Welcome to NJ's Early Bird, a morning assembly of the best national security, defense, and foreign policy coverage from around the Web.
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Another Cold War? Half of Americans Think It's Coming.
(The Washington Post: Aaron Blake)
A new poll shows half of Americans believe the United States is entering another Cold War with Russia.
U.S. Intel Sources: Russian Invasion of Eastern Ukraine Increasingly Likely
(Foreign Policy: Shane Harris, Yochi Dreazen)
American intelligence agencies have told Obama administration officials and key congressional staffers that there is mounting evidence that Russia is putting the pieces in place for an invasion of eastern Ukraine, and that the possibility of an imminent assault cannot be ruled out.
At Core of Nuke Cheating Ring: Four 'Librarians'
(Associated Press: Robert Burns)
The Air Force fired nine midlevel commanders at Malmstrom and announced it will pursue a range of disciplinary action against the accused 82 launch officers.
Joint Chiefs' Chairman Wants Military to Rethink Ethics Training
(The Wall Street Journal: Julian Barnes)
Gen. Martin Dempsey said leaders overly reliant on email, may ban software in ethics training.
Former Defense Secretary James Schlesinger Dies
(Associated Press: Tom Raum)
Schlesinger, a hawkish and erudite Republican who straddled the partisan divide to serve in Cabinet-level posts under three presidents, has died.
Rep. Mike Rogers to Speak Friday on Political Future
(Politico: John Bresnahan, Jake Sherman)
Republican insiders said the House Intelligence chairman is expected to announce he will not seek re-election, but sources close to Rogers declined to comment.
U.S. Bans Licenses for Military Exports to Russia
(Reuters: David Brunnstrom, Will Dunham, Warren Strobel)
The United States has imposed a ban on the issuance of licenses for the export of defense items and defense services to Russia in response to Russia's annexation of Crimea.
Congress Approves Ukraine Aid, Expects Obama Signature This Week
(National Journal: Stacy Kaper)
Both chambers passed legislation Thursday but still have work to do before anything lands on the president's desk.
U.S. Official: Putin Could Invade Ukraine 'at a Moment's Notice'
(The Daily Beast: Josh Rogin)
An Obama administration official warned that the Russian army is now fully prepared to invade eastern Ukraine if Putin decides to take further military action.
Pentagon: No Evidence Russian Troops Conducting 'Exercises' Yet
(The Hill: Kristina Wong)
The Pentagon said there has been no evidence yet of Russian troop exercises taking place despite claims from the Russian defense minister that they were gathering at Ukraine's borders to do so.
Obama Says U.S. Weighing Economic Impact of Russia Sanctions
(Bloomberg: Julianna Goldman, Mike Dorning)
President Obama said additional sanctions on Russia would inevitably also hit the economies of the U.S. and Europe.
Europe Begins to Rethink Cuts to Military Spending
(The New York Times: Steven Erlanger)
NATO and the European Union regard the Russian move in Ukraine as a wake-up call, a reminder that hard power can easily trump 21st-century assumptions about Europe as a sphere of trade, international law, and cooperation.
Spotlight Back on U.S. European Command
(Marine Corps Times: Andrew Tilghman)
After years of calm, Ukraine crisis prompts calls for new buildup.
Senators Want to Disclose More of CIA Interrogation Report
(McClatchy: David Lightman, Jonathan Landay)
The expansion of what originally was the study's 300-page executive summary will delay a vote that Feinstein had promised by the end of March to send the document to an executive branch declassification review.
Stripped From Senate Democrats' Agenda: Getting Rid of Sequestration
(Defense News: John Bennett)
Senate Democratic leaders have stripped from their legislative agenda efforts to further ease or eliminate the remaining eight years of across-the-board defense and domestic spending cuts.
Congress Prepares Second Front on Iran Sanctions
(Al-Monitor: Julian Pecquet)
House lawmakers are working on new terrorism-related Iran sanctions after ceding to the Obama administration's request to back off the nuclear issue.
