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Hagel to Propose Personnel Cost Reductions, Pentagon’s 5-Year Spending Plan Ignores Sequestration Hagel to Propose Personnel Cost Reductions, Pentagon’s 5-Year Spendi...

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Hagel to Propose Personnel Cost Reductions, Pentagon’s 5-Year Spending Plan Ignores Sequestration

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

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U.S. Military to Unveil Plan to Cut Personnel Costs
(The Wall Street Journal: Dion Nissenbaum, Julian Barnes)
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel will propose limits on pay raises, housing allowances. But experts say Congress is unlikely to back changes in election year.

 

Sources: DoD 5-Year Spending Plan $115 Billion Over Budget Caps, Ignores Sequestration
(Defense News: Marcus Weisgerber, Christopher Cavas)
The Defense Department on March 4 will propose a five-year plan that boosts Pentagon spending by a total of $115 billion over sequestration spending caps.

Quadrennial Review To Emphasize Middle East
(Defense News: John Bennett, Marcus Weisgerber)
The Defense Department's latest military strategy review will stress the Pentagon's commitment to the Middle East.

U.S. Now Bugging German Ministers in Place of Merkel: Report
(Reuters: Sabine Siebold)
The National Security Agency has reportedly stepped up its surveillance of senior German government officials.

UKRAINE

Ukraine: Arrest Warrant for President Yanukovych
(Associated Press: Yuras Karmanau, Maria Danilova)
Ukraine's acting government issued a warrant Monday for the arrest of President Viktor Yanukovych.

 

In Ukraine, Fast Transition Comes With Uncertainty
(The Washington Post: William Booth)
After ousting President Yanukovych, parliament announces detentions of former officials and gives interim power to its speaker, who quickly delivers a warning on the state of the economy.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Urges Ukraine to Begin IMF Discussions Soon
(Reuters: Lincoln Feast)
Jack Lew has encouraged Ukraine to begin discussions with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on an assistance package as soon as possible once a transitional government is in place in Kiev.

As Ukrainian President Flailed, Allies Jumped Ship
(The Wall Street Journal: Alan Cullison, James Marson, Alexander Kolyandr)
Viktor Yanukovych was abandoned in droves by his closest political allies, driving him out of power and into hiding.

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EU, U.S. Rush to Stabilize Ukraine After Ouster
(The Wall Street Journal: Jay Solomon, Vanessa Mock, Stephen Fidler)
West moves to forge massive bailout without provoking Russia.

Obama, Vladimir Putin Discuss Ukraine Deal
(Politico: Reid Epstein)
President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin had a "constructive" hour-long chat about the situation in Ukraine.

Obama Official Warns on Russia Sending Troops to Ukraine
(The Wall Street Journal: Peter Nicholas)
A senior Obama administration official warned Russian leaders Sunday not to send armed forces into Ukraine to restore what they see as a compliant government.

Rice Says U.S. Will 'Play a Role' in Aiding Ukraine
(Bloomberg: David Lerman)
White House National Security Adviser Susan Rice said the U.S. will work with European partners to help finance Ukraine's economic recovery.

Russia Stung By Ally Yanukovych's Defeat in Ukraine
(The Wall Street Journal: Gregory White)
World awaits reaction from an angered Kremlin, as Kiev falls to opposition.

Ukraine Parliament Moves Swiftly to Dismantle President's Government
(The New York Times: David Herszenhorn)
Lawmakers Fired Top Cabinet Members In President Viktor Yanukovych's government and restored state ownership of the presidential palace.

With President's Departure, Ukraine Looks Toward a Murky Future
(The New York Times: Andrew Higgins)
Gone along with President Viktor Yanukovych was any trace of a Friday peace deal that had sought to freeze the country's tumult.

Amid Fence-Mending, Another U.S.-Russia Rift
(The New York Times: Peter Baker)
The political crisis in Ukraine has underscored the difficulties of restoring constructive ties between Washington and Moscow.

Of Course the Gun Lobby Is Pouncing on Ukraine to Push Their Pet Cause
(The Daily Beast: Scott Bixby)
As Ukrainian security forces use superior firepower to suppress protesters, Second Amendment groups in America see an opportunity to slam gun control as counter-revolutionary.

DEFENSE DEPARTMENT

Sources: Obama Administration To Slow Special Ops Funding
(Defense News: John Bennett)
The Obama administration is poised to scale back funding for the U.S. military's most elite forces.

Budget Likely Will Protect Cyber, Trim Benefits
(Military.com: Richard Sisk)
Hagel has signaled that he will seek to protect cyber warfare funding and Special Operations in the Pentagon's 2015 budget.

What's on the Chopping Block—and What's Safe—in the Pentagon's Shrinking Budget?
(National Journal: Sara Socher)
Here's a look at what might get cut, and what might make the cut.

