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Iran Slows Nuke Growth Under Rouhani, Lockheed Cuts 4K Jobs, Senate Nears Defense-Authorization Vote Iran Slows Nuke Growth Under Rouhani, Lockheed Cuts 4K Jobs, Senate Ne...

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Early Bird

Iran Slows Nuke Growth Under Rouhani, Lockheed Cuts 4K Jobs, Senate Nears Defense-Authorization Vote

November 15, 2013

By Sara Sorcher (@SaraSorcherNJ), Jordain Carney (@jordainc) and Dustin Volz (@dnvolz)

EDITOR'S NOTE: Welcome to NJ's Early Bird, a 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.

Report: Iran Puts Brakes on Nuclear Expansion
(The Washington Post; Joby Warrick)
U.N. officials report dramatic slowdown in growth of Iran's atomic facilities in lead-up to nuclear talks.

 

CIA's Financial Spying Bags Data on Americans
(The Wall Street Journal; Siobhan Gorman, Devlin Barrett, Jennifer Valentino-Devries)
The Central Intelligence Agency is building a vast database of international money transfers that includes millions of Americans' financial and personal data.

Lockheed Martin Slashes 4,000 Jobs
(USA Today; Adam Shell)
With a decrease in government spending, the defense contractor also said it was closing and consolidating several of its U.S. facilities.

Senate Begins Defense-Authorization Work
(The Hill; Jeremy Herb, Carlo Munoz)
Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., took the first procedural step on the measure Thursday, filing cloture to end debate on proceeding to the bill, a vote that's not likely until next week.

U.S. Ships in Philippines Preparing Typhoon Relief Operations
(Los Angeles Times; David Cloud)
The aircraft carrier George Washington and four other Navy ships in Leyte Gulf in the Philippines on Thursday were preparing to begin relief operations for survivors of Typhoon Haiyan, Navy officials said.

IRAN

U.N. Says Iran Has Virtually Frozen Nuclear Program in Last Few Months
(Wall Street Journal; Carol Lee, Jay Solomon)
The president said such a move would undermine attempts to solve the issue peacefully and avoid another Middle East military conflict.

Obama Says U.S. Loses Nothing by Waiting on Iran Talks
(Bloomberg; Margaret Talev, Terry Atlas)
U.S. President Barack Obama defended offering Iran “modest” relief on sanctions in exchange for progress on nuclear talks and urged Congress to hold off on imposing more economic penalties.

Inside Obama's Iran Strategy
(The Daily Beast; Eli Lake, Josh Rogin)
The United States is prepared to allow Iran to recoup up to $10 billion in revenues lost to sanctions, according to a U.S. government estimate of sanctions relief proposed this weekend at Geneva.

INTELLIGENCE

CIA Collecting Data on International Money Transfers
(The New York Times; Charlie Savage, Mark Mazzetti)
The Central Intelligence Agency is secretly collecting bulk records of international money transfers handled by companies like Western Union under the same law that the National Security Agency uses for its huge database of Americans’ phone records.

Americans' Personal Data Shared with CIA, IRS, Others in Security Probe
(McClatchy; Marisa Taylor)
U.S. agencies collected and shared the personal information of thousands of Americans in an attempt to root out untrustworthy federal workers that ended up scrutinizing people who had no direct ties to the U.S. government and simply had purchased certain books.

FBI Director Warns of Cyberattacks; Other Security Chiefs Say Terrorism Threat Has Altered
(The Washington Post; Greg Miller)
FBI Director James Comey testified Thursday that the risk of cyberattacks is likely to exceed the danger posed by al-Qaida and other terrorist networks as the top national security threat to the United States and will become the dominant focus of law enforcement and intelligence services.

NSA Chief Says Snowden Leaked Up to 200,000 Secret Documents
(Reuters; Mark Hosenball)
Officials said that while investigators now believe they know the range of documents that Snowden accessed, they remain unsure which documents he downloaded for leaking to the media.

Spy Scandal Weighs on U.S. Tech Firms in China
(Reuters; Matthew Miller)
U.S. technology companies including Cisco Systems, IBM, and Microsoft may face new challenges selling their goods and services in China as fallout from the U.S. spying scandal starts to take a toll.

Shadow Games
(U.S. News; Paul Shinkman)
Culture of leaks at CIA, Pentagon and false portryals dog classified raids.

CONGRESS

Gillibrand Supporters Wary of Her Changes to Sexual-Assault Bill
(The Hill; Jeremy Herb)
The senator is considering modifying the bill so it can pass a 60-vote threshold.

McCaskill Makes It Personal in Battle Over Military Assaults
(National Journal; Stacy Kaper)
Sen. Claire McCaskill is frustrated that reforms she has championed haven't gotten more credit. And she appears miffed about the attention rival Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is getting. 

Armed Services Seeks to Convince Others on Sequester Dangers
(The Hill; Jeremy Herb)
Republicans on the House Armed Services Committee kicked off an education campaign Thursday to convince other House members to reverse sequestration for the Pentagon.