Senators Urge Halt in Buying Russian Choppers
(Associated Press: Richard Lardner)
Seeking stiffer penalties against Moscow, a group of U.S. senators called on President Obama to respond more forcefully to the incursion into the Crimean Peninsula.
Spokesperson: Mike Rogers Is Not Stepping Down as House Intel Chair
(National Journal: Sara Sorcher)
Rogers is not stepping down from his position, a spokesperson said, despite a news report saying he would.
House Democrats to GOP: End Benghazi Probe
(CBS News: Jake Miller)
More than a year and a half after the attack on a U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya, House Democrats say they've had enough of Republicans' "partisan investigation" into the incident.
Lawmakers Urge Obama to Press Saudi King on Human, Religious Rights During Visit
Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are pressing President Obama to raise the issue of human and religious rights during his face-to-face meeting with Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah.
Former Defense Secretary Gates Blasts Congress in Bellingham Talk
(The Bellingham Herald: John Stark)
Gates expressed near-despair over the dysfunctional state of the federal government.
White House Pushes Congress to Quickly Pass Changes to NSA Surveillance Program
(The Washington Post: Ellen Nakashima)
The Obama administration has called on Congress to move quickly to pass legislation that would achieve the president's goal of ending government mass collection of Americans' phone records.
Understanding Obama's NSA Proposals
(The Daily Beast: Geoffrey Stone)
The president's metadata plans will curb the NSA's ability to infringe on civil liberties and still allow intelligence agencies to track the terrorists.
Amash Skeptical of New NSA Proposals
(The Hill: Jeremy Herb)
Rep. Justin Amash is not ruling out pushing his amendment to end the National Security Agency's bulk data collection.
Military Says War Funding Must Continue
(Politico: Philip Ewing)
The military is counting on extra funding above its normal requests for at least the next two or three years.
Chuck Hagel Traveling to China, Japan to Host Meeting With Asian Defense Ministers
(Associated Press: Lolita Baldor)
The Defense secretary's travel comes against the backdrop of the massive regional response to the loss of the Malaysian jetliner.
New Commander Named for Intelligence Center
(Dayton Daily News: Barrie Barber)
A military intelligence agency that provides highly sought-after intelligence analysis from the White House to ground troops in Afghanistan will have a new leader.
Kendall Wants Science Board's Advice on Providing Energy to Remote Bases
The Defense Science Board has been asked to suggest how to improve the way the military provides energy to remote bases.
Pakistan Taliban Agrees to Ceasefire to Help Afghan Allies
(Reuters: Katharine Houreld)
The Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan have secretly agreed to focus on carrying out operations in Afghanistan.
U.S. Military: Sorry, Pakistan. You Won't Get Our Extra Equipment.
(National Journal: Sara Sorcher)
The U.S. is stressing its support for Afghanistan, which opposed the reported move.
Afghanistan Is an Occupied Nation, Iranian President Says on Kabul Visit
(The Guardian: Emma Graham-Harrison)
Hassan Rouhani speaks of "two occupations" that have brought violence and extremism to the country.
Expansion of 5th Fleet Base Underscores Long-Term Gulf Presence
(Military Times: Awad Mustafa, Christopher Cavas)
The Fifth Fleet's $580 million base expansion in Bahrain will extend the U.S.'s operational tenure in the Gulf well into the middle of the century.
Qatar Sentences U.S. Couple to Three Years in Prison
(Associated Press: Abdullah Rebhy)
An American couple charged with starving their 8-year-old adopted daughter to death in the Gulf Arab country of Qatar was sentenced to three years in prison.
Nuclear Unit Commander to Step Down Amid Missileer Cheating Scandal
(Global Security Newswire: Elaine Grossman)
In an email, Air Force Col. Robert Stanley implored his 341st Missile Wing—which controls one-third of the nation's 450 Minuteman 3 land-based, nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles—to hold themselves to higher ethical standards.
