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F-35 Cleared for Flight, Iran Outlines Nuclear Deal, VA Scandal Just Keeps Spreading F-35 Cleared for Flight, Iran Outlines Nuclear Deal, VA Scandal Just K...

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F-35 Cleared for Flight, Iran Outlines Nuclear Deal, VA Scandal Just Keeps Spreading

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 F-35 Cleared for Flight
(Defense News: Aaron Mehta)
The F-35 might make it to Farnborough after all.

Iran Outlines Nuclear Deal; Accepts Limit
(The New York Times: David Sanger)
Iran's foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, said Iran could accept a freeze on its capacity to produce nuclear fuel at current levels for several years.

The VA Scandal Just Keeps Spreading
(National Journal: Jordain Carney)
The Inspector General's office is looking into data-integrity issues with VA claims at its offices in Baltimore, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Oakland, Houston, and Little Rock, Ark.



VA Health Bill Deadlock Continues Despite a Reduced Cost Estimate
(Roll Call: Paul Jenks)
Offsetting new spending with cuts in other programs is a continuous congressional battle on all major health care legislation.

Inhofe Praises Afghan Election Deal
(The Hill: Martin Matishak)
The deal "is a positive step in a process that is absolutely essential to a peaceful transition of power in Afghanistan," according to Inhofe.

U.S. Senators Push for Tough Line in Iran Nuclear Talks
(Reuters: Patricia Zengerle)
The senators want Iran to "come clean" about any military dimensions of its nuclear program.


Grim Iraq Assessment Reaches Hagel
(Politico: Philip Ewing)
Press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said Hagel and other senior leaders must read and absorb the Iraq evaluation before determining the next steps.


U.S. Advisers in Iraq Have Yet to Give Advice
(The Hill: Kristina Wong)
Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said the U.S. has always said it's the job of the personnel Obama ordered to Iraq on June 19 to assess events on the ground.

Iraqi Army Remains on Defensive as Extent of June Debacle Becomes Clearer
(McClatchy: Mitchell Prothero)
The list of accomplishments cited by the Iraqi military's spokesman are almost entirely defensive.

Heavy Fighting Rages Over Town North of Baghdad
(Associated Press: Sinan Salaheddin)
The clashes in Duluiyah are part of the Islamic State extremist group's larger offensive across Iraq as it tries to expand the territory under its control.

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Iran Nuclear Talks: Kerry In 'Serious Conversation' in Bid to Break Impasse
(The Guardian: Julian Borger)
U.S. secretary of state stays on for second day of talks after meeting adjourned, days before deadline for deal.

Thank Obama for Iran's Growing Economy
(The Daily Beast: Eli Lake)
The White House eased pressure on Tehran to get a preliminary nuclear deal. But Iran's economy has bounced back fast, undercutting Western leverage as the talks' deadline looms.


U.N. Security Council Authorizes Cross-Border Aid Access in Syria
(Reuters: Michelle Nichols)
The unanimously adopted resolution established for 180 days a monitoring mechanism for loading aid convoys in neighboring countries.


U.S. Officials: Qatar To Buy Patriot Missiles in $11B Deal
(Agence France-Presse)
Qatar plans to buy U.S. Patriot missile batteries and Apache attack helicopters in a major arms deal worth about $11 billion.

Kerry Calls Bahrain Minister Over Expulsion of U.S. Official
(Reuters: Lesley Wroughton, David Storey)
Kerry also expressed concern about charges against al-Wefaq party leader Sheikh Ali Salman and his political assistant.

Israel's Security Cabinet Accepts Proposal for Cease-Fire
(The New York Times: Jodi Rudoren)
The military wing of Hamas has refused the Egyptian proposal, which aims for a de-escalation of an aerial battle that has left nearly 200 Palestinians dead.

Hamas Publishes Photo of a Drone It Says It Built
(The New York Times: Isabel Kershner, Patrick Lyons)
It said two of the drones were armed for attacks and one was intended for reconnaissance.


