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Industry Puts Money on Thornberry for HASC Chair, Low Expectations for Ukraine Talks

By Jordain Carney (@jordainc)

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


U.S. Readies Sanctions on Russia
(Associated Press: Lara Jakes)
Expectations for a breakthrough are low in the Geneva talks between the U.S., Russia, Ukraine, and the European Union.

Rep. Mac Thornberry Tightens Grip on HASC Gavel
(Politico: Jeremy Herb, Austin Wright)
The Texas Republican outpaced his rivals by collecting nearly $70,000 in campaign contributions from the defense and aerospace industry in the first quarter of the year.

Obama Looks to Salvage Asia 'Pivot' as Allies Fret About China
(Reuters: Matt Spetalnick, Manuel Mogato)
The president's toughest challenge is to reassure skeptical leaders that the United States intends to be more than just a casual observer in the region.


CIA's Former Lawyer Fires Back on Senate Report, Criticizes Feinstein
(McClatchy: James Rosen)
Rizzo strongly denies the Senate Intelligence Committee's conclusion that 10 interrogation techniques failed to produce significant intelligence or to prevent more terrorist attacks.


U.S. Working on Nonlethal Aid Package for Ukraine
(Associated Press: Julie Pace, Robert Burns)
The assistance could include medical supplies and clothing for Ukraine's military, but was expected to stop short of providing body armor and other military-style equipment.

What the U.S. Wants Vs. What the U.S. Will Settle for Heading Into Ukraine Talk 
(Associated Press: Jim Heintz)
A look at the parties in the talks and their levers of power.

Russia Mulls Lawsuit Against U.S. in WTO Over Sanctions
(Reuters: Megan Davies)
Russia was "closely monitoring the effect of this measure on Russian operators and on the potential violation of WTO Agreements."


NATO to Step Up Presence Near Russian Borders
(The Guardian: Julian Borger, Paul Lewis)
Air patrols and warships in Baltic and eastern Mediterranean will be increased to reassure NATO members in Eastern Europe.

Here's What the CIA Director Was Really Doing in Kiev
(The Daily Beast: Eli Lake, Josh Rogin)
The head of the CIA just made a secretive journey to Ukraine—to do what, he won't say. But the answer could change the power equation in the hottest of geopolitical hot spots.

State Department Updates Ukraine Travel Warning
(Politico: Tal Kopan)
The alert also added detail about dangerous demonstrations, noting that some behind recent attacks "appear" to be Russian forces.

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Poland Wants Larger U.S., NATO Troop Presence
(Military Times: Marcus Weisgerber)
Poland's Defense Secretary Tomasz Siemoniak is scheduled to meet with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Thursday to discuss ways the military could partner more with Poland.


Congress Unhappy With DOD, VA Health-Records Progress
(Military Times: Leo Shane III)
Defense and VA officials have repeatedly worked to assure Congress that the departments already are sharing significant amounts of medical information.

Peter King: Rand Paul 'Feeding Into Paranoia'
(Politico: Lucy McCalmont)
His comments follow a growing backlash this week from the Right against Paul's stance on foreign policy.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand Demands More Details on Reassigned Soldiers
(USA Today: Tom Vanden Brook)
The New York Democrat wants information on the 588 soldiers removed from sensitive posts after the military's sexual-assault scandal prompted rescreening.


Pentagon Plans Major Review of Military Justice System
(Los Angeles Times: Timothy Phelps)
Defense Department has been under congressional pressure to rethink how it handles sexual-assault cases.

Military Hotline Aids Sexual-Assault Victims
(USA Today: Tom Vanden Brook)
One of the first things you notice about the Pentagon's sexual-assault support hotline is its nonmilitary look.

CentCom Commander Lauds U.S. Intelligence Advantage
(Tampa Tribune: Howard Altman)
As the man in charge of U.S. military efforts in a region of the world that includes Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Iraq, Syria, and 15 other countries, Austin has a lot that keeps him up at night.


Meeting of Israeli, Palestinian Peace Negotiators Postponed
(Reuters: Ari Rabinovitch, Ali Sawafta, Nidal al-Mughrabi)
A spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said the session had been rescheduled for Thursday at the request of the United States.

Former Iran Official Describes Alleged U.S. Sabotage of Nuke Program
(Fox News: Jonathan Hunt)
Fereydoon Abbasi said the U.S. would prevent companies from sending equipment to Iran—but then put that equipment on the black market and ensured it would damage Iranian operations.

Number of Foreign Fighters in Syria Jumped from 800 to 8,000 in the Past Year
(Defense One: Kevin Baron)
Critics have hammered Obama for not intervening militarily sooner, but the top U.S. general in charge of the region said that Syria is the most formidable problem he's faced in nearly 40 years.

Syrian Opposition Accuses Assad's Forces of New Poison-Gas Attack
(Reuters: Oliver Holmes)
They said the chemical attack, the fourth the opposition has reported this month, was in the Harasta neighborhood.


Afghanistan Election Results Increase Chance U.S. Will Stay
(Air Force Times: Andrew Tilghman)
But a final bilateral security agreement that would clear the way for up to 10,000 U.S. troops to remain for another decade may still be months away.

NATO Gives Afghans $6M in Medical Supplies Ahead of Fighting Season
(Stars and Stripes: Matt Millham)
The kits contain roughly the same equipment found on U.S. Army ground ambulance.

Pakistan Taliban Says Truce Over but Talks Ongoing
(Associated Press: Munir Ahmed)
The surprising announcement throws into doubt the future of a peace process pushed as the best way to end years of fighting in the northwest that has killed thousands of people.


