(Marine Corps Times: Gina Harkins)
About 440 North Carolina-based Marines will move prepositioned equipment out of caves in Norway to take part in Exercise Cold Response 2014.


Biden Says Venezuela 'Concocting' Bogus Stories
(Associated Press: Frank Bajak)
Vice President Joe Biden calls Venezuela's situation alarming in remarks published Sunday, suggesting its government is using "armed vigilantes" against peaceful protesters


A Budget Without Clarity
(Defense News)
The Obama administration's 2015 budget request submitted last week is among the most complex in memory, appearing to confuse Pentagon officials, lawmakers, analysts and reporters alike.

A Defense Budget Based on Hope
(The Washington Post)
What happens if the sequester returns after next year? Hagel and the service chiefs don't appear to have a plan, other than to warn of dire consequences.

Ukraine Crisis as a Poker Game
(USA Today)
If the Ukraine crisis were a poker game – and to a large degree it is – you wouldn't want to be dealt the American hand.

Winning Without Shooting
(Defense News)
Great power politics may seem a thing of the past in this era of globalism; interdependent economics; and measured, cooperative action.

American Gas for Europe
(The Wall Street Journal)
More pleas for Obama to reduce Western dependence on Putin.

China's Disturbing Defense Budget
(The New York Times)
The hefty increases raise legitimate concerns about the country's intentions that Beijing should seek to dispel.

Defunding Defense
(The Washington Post: Robert Samuelson)
The administration's new 2015 budget projections show how sharply the Pentagon shrinks.

Will America Heed the Wake-Up Call of Ukraine?
(The Washington Post: Condoleezza Rice)
The events in Ukraine should be a wake-up call to those on both sides of the aisle who believe that the United States should eschew the responsibilities of leadership.

Why Do We Care About Ukraine?
(The Hill: Bogusław Winid)
Once again, Europe and America must act together to defend our values and the principles on which our democracies are based.

Obama's Not Carter -- He's Eisenhower
(Foreign Policy: James Traub)
And he's prepared to let Putin win the battle, knowing that the West will win the war

How to Justify Russian Aggression
(The Daily Beast: Michael Moynihan)
Sure, Viktor Yanukovych might have murdered protesters and Vladimir Putin might have invaded a sovereign country. But what about Hiroshima? And the genocide of Native Americans?

Is U.S. Losing New Cold War?
(The Hill: Jeremy Herb, Kristina Wong)
If there is a new cold war with Russia, many observers believe the U.S. is losing it.

Help Is Not on the Way
(Foreign Policy: Keith Johnson)
Sorry, Congress, America can't save Ukraine by selling it natural gas.

Invaders and the Lies They Tell From Nazi Germany to Russia and the U.S.
(The Daily Beast: Malcolm Jones)
Russia's sketchy justifications for moving on Crimea call to mind a century's worth of false or flimsy excuses great powers have used to justify invasions.

Why the Cold War Isn't Back
(Politico: Todd Purdum)
But grim as the headlines from Ukraine are, the feeling in the capital is nothing like the cold fear that gripped Washington when children were taught to "duck and cover."

The Cyberspies Who Don't Love Us
(U.S. News & World Report: Mackenzie Eaglen)
Espionage and cyberattacks are big worries for the military.

Subscribe | Contact Us

Don't Miss Today's Top Stories

Keeps me informed about national leadership concerns."

Senior Military Officer

The best!"

Mark, Compensation Analyst

Timely and informative."

Dave, HR specialist

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

AJ, US Army Officer

Sign up form for the newsletter
comments powered by Disqus