A Year on the Job, Hagel's Team Finally Taking Shape
(Defense News: Marcus Weisgerber)
The team of Hagel — who's entering his second year in office — is finally taking shape.

Russia's Nuke Cheating Could Blow Up a Top Pentagon Pick
(The Daily Beast: Josh Rogin)
Before a confirmation hearing for a top Pentagon official, two GOP senators are pressing the Obama administration for answers about Russia's violations of an arms control treaty.

Outgoing Comptroller Bob Hale Says the Pentagon Can Be Audited by 2017
(Government Executive: Charles Clark)
Defense Department Comptroller Robert Hale is devoting part of his final days at the Pentagon to talking up the department's progress toward fulfilling a congressional mandate to clean up its books by 2017.

Hagel Orders a Shakeup of the Pentagon's MIA Recoveries
(Defense One: Kevin Baron)
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has given the Pentagon 30 days to deliver a plan.

Hagel Declines to Reopen Medal of Honor Case
(Associated Press)
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says he will not reopen a Medal of Honor nomination for Marine Sgt. Rafael Peralta, killed in the Iraq war in 2004.

Military Brick-Breaking Demonstrations Face the Chop
(The New York Times: Austin Ramzy)
Military officials are acknowledging that displays of showmanship by troops have few practical applications, and are reconsidering the amount of time that troops spend on such training.

Troops Prefer Cash Over In-Kind Benefits
(Military Times: Andrew Tilghman)
Proposals to front-load military compensation with more cash now rather than back-loading it with deferred, in-kind benefits later on are gaining traction.

AFGHANISTAN/ PAKISTAN

Pakistani Taliban Commander Shot Dead in Waziristan
(Reuters: Haji Mujtaba)
A top commander of the Pakistani Taliban was shot dead by unidentified gunmen on Monday in the militant stronghold of North Waziristan.

U.S. Examining Options That Would Leave Troops in Kabul
(The Washington Post: Karen DeYoung)
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel plans to brief NATO defense ministers on the status of U.S. decision making.

Taliban Says Talks With U.S. Over Captive Soldier Halted
(Associated Press)
Afghanistan's Taliban said Sunday they had suspended "mediation" with the United States to exchange captive Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl for five senior Taliban prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay.

Obama Putting Afghan Elections at Risk?
(The Hill: Kristina Wong)
The Obama administration is putting the success of Afghanistan's presidential election at risk with its policy of not getting too involved, according to an outside group.

Taliban Attack Afghan Army Base, Killing Soldiers in Their Sleep
(The New York Times: Niamatullah Karyab, Rod Nordland)
The attack, which left 21 soldiers dead, came as the insurgents acknowledged they had suspended talks with the Americans aimed at a prisoner exchange.

ASIA/PACIFIC

China Denounces Appointment of U.S. Special Coordinator on Tibet
(Reuters: Ben Blanchard)
China will never recognize the United States' appointment of a special coordinator for Tibetan issues, China's foreign ministry said on Monday.

U.S. Army Seeks Better Ties With China's Military
(The New York Times: Edward Wong, Andrew Jacobs)
As tensions rise between China and other Asian nations, a top U.S. general is working on improving contacts with China's military.

U.S. Army Chief: China, Japan Need Dialogue to Avoid 'Miscalculations'
(Agence France-Presse)
Ray Odierno on Saturday said Beijing and Tokyo must enhance communication to avoid "miscalculations" amid a simmering territorial dispute over islands in the East China Sea.

In Japan's Drill With the U.S., a Message for Beijing
(The New York Times: Helene Cooper)
American military officials insisted an annual exercise, called Iron Fist, had nothing to do with a dispute over islands, but this year, the Japanese team came packing.

U.S.-South Korean War Games Loom Over Emotional Family Reunions of War-Divided Koreans
(Associated Press)
After a last-minute cancellation of reunions in September, Pyongyang allowed the already agreed upon reunions to go forward this time after recent rare high-level talks with Seoul.

CONGRESS

Military Pension Issue Is Front and Center—Again
(National Journal: Billy House, Michael Catalini)
Omnibus Senate bill on veterans issues faces an uncertain future.

Sen. Blumenthal Meeting With VA Hospital Officials
(Associated Press)
Sen. Richard Blumenthal says he'll be meeting with officials at the VA Connecticut Healthcare System hospital in West Haven, after a report found unsanitary conditions at the care center.

SYRIA

Al Qaida Emissary in Syria Killed by Rival Islamist Rebels
(The Wall Street Journal: Maria Abi-Habib)
Violent power struggle between radical groups deepens.

Top Military Body Against Syria's Assad Is in Chaos, Undermining Fight
(The New York Times: Ben Hubbard, Karam Shoumali)
Islamist groups have seized the Supreme Military Council's weapons, its members have stolen or sold its supplies and one prominent commander has joined an offshoot of Al Qaeda.

