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Iran Deal Poses Challenges, Karzai Refuses Pact: Early Bird—Brought to You By United Technologies

By Stacy Kaper (@KaperSLK) and Dustin Volz (@dnvolz)

Welcome to NJ's Early Bird, a free morning assembly of the best national security, defense and foreign-policy coverage from around the web. Get this by forward? Click here to sign up directly.


Officials Say Toughest Work on Iran's Nuclear Program Lies Ahead
(The New York Times: Michael Gordon)
A close reading of the four-page footnote-laden Iran deal makes clear that the most formidable diplomatic and technical challenges lie ahead.

Iran, U.S. Clash Over Key Element of Nuclear Deal
(The Washington Post: Joby Warrick)
The euphoria over the signing of a historic nuclear agreement with Iran gave way to sober realism Sunday as the parties clashed over a key element of the deal and congressional skeptics threatened to thwart it.

Accord Reached With Iran to Halt Nuclear Program
(The New York Times: Michael Gordon)
The United States and five other world powers announced a landmark accord Sunday morning that would temporarily freeze Iran's nuclear program and lay the foundation for a more sweeping agreement.


Lawmakers Continue Push for New Iran Sanctions
(The Wall Street Journal: Siobhan Hughes)
A bloc of hardliners in the Senate refused to back down from threats to pass a new round of sanctions on Iran, setting up a clash with the Obama administration.

Israeli Premier: World Is Now 'Much More Dangerous'
(The Washington Post: William Booth)
Israeli leaders denounced the interim Iranian nuclear pact signed by the United States and five world powers as a "historic mistake" that does little to reverse Iran's nuclear ambitions and instead makes the world a more dangerous place.

Afghans Approve Security Pact, but Karzai Adds a Hitch
(The New York Times: Rod Nordland)
Karzai angrily rejected the recommendation of a grand council that he should promptly sign a security agreement with the United States.

Shaken NSA Grapples With an Overhaul
(The Wall Street Journal: Siobhan Gorman)
Shortly after former government contractor Edward Snowden revealed himself in June as the source of leaked National Security Agency documents, the agency's director, Gen. Keith Alexander, offered to resign, according to a senior U.S. official. 



Iran, World Powers Reach Historic Nuclear Deal
(The Washington Post: Anne Gearan, Joby Warrick)
The agreement, sealed at a 3 a.m. signing ceremony in Geneva's Palace of Nations, requires Iran to halt or scale back parts of its nuclear infrastructure, the first such pause in more than a decade.

Israel Grapples With Best Way Forward on Iran
(The Wall Street Journal: Charles Levinson)
Israeli leaders, watching with trepidation over Iran's interim nuclear agreement, are wrangling over how to ensure the next rounds of diplomacy yield the best possible result for their country.

Two-Track Negotiations Led to Iran Nuclear Deal
(The Wall Street Journal: Carol Lee, Jay Solomon, Laurence Norman)
The nuclear agreement between world powers and Iran is the product of two separate diplomatic tracks, one top secret and the other widely publicized—a risky gambit spearheaded by the White House that nearly derailed the talks. 

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Nuclear Accord With Iran Opens Diplomatic Doors in the Mideast
(The New York Times: Mark Landler)
The deal is a seminal moment--one that thrusts foreign policy to the forefront in a White House preoccupied by domestic woes, and one that presents Obama with the chance to chart a new American course in the Middle East for the first time in more than three decades.

Obama: Nuclear Deal Blocks Iran's Path To Bomb
(Associated Press: John Heilprin, Jamey Keaten)
Obama hailed the Iran pact's provisions as key to preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear threat.

A Step, If Modest, Toward Slowing Iran's Weapons Capability
(The New York Times: David Sanger)
The interim accord struck with Iran on Sunday interrupts the country's nuclear progress for the first time in nearly a decade, but requires Iran to make only a modest down payment on the central problem

This Is Bigger Than a Nuclear Deal
(The Atlantic: Uri Friedman)
The agreement with the Islamic Republic isn't just a diplomatic milestone—it symbolizes an unprecedented era in U.S.-Iran relations.

Obama Advised Netanyahu of Iran Talks in September
(Associated Press: Bradley Klapper, Matthew Lee, Julie Pace)
Just after the high Jewish holidays, Obama revealed to Netanyahu that his administration had been engaged in secret, high-level diplomatic talks with the mortal enemy of the Jewish state.