U.S. Nuclear Security Agency Has 'Failed,' Says Advisory Panel
(Global Security Newswire: Diane Barnes)
A congressionally mandated panel says a key Energy Department agency has "failed" in its mission to effectively oversee U.S. nuclear-arms operations.
Bill to Keep Carrier Totals $796M in 2015
(Politico: Austin Wright)
Congress would have to come up with $796 million for fiscal 2015 for the Navy to begin planning to retain the USS George Washington aircraft carrier, according to a new Pentagon cost comparison.
Official Identifies Civilian Who Shot Navy Sailor
The civilian truck driver who killed a sailor aboard a destroyer at the world's largest naval base was a Virginia man who records show was a convicted felon.
Navy Seeks Next Generation Tomahawk
(Military.com: Kris Osborn)
The Navy is testing several new next-generation cruise missiles as potential replacements for the battle-tested Tomahawk.
Navy Sends Underwater Drone to Help in Malaysia Plane Search
(Los Angeles Times: W.J. Hennigan)
The U.S. Navy is sending an advanced underwater drone outfitted with sonar equipment to the southern Indian Ocean as part of search efforts to find missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.
Ohio-Class Replacement Program Will Place Extraordinary Pressure on Navy Shipbuilding Budgets
(Seapower Magazine: John Marcario)
The future of Navy shipbuilding will revolve around the Ohio-class submarine replacement program and place great strain on the shipbuilding budget for years to come.
Sailor Arrested After Trying to Steal Plane
(Pensacola News Journal: Michael Scott Davidson)
A Georgia man told police he wanted to fly home to see his mother.
Force Cuts Mean Army Can't Fight Two Land Wars
(Military.com: Matthew Cox)
The Army and the Marine Corps could fight a war with North Korea, but not without exhausting their combined ground forces and leaving nothing in reserve.
New Army Grooming Regulations Roll Back Wartime Leniency
(Stars and Stripes: Matt Millham)
The Army is cracking down on tattoos, dental ornamentation and haircuts in a long-awaited update to uniform and appearance rules that could make it harder to enlist and advance up the ranks.
Reports, Prosecutions of Sexual Assaults Increase
(Air Force Times: Brian Everstine)
Air Force policy changes for sexual assault have led to a 33 percent increase in reporting of assaults and an increase in prosecution rates, top service officials said.
Twenty Former Marine Generals Want More Money for Amphibs
A constellation of 20 former Marine Corps generals—including a former commandant are throwing their support behind extending the San Antonio-class amphibious warship hull form beyond the Navy's current plan of 11 ships.
To Get His Ambassadors, Obama May Need to Travel to Some Rough Places
(The Washington Post: Al Kamen)
President Obama may have learned how to finally break through the months-long Senate logjam on his ambassadorial nominations.
Vets Demand Action to Address Suicide Spike in Their Ranks
(McClatchy: James Rosen)
Former Iraq and Afghanistan troops met with more than 100 lawmakers on Capitol Hill; attended sessions with senior officials at the Pentagon, the White House, and the VA; and participated in mental-health panels.
U.N. Warns of Increasing Militant Links Between Iraq, Syria
(Reuters: Mirjam Donath)
The United Nations warned about Islamist militant networks increasingly forging links across the border of Syria and Iraq
Syrian Opposition Fails to Win Country's Arab League Seat
(Los Angeles Times: Raja Abdulrahim)
Syria's main opposition political group was rebuffed by the Arab League, which denied the group's request to occupy Syria's seat in the 22-member body.
Boston Bombing Report Finds Familiar Flaws
(The Hill: Mario Trujillo)
A congressional review into the Boston Marathon bombings released Wednesday night found the attack exposed many of the same flaws pointed out nearly a decade ago, following 9/11.