Top HASC Dem on White House: 'They Don't Trust Us'
(Defense News; John Bennett)
Congressional Democrats' frustration with the Obama White House continued to seep into public view Thursday, with the party's top House Armed Services Committee member criticizing the administration's national security team.

Republicans to Seek Restricting Detainee Transfers to Yemen
(The Hill; Jeremy Herb)
Sens. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., and Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., are working on an amendment to restrict transferring Guantanamo detainees to Yemen.

Rep. Hunter: Congress Must Scrap Generous DOD Benefits for Future Forces
(Breaking Defense; Colin Clark, Sydney Freedberg Jr.)
Hunter was careful to argue that those currently in the military should still get the benefits promised them, but the next group must receive reduced benefits.

Senator Says Army Will 'Reverse' JTRS Acquisition Strategy
(Inside Defense)
A high-ranking Democratic senator has announced that the Army will reverse its acquisition plans for the Joint Tactical Radio System's Rifleman and Manpack radios, moving from a single acquisition strategy to a multi-vendor competition, according to a statement released late Wednesday.

HOMELAND SECURITY

Officials Say Terrorist Threat on U.S. Soil Is Declining
(Los Angeles Times; Timothy Phelps)
The terrorist threat to Americans is greater overseas than at home and is significantly lower than before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, continuing a years-long trend, U.S. officials told a Senate committee Thursday.

TSA's Behavior Detection Procedure Is Not a Good Way to Spot Terrorists
(Atlantic Wire; Brian Feldman)
A new report from the Government Accountability Office concerning Transportation Security Administration screening procedures has found one aspect of passenger screening to be the same as or slightly better than chance.

AFGHANISTAN/PAKISTAN

Death of Pakistani Taliban Chief Spawns Martyr Debate
(Wall Street Journal; Saeed Shah)
At its core, this debate is challenging the religious underpinning of the Pakistani Taliban and the legitimacy of their jihad against the Pakistani state and armed forces.

Afghanistan's Air Force on Road to Independence
(USA Today; Jim Michaels)
Afghanistan's young air force has nearly tripled the number of casualty evacuation missions it has flown this year, coalition officials say, a critical step in efforts to get the country's security forces to operate independently.

DEFENSE DEPARTMENT

Pentagon Comptroller Hale 'Hopeful' for Sequestration 'Micro-Deal'
(Breaking Defense; Sydney Freedberg Jr.)
The Pentagon's top budgeteer says that even though he doesn't know what's going on in the budget conference committee he still has hope.

Hagel: Pentagon Should Have Lower Profile in U.S. Foreign Policy
(Defense News; Andrew Tilghman)
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Thursday that the American people have grown skeptical about using military force and the Pentagon should play a more limited role in future US foreign policy.

Hagel Defends Kerry's Engagement with Iran
(Defense One; Stephanie Gaskell)
Hagel said "engagement doesn't mean negotiation" when it comes to talking to Iran—and defended Secretary of State John Kerry's efforts.

Hagel 'Felt Sorry' for Kerry After Iran Negotiations Faltered
(National Journal; Sara Sorcher)
Hagel said he "felt sorry" for Kerry as members of Congress and pundits skewered the Obama administration for failing to reach an agreement on Iran's nuclear program in Geneva last week.

Some Military Outreach Programs Being Cut
(Associated Press; Pauline Jelinek)
The Navy's daredevil Blue Angels and the Air Force's Thunderbirds will be back at air shows across the country through the coming year. But continued budget cuts mean the military won't participate in about 1,000 other community events.

SYRIA

Syrian Air Raid Kills Rebel Commander in Aleppo: Activists
(Reuters)
A Syrian rebel commander in a main Islamist brigade was killed and two others were injured in an air strike by President Bashar al-Assad's forces on Aleppo, activists said on Friday, in a setback to rebels defending the city against a loyalist attack.

North Korea Denies Aiding Syria in Fight Against Rebels
(Reuters)
North Korea denied it was sending military aid to the Syrian government, one of its few close allies, in its battle against rebel forces after media reports said that Pyongyang had sent advisors and helicopter pilots.

Syria Falls Apart: Kurds Declare Self-Rule, Assad Besieges Aleppo
(The Daily Beast; Jamie Dettmer)
With the Kurds declaring self-rule, Assad bearing down on Aleppo and jihadist fighters threatening to boycott peace talks, the quagmire in Syria is dissolving into chaos.

Driving Out Jihadis, Syrian Kurds Carve Out Zone
(Associated Press; Bassem Mroue)
Syria's Kurds have dramatically strengthened their hold on the far northeast reaches of the country, carving out territory as they drive out Islamic militant fighters allied to the rebellion and declaring their own civil administration in areas under their control this week amid the chaos of the civil war.

Assad Allies Profit From Syria's Lucrative Food Trade
(Reuters; Jonathan Saul)
As food begins to flow into Bashar al-Assad's Syria after several months of disruption, some of the president's close allies stand to make substantial profits from the secretive trade.