Syrians Seek New Delay in Export of Chemical Arms
(The New York Times: Rick Gladstone)
The Syrian government has asked for a delay until mid-May for the export of its chemical weapons arsenal, an indication that the country's pledge to eradicate that arsenal is fraying.

Officials: Al Qaida Tries to Recruit Americans in Syria
(CNN: Barbara Starr)
National security officials are concerned that amid the mayhem of Syria's civil war, the global terror group has found a safe haven and a place where it again can recruit, plot and train operatives to carry out attacks on the U.S. homeland.

U.N. Orders Both Sides in Syria to Allow Humanitarian Aid
(The New York Times: Somini Sengupta)
The resolution, unanimously adopted by the Security Council, calls on the Syrian government to allow relief agencies to enter the country, and strongly condemns terror attacks, plainly referring to some of the rebels.

INTELLIGENCE

German Foreign Minister Hopes U.S. Has Understood Surveillance Carries 'Political Price'
(Associated Press)
Germany's foreign minister says he hopes Washington has understood that surveillance of political partners "can have a political price."

MIDDLE EAST

U.S. Fugitive Killed in Israeli Jail Shooting
(The Wall Street Journal: Joshua Mitnick)
Samuel Sheinbein, who fled to Israel in 1997 after being charged with the murder of a teenager in Maryland, was killed on Sunday after he opened fire on Israeli prison guards, officials said.

WHITE HOUSE

Medals of Honor, Denied Because of Prejudice, to Be Belatedly Awarded
(The New York Times: Ashley Southall)
President Obama will award the Medal of Honor next month to 24 Army veterans, most of them Hispanic or Jewish, who were passed over because of their race or ethnicity.

VETERANS

George W. Bush Encourages Civilians to Hire Veterans
(USA Today: Kelly Kennedy)
The George W. Bush Institute is collaborating with the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University on a survey of post-9/11 veterans that will be published in the spring.

President George W. Bush Fights to Take 'Disorder' Out of PTSD
(ABC News: Freda Kahen-Kashi)
President Bush is front and center in the news this week stepping back into the spotlight to shine a spotlight of his own on post-9/11 veterans and his fight to take the "Disorder" out of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

INDUSTRY

Lockheed F-35 for Marines Delayed as Test Exposes Cracks
(Bloomberg: Tony Capaccio)
On-the-ground stress testing for the U.S. Marine Corps version of Lockheed Martin Corp.'s F-35 jet may be halted for as long as a year after cracks were found in the aircraft's bulkheads, Pentagon officials said.

Bulkhead Cracks In F-35B Won't Slow Fielding, Marines Say
(Breaking Defense: Colin Clark)
The Marines say any correction will be made later to their aircraft and will not slow initial fielding of the most complex version of the Joint Strike Fighter.

Triton Testing Ahead of Schedule
(USNI News)
Testing for the Navy's next generation unmanned maritime surveillance aircraft is proceeding ahead of schedule, according to officials at Northrop Grumman.

AIR FORCE

USAF Space Chief Outs Classified Spy Sat Program
(Aviation Week: Amy Butler)
The Air Force is planning to launch two new and previously classified space situational awareness satellites into geosynchronous orbit this year, according to Gen. William Shelton.

Budget Anxiety Softens at This Year's AFA Meeting
(Defense News: Aaron Mehta)
Last year's U.S. Air Force Association's Air Warfare Symposium had a funereal quality to it.

Air Force Reluctantly Upgrades A-10s After Congress Complains
(War Is Boring: Dave Majumdar)
Strongly-worded letter preserves attack jets … for the time being.

New Air Force Program To Boost Large Aircraft Self-Protection Capabilities
(Inside Defense)
The Air Force has announced plans to launch as soon as April a competition for a project it hopes will bolster the self-protection capabilities of its large aircraft.

Air Force Begins Massive B-1B Overhaul
(Military.Com: Kris Osborn)
The Air Force is in the early phases of a multi-year technological overhaul and upgrade of its B1-B Lancer long-range bomber fleet which will outfit all 62 aircraft with a wide-ranging suite of new displays, computer technology and avionics, service officials said.

USAF Defends Need for New Long-Range Bomber
(Defense News: Aaron Mehta)
The Air Force needs its new long-range strike bomber, even if it can't give details.

Air Force Drives Down Weapons Costs By $13.4 Billion; Second Year of Decline
(Breaking Defense: Colin Clark)
The Air Force has substantially driven down its acquisition costs for the second year in a row.

Nuke Test Scores Fell Flat During Alleged Cheating
(Associated Press: Robert Burns)
Last summer, when dozens of nuclear missile officers allegedly cheated on exams, test scores were among the lowest of the year, according to Air Force records.