Abu Ghaith Verdict Shows Lingering Impact of Sept. 11 on New Yorkers
(Los Angeles Times: Tina Susman)
Potential jurors were queried about their memories of and feelings about Sept. 11. And those selected to sit on the jury were reminded of it in countless ways.
U.S. Human-Rights Record Chastised in U.N. Report
(The Guardian: Matthew Weaver)
U.N. human-rights committee raises concerns over torture, drone strikes, the death penalty, and NSA data collection.
Hillary's Burma Problem
(Foreign Policy: John Hudson, Catherine Traywick)
It's the crowning achievement of her tenure as secretary of state, and it's unraveling at the seams.
TSA's Expedited Screening Lanes Soon Open to DOD and Coast Guard Civilians
(The Washington Post: Josh Hicks)
Civilian employees of the Defense Department and Coast Guard can access faster screening lanes at major U.S. airports with their DOD identification numbers starting April 15.
DARPA Eyes Big Data to Detect Cyber-Social-Economic-Environmental Threats
Pentagon researchers are proposing a new $13 million project to give commanders a sophisticated new tool to sift through massive volumes of social-media and cyber activity as well as economic and environmental data to flag troubling trends and "anticipate global events."
Big Data, Synthetic Biology, and Space Planes Are the Weapons of the Future
(Defense One: Patrick Tucker)
What are the military's cutting-edge capabilities of the next decade? According to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, it's big data, synthetic biology, and space planes.
Why Are African Countries Buying All These High-Tech Jet Fighters?
(War is Boring: Peter Dorrie)
Governments from Uganda to Angola are investing billions in state-of-the-art combat aircraft—and it's not clear why.
U.S. Venezuela Sanctions May Be 'Important Tool'
Venezuela has the full attention of North and South American diplomats.
Secret Service Bad Boys
(The Washington Post)
Another drinking incident highlights the need for more reforms.
NSA Curbs a Good First Step
President Obama proposed new rules that would go a long way toward ending the most disturbing aspects of this mass collection effort.
Obama Appears Ready to Expand Covert Assistance to Syrian Opposition
(The Washington Post: David Ignatius)
The Obama administration appears to have decided to expand its covert program of training and assistance for the Syrian opposition, deepening U.S. involvement in that brutal and stalemated civil war.
Welcome Help for Ukraine
(The New York Times)
After weeks of crisis in Ukraine — the upheaval in Kiev, the Russian occupation of Crimea, Vladimir Putin's intransigence — the country just got some encouraging economic news.
Time to Hold Russia Accountable for Its Aggression
(CNN: Sen. Robert Menendez)
We have arrived at a crossroads for the international order.
Wouldn't It Be Great to Give A-10s to Ukraine?
(War is Boring: Michael Peck)
Imagine Warthogs battling the Russians.
How the West Can Help Ukraine—and Stop Russia
(The Atlantic: David Frum)
A roadmap for responding to Moscow's aggression.
What Russia's Crimean Annexation Means for East Asia
(Real Clear Defense: Euan Graham)
Moscow's annexation of Crimea and continuing tensions over Ukraine are being felt primarily as a crisis in European and US relations with Russia.
Sen. Levin Warns Putin, Exposes Coming Void for Democrats
(Defense News: John Bennett)
President Barack Obama is resisting Republican calls to "explain to the American people" why it's time to get tough on Russian President Vladimir Putin.
More Guns, Fewer Generals
(American Conservative: Daniel Davis, Young Kim)
Reducing combat capabilities isn't the only way to save the military money.
Obama Cutting Tomahawk Missiles Makes No Sense, Leaves Real Waste Untouched
(Breitbart: Sen. Rand Paul)
For America to remain strong and at peace, we must cut smartly and from the right places.
Robert Kaplan: The Center of Military Power in the World is Moving to Asia
(Christian Science Monitor: Nathan Gardels, Robert Kaplan)
The United States can preserve the peace in the Asia Pacific by seeking not domination, but a favorable balance of power with China.