Could a Missed Deadline Spell Doom for the U.S. Nuclear Deterrent?
(Global Security Newswire: Diane Barnes)
The United States could run short of a crucial ingredient for maintaining nuclear warheads -- tritium -- if it misses a 2015 deadline for analyzing the environmental effects of a potential production increase in the material.

Done Deal: Iran to Suspend Nuclear Program, Roll Back Weaponization
(Defense One: Kevin Baron)
Iran has bowed to international demands and agreed to halt its nuclear program in a sweeping six-month deal with Western powers that observers are calling a major diplomatic victory for the Obama administration.

Praise in Iran All the Way to the Top, Where Efforts Reportedly Preceded a President
(The New York Times: Thomas Erdbrink)
After years of seemingly endless bad tidings of more international sanctions, more inflation and more saber rattling, many in this capital received the news of the first nuclear agreement between Iran and world powers in more than a decade like an awakening from a bad dream


Karzai Again Delays Signing U.S.-Afghan Security Deal
(Associated Press: Patrick Quinn, Rahim Faiez)
Karzai will not sign a security deal with the United States, ignoring a recommendation by an assembly of Afghan elders and leaders that he do so by the end of 2013.

How Is Hamid Karzai Still Standing?
(The New York Times: William Dalrymple)
Afghanistan's presidential election is set for April, and the country's future seems to hang in part on the fraught internal family politics of the Karzais.

Pakistani Police Stop NATO Supply Truck Blockade
(Associated Press: Riaz Khan)
Pakistani police prevented activists who were protesting U.S. drone strikes from blocking trucks carrying NATO troop supplies to and from neighboring Afghanistan on Monday.

USAID: Aid Groups Also Stuck Waiting for Afghan Troop Agreement
(Defense One: Kevin Baron)
USAID said that the international aid community is waiting for Afghanistan's loya jirga to approve the bilateral security agreement governing U.S. troops beyond 2014.


Congress Appears Willing To Give Iran Deal Time To Work
(The Los Angeles Times: Richard Simon)
Republicans and some Democrats, particularly those with close ties to Israel, expressed skepticism. But most of the reaction was relatively mild, with even many critics suggesting that Congress would hold off on any new sanctions for at least the next six months.

Congress Members React To The Iran Nuclear Deal
(The Washington Post: Ed O'Keefe)
Boehner: The interim deal has been and will continue to be met with healthy skepticism.

Markey Seeks Cost Options for Modernizing Ballistic-Missile Submarines
(Global Security Newswire: Rachel Oswald)
A proposed amendment to the defense authorization bill would require the Navy to update Congress on cost projections for different alternatives for modernizing the nation's ballistic-missile submarine fleet.


Arab States Show Cautious Optimism on Nuclear Deal
(The Wall Street Journal: Ellen Knickmeyer)
Saudi Arabia maintained a pointed silence on the Iran nuclear pact, while other Gulf and Arab states gave a cautious welcome to a deal.

Iran Deal Could Affect Talks on Syria, Palestine
(Associated Press)
How this plays out depends on whether Iran eventually ends some of the policies that have disturbed the West, such as backing proxy militias in Middle East hotspots. 

Intrigue Deepens Over Egypt-Russia Arms Deals
(Defense News: Awad Mustafa)
The rumors surrounding an arms deal between Russia and Egypt deepened last week after the Egyptian Air Force commander stood up his Russian counterpart for a scheduled meeting at the Dubai Airshow. 

Wanted: A Company Willing to Help Destroy Syria's Chemical Weapons
(National Journal: Marina Koren)
The organization in charge of dismantling Syria's chemical-weapons program is rushing to find a country willing to host the destruction of the Syrian stockpile.


Clock Ticks on Authority for Guantanamo Detention
(Associated Press: Lara Jakes)
As Congress considers whether to grant trials and transfers to most detainees, time may be running out on the law that allows the U.S. to hold them.

Bahrain: Two Former Guantanamo Detainees Arrested
(Associated Press)
Two former Guantanamo Bay detainees were arrested while crossing the border from Saudi Arabia and charged with allegedly plotting attacks.


Top Brass Claims Personnel Costs Are Swamping DoD, But Budget Figures Say Otherwise
(Military Times: Andrew Tilghman)
Military and civilian personnel costs have grown by 78 percent between 2001 and 2012, yet the overall defense budget has been growing even faster.

Pentagon Outlines Stronger Military Presence in the Arctic
(Defense One: Kevin Baron)
Hagel introduced a new Pentagon plan for Arctic security that promises to significantly increase U.S. military resources and attention to the polar region.