ARMY

Pentagon Plans to Shrink Army to Pre-World War II Level
(The New York Times: Thom Shanker, Helene Cooper)
Officials describe Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel's proposal as the first Pentagon budget to aggressively push the military off the war footing adopted after the terror attacks of 2001.

Army General's Lawyers Seek Dismissal of Sexual Misconduct Charges
(The New York Times: Richard Oppel Jr.)
Defense lawyers for Brig. General Jeffrey Sinclair asked a military judge to throw out the charges, asserting weaknesses in the case.

U.S. Army Focuses on Boosting Tech
(Defense News: Paul McLeary)
Tone shifts from budget woes to combat punch.

Army Modernization Officials Hope To Plant S&T 'Seeds' Amid Budget Decline
(Inside Defense)
Army modernization officials have said for some time that they can see the budgetary writing on the wall, with few new program launches likely over the next few years.

Troops Left to Fend for Themselves After Army Was Warned of Flaws in Rifle
(The Washington Times: Rowan Scarborough)
Documents show the Pentagon was warned before the Afghanistan and Iraq wars that the iterations of the M4 carbine were flawed and might jam or fail

MARINE CORPS

Emails Reveal Marine Corps Commandant's Early Attempt to Ban Independent Newspaper
(Marine Corps Times: Lance Bacon)
The exchange occurred just days before Marine Corps Times published an investigative report spotlighting allegations Amos abused his authority.

Famous Iraq War Tale of Heroism Unraveled
(The Washington Post: Ernesto Londoño)
Marines who served with Sgt. Rafael Peralta in Iraq in 2004 now say story of his heroic death was fabricated.

NAVY

Navy Develops 'World's Smallest Guided Missile'
(Military Times: Meghann Myers)
As the military relies more and more on unmanned aerial vehicles to carry out pinpoint strikes, the services need smaller munitions to arm them.

AFRICA

Susan Rice: No Regrets on Benghazi Involvement
(CNN: Chloe Sommers)
National Security Adviser Susan Rice was asked point-blank whether she has any regrets about her involvement in informing the public of developments regarding the violence before, during and after the attacks on a U.S. post in Libya.

U.S. Condemns Attacks by Boko Haram in Nigeria
(Reuters: Will Dunham)
Boko Haram gunmen killed about 100 people in the northeastern Nigeria town of Bama on Wednesday.

Ex-Rep. Mel Reynolds Ducks Zimbabwean Porn Charge
(Roll Call: Warren Rojas)
Former House lawmaker Mel Reynolds has been kicked out of Zimbabwe due to immigration issues but will not have to stand trial on since-dismissed pornography charges.

AMERICAS

Kerry Says Venezuela Crackdown Is 'Unacceptable'
(The New York Times: William Neuman)
As the demonstrations continued to grow, Secretary of State John Kerry strengthened his criticism of the Venezuelan government's response to the protesters.

U.S. to Seek Extradition of Mexican Drug Kingpin Guzman
(Reuters: Mark Hosenball, John Shiffman)
U.S. prosecutors plan to seek the extradition of Mexico's most wanted man, drug cartel kingpin Joaquin "Shorty" Guzman, to face trial in the United States after he was captured in Mexico.

ANALYSIS/COMMENTARY

Breakthrough in Ukraine
(The Wall Street Journal)
Support for Russia's man in Kiev crumbles after this week's violence, but Putin could still meddle.

Mr. Kerry's Error
(The Washington Post)
While carnage in Syria worsened, the secretary pursued a futile diplomatic initiative.

John Kerry Finds His Calling
(Yahoo News: Matt Bai)
Kerry, the son of a foreign service officer, just seems better suited, temperamentally, to being a diplomat than he was to being a politician.

Ukraine's Chance for Peace
(The Washington Post)
Protesters reject a turn to Russia and get early elections, reforms and a coalition government.

Aiding Ukraine's Democrats
(The Wall Street Journal)
How the West can help Kiev resist Putin's interference.

Ukraine's Government Disappears Overnight
(The Atlantic: Uri Friedman)
The opposition now controls Kiev, but the fight for Ukraine's future is far from over.

U.S. and Russia Playing Chess or Blood Sport?
(CNN: Elise Labott)
The Obama administration continues to dismiss the notion of a new Cold War with Russia. But the louder their protests, the more apparent the chill has become.

El-Sisi Is The Putin Of The Nile
(The Daily Beast: Jamie Dettmer)
He's a man of humble origins who quietly worked his way up through his state's repressive security apparatus, securing powerful patrons whom he'd later betray.

Modernize the Army's Leaders
(The Washington Post: Adrian Bonenberger)
What ranks should be reduced in size?

U.S. Troops Are Equipped With Inferior, Antiquated Weapons
(The Washington Times: Robert Scales)
Combat troops are outgunned while the Pentagon flirts with techno-gear.

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