In Taliban Heartland Where U.S. Once Fought, Afghan Forces Triumph — For Now
(The Washington Post: Kevin Sieff)
The risk posed by Afghanistan's weak democratic institutions has become alarmingly evident in recent weeks.


China Tells U.S. to Stay Out of South China Seas Dispute
(Reuters: Ben Blanchard)
Michael Fuchs, U.S. deputy assistant secretary of state for Strategy and Multilateral Affairs, said no country was solely responsible for escalating tension in the region.

Japan, U.S. Admirals Say Naval Cooperation Deepening
(Associated Press: Audrey McAvoy)
Adm. Katsutoshi Kawano, the head of Japan's navy, said that the two navies have been sharing more information and having more personal exchanges.

U.S. Military Wraps Up Aid Mission in Philippines
(Stars and Stripes: Seth Robson)
Winning hearts and minds is particularly important now as the country, has recently decided to let the U.S. military access decades-closed bases again.


Ukrainian President Blames Russian Troops After Transport Plane Shot Down
(The Guardian: Harriet Salem, Oksana Grytsenko, Shaun Walker)
Petro Poroshenko claims serving Russian military officers are taking part in operations in east Ukraine. 

Defense Ministry OK's Deal for Planes Sale to U.S.
(Associated Press)
The Czech Defense Ministry has signed a deal to deliver 14 military airplanes to the United States in an $11 million deal.


Global Opposition to U.S. Drone Strikes Grows
(USA Today: Jim Michaels)
Even key allies oppose the use of the unmanned aircraft.

DARPA's New Experimental Sniper Bullet Can Turn in Mid-Flight
(The Washington Post: Dan Lamothe)
If the Pentagon has its way, U.S. snipers may get a boost.


Bergdahl Gets Army Desk Job
( Richard Sisk)
Bergdahl nominally has been on active duty since his release on June 2, and "he remains on active duty" in his new job

Army: Soldier Grandfathered in Under Tattoo Policy
(Associated Press)
The U.S. Army says a Kentucky National Guard soldier with aspirations of joining a U.S. Army special operations unit is grandfathered in under new regulations concerning soldiers with tattoos.


Air Force to Cut Thousands of Installation Support Jobs, Create New Command for Surveillance
(Air Force Times: Brian Everstine)
A total of 3,459 positions will be cut in an effort to save $1.6 billion over the next five years.

Wright-Patterson May Lose Hundreds of Jobs in Air Force Reorganization
(Dayton Daily News: Barrie Barber)
Wright-Patterson could lose 372 military and civilian jobs by this fall in an Air Force-wide reorganization that will create a central installations support center.

As "Fresh Eyes," James Targeted Nuke Missile Ills
(Associated Press: Robert Burns)
Once it erupted in the form of exam-cheating by dozens of missile launch officers, she quickly announced conclusions that no Air Force leader before her had dared state publicly.

Retired AF Officer Pleads Guilty to Bribery, Theft
(Fayetteville Observer: Drew Brooks)
A North Carolina man has pleaded guilty to charges that include bribery and theft of government property.


Pentagon Taking a New Look UCLASS Requirements, July Request for Proposal Delayed
(USNI News: Sam LaGrone)
The Navy is pushing back a planned request for proposal for its carrier-based unmanned aerial strike and surveillance aircraft.

Navy Expands Command Ball Cap Policy
(Stars and Stripes: Hendrick Simoes)
U.S. Navy Command baseball caps are making a comeback by popular demand.


One-Third of Boarded Staff Sergeants Get the Ax
(Marine Corps Times: James Sanborn)
Marines must leave the Corps by the end of January 2015


Booz Allen Chief Executive Ralph Shrader to Retire
(The Washington Post: Amrita Jayakumar)
His successor, Horacio Rozanski, the company's president and chief operating officer, will take over in January 2015.

BAE Working F-35 and Typhoon Interoperability
(Defense News: Aaron Mehta)
The F-35 joint strike fighter may well come to rule the skies of the future, but for decades to come it will need to work with existing "fourth-generation" fleets.