Promised U.S. 'Pivot' to Asia Falls Short
(The Washington Post: David Nakamura)
The president aims to reinvigorate his strategy with upcoming trips after failing to meet lofty expectations.

China to Debut at RIMPAC While Russia Bows Out
(The Honolulu Star-Advertiser)
Russia's out and China is in. Two years ago it was the other way around.

South Korea Assembly Approves Cost-Sharing Agreement With United States
(Stars and Stripes: Ashley Rowland, Yoo Kyong Chang)
The agreement offsets the costs of stationing 28,500 troops on the peninsula.

USS Bonhomme Richard Heads to Capsized Korea Ferry
(Stars and Stripes: Ashley Rowland)
The ferry was carrying 477 people, including 325 high school students, when it sent out a distress signal.


U.S. Approves First Transatlantic Flight for F-35 Fighter Jet
Warplane will make its international debut in two air shows near London in July, reflecting growing confidence in $392 billion program.


PM Interview: Air Force Gen. Mark Welsh
(Popular Mechanics: Joe Pappalardo)
The Air Force chief of staff on cyberwar, the next generation of stealth, and the future of air warfare.

Air Force General Backs A-10 Retention
(Arizona Daily Star: Joe Ferguson)
A top Air Force official had one word to describe the proposed cuts threatening to ground the A-10 fleet: "Heinous."

Lawmaker Pushes AF Academy on Religious Expression
(Colorado Springs Gazette: Tom Roeder)
Rep. Doug Lamborn penned a letter signed by 21 of his colleagues demanding that the Air Force relax its rules on religious expression.


Marines Seek New Tech to Get Ashore Vs. Missiles; Reinventing Amphib Assault
(Breaking Defense: Sydney Freedberg Jr.)
The new Corps concept, Expeditionary Force 21, predicts long-range threats will force the fleet to stay at least 65 nautical miles offshore.


Veterans Slam New York Times Piece Linking Vets to Hate Groups
(Army Times: Jeff Schogol)
Paul Rieckhoff, director of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, was outraged by Belew's piece, which he called "sensational, slanderous and incredibly offensive to veterans."

Jill Biden Promotes Post-9/11 GI Bill Website
(Associated Press: Darlene Superville)
Using the website, service members can estimate tuition and fees, housing allowances, and book stipends for each school.

Patients Rate VA Medical Centers High for Satisfaction
(Air Force Times: Patricia Kime)
The VA's satisfaction index for inpatient care, 84, and its index for outpatient care, 82, remained consistent for the second straight year and have held steady for the past decade.


Unfinished Business Complicates Hillary Clinton's Diplomatic Legacy
(The New York Times: Mark Landler, Amy Chozick)
It was a simple question to someone accustomed to much tougher ones: What was her proudest achievement as secretary of State?


Suspect in Boston Marathon Bombing Hoax Sent to Psychiatric Facility
(Associated Press)
Kevin Edson, arrested hours after ceremonies to mark first anniversary of bombing, is being held on $100,000 bail.


9/11 Families Claim FBI Spying on Guantanamo Legal Team 'Sabotage'
(The Guardian: Spencer Ackerman)
Some victims' relatives speculate that the FBI was trying to sabotage commissions in order to bring 9/11 case back to federal court.


DOD Quietly Expanding AFRICOM Missions
(Air Force Times: Andrew Tilghman)
Those threats in the region have helped transform Camp Lemonnier from a ramshackle outpost of a few hundred troops a decade ago into a hub of operations for AFRICOM.


Russia Has No Incentive to Compromise
(The Washington Post)
U.S. sanctions on Russia over Ukraine would buy negotiating power.

Solution in Ukraine Slips Almost Out of Reach
(USA Today)
Putin poses no more a match for the West than his Soviet predecessors did. The question is whether the U.S. and its allies can still muster their Cold War resolve.

Watch Out, Ukraine, America Is Giving You Counterinsurgency Advice
(War Is Boring: Michael Peck)
Why should Kiev listen to a country that lost three wars?

The U.S. Is Being Routed by Russia in the Information War Over Ukraine
(New Republic: Kevin Rothrock)
For all its success in rallying the international and European communities to its side, the United States' effort to win over Russians has failed.

Is North Korea About to Collapse?
(Real Clear Defense: Christopher Lee)
If North Korea's regime collapses today, it would most likely be due to Kim Jong Un's lack of leadership, common sense, and rational judgment.

U.S. Army Still Has Big, Problematic Missiles on Guam
(War Is Boring: Joe Trevithick)
Pentagon sent missiles a year ago following North Korean threats.

The Real Reason China Wants Aircraft Carriers
(Real Clear Defense: Bryan McGrath, Seth Cropsey)
The strategic target of the PLAN in building a carrier force is not the U.S. Navy, but the network of alliances that longstanding U.S. economic and security interests in the region aim to preserve.

3 Ways a Corrupt Chinese Military Hurts the U.S.
(U.S. News & World Report: Aki Peritz)
Chinese corruption can cause problems on both sides of the Pacific.

The Navy Is About to Transform Almost Everything
(Real Clear Defense: Daniel Goure)
Transformation is back – at least in the U.S. Navy. Quietly, in some instances almost stealthily, the Navy has been investing in an array of new capabilities that when deployed will transform operations on and from the sea.

Rep. King: 'I Don't Think Rand Paul is Capable' of 'Intelligent Debate' on Foreign Policy Issues
(Defense News: John Bennett)
If Paul runs for the Republican presidential nomination, his biggest critic just might King, who once again is sharply criticizing the tea party darling's foreign policy views.

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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

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