Kerry Plays the Closer in Iran
(The Washington Post: Anne Gearan)
Nearly all the roles Kerry has played in a long career in public life came into view: pragmatic deal-cutting senator, i-dotting lawyer, jaded war veteran and ambitious politician who once sought but fell short of the presidency. 

Kerry Defends Nuclear Pact With Iran
(The New York Times: Mark Landler)
Kerry said the deal, signed early Sunday morning in Geneva, would lock in place nuclear activities that bring Iran closer to having a bomb and subject its nuclear facilities to unprecedented international inspections.


Navy Yard Gunman Had Clearance Pulled
(Associated Press: Lolita Baldor)
Senior U.S. officials say the company that employed the Washington Navy Yard shooter withdrew his access to classified material briefly but restored it and never told the Navy.

XO Fired For Drunken Driving
(Navy Times: Tony Lombardo)
A squadron XO has been fired after receiving a citation for drunken driving, Naval Air Forces Atlantic reported Friday night.


Gear, Gadgets Show Army's Energy-saving Side
(Army Times: Joe Gould)
The Army is exploring technologies that power radios and other electronics by squeezing juice from the rays of the sun or the movements of a hiking soldier.


Additional Remains Found of Pilot Killed in Iraq
(Air Force Times: Brian Everstine)
About seven years after he died, and a year and a half after the search for his remains restarted in Iraq, there will be another ceremony for Maj. Troy Gilbert at Arlington National Cemetery. 


Coast Guard Boosts SAPR Budget for Better Training, More Staff
(Navy Times: Meghann Myers)
As the Coast Guard works to eliminate sexual assault within the service, experts are looking at ways to beef up its prevention and response program.


Honduras: Voters Face Historic Choice Against Troubled Backdrop
(The Los Angeles Times: Tracy Wilkinson)
Hondurans were voting for president Sunday, choosing from the most diverse slate of candidates in national history but in an election overshadowed by deadly violence and endemic poverty.


China Sets Air Defense Zone Over East China Sea
(Associated Press)
The Chinese Defense Ministry issued a map of an East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone that includes a chain of disputed islands also claimed by Japan, triggering a protest from Tokyo.

China Says It Just Flight Tested Its New Stealth Drone
(Defense One: Kedar Pavgi)
The Chinese military conducted a test flight of its Lijian stealth drone, also known as "Sharp Sword."

Filipino Typhoon Survivors Cheer Pacquiao Triumph
(The Associated Press: Bullit Marquez)
Thousands of survivors of Typhoon Haiyan celebrated the victory of Filipino boxing icon Manny Pacquiao, bringing back laughter briefly to the storm-ravaged central Philippine region.


Backstage Brawl Over A Deal
(The Washington Post: David Ignatius)
There's sharp disagreement among observers about the potential risks and benefits of this seeming breakthrough between Iran and the West after 34 years of hostility.

The Deal Is For Real
(Defense One: Joseph Cirincione)
Every president since Jimmy Carter has tried to make a deal with the Islamic Republic of Iran. None have succeeded until Obama.

The Iran Deal: Is This Nixon Goes to China? Could Be...
(National Journal: Michael Hirsh)
For the first time in decades, the U.S. is forging its own path in the Mideast, in a move that could potentially transform the dangerous dynamics of the region.

Will The NSA Be Reformed?
(The Los Angeles Times: Doyle McManus)
As Congress counts only a few working days remaining in its year, the momentum toward intelligence reform has slowed.

Iran's Rouhani: He's No Gorbachev
(The Los Angeles Times: Max Boot)
Rouhani and Khamenei might be willing to temporarily suspend their nuclear program in return for sanctions relief, but there is no sign they are willing to end their cold war against the West.

The Long Goodbye in Afghanistan
(The New York Times)
Regardless of what Karzai, the tribal council and the Afghan Parliament decide, President Obama still has to make a case for the deal to the American people.

Prince Alwaleed bin Talal: An Ally Frets About American Retreat
(The Wall Street Journal: Matthew Kaminski)
Influential Saudi royal Prince Alwaleed bin Talal talks about the U.S. debacle in Syria, the Iranian threat, and 'this perception that America is going down.

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National Journal's Early Bird is not produced by or officially sanctioned by the U.S. Department of Defense. It was created to serve the defense community upon U.S. DoD's announcement, on Nov. 1, 2013, of its decision to discontinue the much-beloved Early Bird news report.

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Don't Miss Today's Top Stories

Keeps me informed about national leadership concerns."

Senior Military Officer

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Mark, Compensation Analyst

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Dave, HR specialist

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AJ, US Army Officer

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