BAE Aims For Half of $10 Billion F-16 Upgrade Work
(Defense News: Tom Kington)
A test bed aircraft would start flights in 2016 and aircraft would be delivered to Korea in 2018.

Lycoming: Use Aircraft Engines To Improve UAV Reliability
(Defense News: Tom Kington)
U.S. firm Lycoming Engines has claimed it is time for manufacturers to stop using snowmobile and chainsaw engines on their unmanned platforms.


Alabama VA Falsifications Continued Even After Caught
(Montgomery Advertiser: Mary Troyan)
In Central Alabama, Veterans Affairs health falsifications continued even after they were caught.

VA Reports Mishandled Records at Baltimore Office
(Baltimore Sun: John Fritze)
An employee at the Baltimore office of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs inappropriately stored thousands of documents.

IG: Philadelphia VA Office Manipulated Benefits Records
(The Washington Post: Josh Hicks)
Inspectors found 30 instances of claims processors improperly applying the "discovered date."

Brown Hits Shaheen on VA Scandal in New Ad
(The Hill: Alexandra Jaffe)
Brown narrates the ad, which features a shot of the former National Guards member in uniform and clips of him speaking to veterans.


Appeals Court Vacates Two Convictions of bin Laden Aide
(McClatchy: Michael Doyle)
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit concluded a military commission lacked authority to convict Ali Hamza Ahmad Suliman al-Bahlul of two out of three charges.


Arab American Group Urges Boycott of White House Iftar Dinner
(The Washington Post: Juliet Eilperin)
The ADC cited both the administration's support for Israel's bombing campaign in response to airstrikes by the militant group Hamas as reasons not to participate.


Rand Paul's 'Big' Foreign Policy Speech Set for Mid-Oct., But It's Off-the-Record
(Defense News: John Bennett)
Presidential candidates almost always give such a speech as they mull a run for the White House.

Rand Paul vs. Rick Perry: The GOP's Battle for the Future of National Security
(Defense One: Molly O'Toole)
Perry's surgical strike on Paul indicates the senator is, for now, the one to beat for his party's nomination.


Suspect in Benghazi Attack Found Dead
(CNN: Jomana Karadsheh, Holly Yan)
Al-Shibli, whose name is also spelled Chalabi, was last seen being detained by a local militia in Marj two days ago.

The Ex-CIA Asset Trying to Conquer Libya
(The Daily Beast: Bel Trew)
Gen. Hiftar was betrayed by Gaddafi, was approached by the CIA, moved to the USA, and now says he'll purge Libya of jihadists. Really?

Militia Shells Tripoli Airport, U.N. Pulls Staff Out of Libya
(Reuters: Feras Bosalum, Ulf Laessing)
At least 15 people have been killed in clashes in Tripoli and the eastern city of Benghazi.


Back From the Brink in Afghanistan
(The New York Times)
Kerry's compromise deal lays out a way forward for Afghans.

Afghanistan's Renewed Promise
(The Washington Post)
After an election marred by fraud, the country's leaders offer a glimmer of hope for the future.

Rick Perry Is Dead Wrong
(Politico: Sen. Rand Paul)
Governor Perry writes a fictionalized account of my foreign policy so mischaracterizing my views that I wonder if he's even really read any of my policy papers.

Hey, Benghazi-Heads, You Stand Down!
(The Daily Beast: Michael Tomasky)
Central to the Benghazi conspiracy: the alleged stand-down order that kept help from arriving from Tripoli. It never happened—and now we learn that Republicans have known for months.

Why the World's Armies Don't Want U.S. Tech Anymore
(The Daily Beast: Bill Sweetman)
America used to be the global leader in war gear. But now, many of our weapons are second rate.

What Would Reagan Do in Iraq?
(The Atlantic: Peter Beinart)
Rand Paul and Rick Perry each claim to be the Gipper's heir in the Middle East. Who's right?

U.S. Surrenders Naval Logistics Supremacy
(The Diplomat: James Holmes)
Without underway replenishment ships, America's ability to project power in wartime will shrivel.

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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