MIDDLE EAST

Israeli Warplanes Strike Gaza After Militant Mortar Fire
(Agence France-Presse; Adel Zaanoun)
The strikes in northern Gaza came just hours after witnesses reported an Israeli army incursion across the Strip's eastern borders, to which Islamist militants claimed to have responded with mortar fire.

Israelis Torch Palestinian Home to Avenge Killing of a Soldier
(Wall Street Journal; Joshua Mitnick)
Israelis torched a Palestinian home before dawn Thursday to avenge the stabbing death of a soldier by Palestinian youth the day before, a sign of the tensions simmering in the background of faltering, U.S.-sponsored peace negotiations.

Israeli Cyber Game Drags U.S., Russia to Brink of Mideast War
(Defense News; Barbara Opall-Rome)
The war game began in Israel with coordinated cyber and terrorist attacks: An explosion at an offshore drilling platform, multiple blasts in Haifa and Tel Aviv and network disruptions that paralyzed hospitals and sent aviation authorities scrambling to regain contact with an inbound airliner.

Official: Al-Qaida in Iraq Strongest Since 2006
(Associated Press; Eileen Sullivan)
The head of the national counterterrorism center said Thursday the al-Qaida affiliate is the strongest it's been since a peak in 2006.

Egypt Courts Russia, Signaling Anger Toward U.S.
(Wall Street Journal; Tamer El-Ghobashy, Leila Elmergawi, Gregory White)
Egypt and a visiting Russian delegation held high-level military talks that both nations described as a "reactivation" of a long-standing relationship, raising questions about whether Cairo was recalibrating its foreign policy because of displeasure with the U.S.

Why Dylan Davies Disappeared
(The Daily Beast; Eli Lake)
The ex-contractor, a key source for last month's 60 Minutes report on Benghazi, has gone into hiding.

PHILIPPINES

Asia Rivalries Play Role in Aid to the Philippines
(The New York Times; Andrew Jacobs)
The outpouring of foreign assistance for the hundreds of thousands left homeless and hungry by Typhoon Haiyan is shaping up to be a monumental show of international largess-- and a not-so-subtle dose of one-upmanship directed at the region’s fastest-rising power, China.

U.S. Carrier Starts Philippine Storm Relief; Death Toll Jumps
(Reuters; Stuart Grudgings)
A U.S. aircraft carrier started unloading food and water in the typhoon-ravaged central Philippines.

INDUSTRY

Northrop Deploys Radar Jamming on Small UAS
(Flightglobal; Jon Hemmerdinger)
Northrop declined to provide more details about the mission or the payload, with representatives focusing on the increasing ability of small UAS to operate sophisticated missions.

Elmendorf Pilots Create F-22 'Rapid' Deployment
(Air Force Times; Brian Everstine)
What began as an idea on a napkin in an Alaska bar is now a new Air Force capability that could change how F-22s are deployed to the Pacific and around the world.

ARMY

Army to Sacrifice GCV to Stave Off 'Creeping Hollowness'
(Breaking Defense; Sydney Freedberg Jr.)
None of the services are under more intense assault from both inside and outside the Pentagon than the Army. And the Army—from Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno on down—is starting to very publicly fight back.

Army Seems Ready to Scrap its Efforts for New Camouflage as Congress Looks for Uniformity
(The Washington Post; David Fahrenthold)
The Army’s effort to design a new camouflage uniform-- which has taken three years and cost at least $2.9 million-- ­appears to have stalled and may never produce a new design.

NAVY

Navy Seeks to Sever Ties With Tainted Contractor
(Defense News; Tom Vanden Brook)
The Navy ended three contracts for cause with Glenn Defense Marine Asia valued at $196 million.

Exclusive Interview: Navy's Top Lawman on 'a New NCIS'
(Marine Times; Sam Fellman)
Former gunnery officer. Chicago gang-buster. CrossFit buff. Cancer survivor.

MARINE CORPS

Marines Killed when 'Duds' Blew Up During Cleanup
(The Wall Street Journal; Ben Kesling, Julian Barnes)
The Marine Corps on Thursday provided details of an accident that killed four Marines Wednesday at Camp Pendleton in California, blaming a surprise detonation of unexploded ordnance during a firing-range cleanup.

Marines Close Air Operations Center in Afghanistan, Hand Off Mission to Air Force
(Marine Times; Kent Miller)
Four years ago, as Marines swept into Afghanistan's southwest provinces to engage in some of the fiercest fighting of the war.

AIR FORCE

Air Force Could Still Take Action Against Ex-SAPRO Chief Acquitted in Groping Case
(Air Force Times; Kristin Davis)
The military, which had sought to take jurisdiction of the case, could court-martial 42-year-old Jeffrey Krusinski, who was acquitted by a jury of charges of drukenly groping a woman earlier this year.

Fanning: Air Force Having Trouble Keeping Pilots, and Pay isn't the Problem
(Defense One; Tom Shoop)
The Air Force is offering big bonuses to keep its pilots in the service, but they’re not taking them because budget constraints are forcing the service to limit both current flying hours and opportunities to fly the next generation of aircraft, acting Air Force Secretary Eric Fanning said Thursday.

Pilots Rejecting Bonuses to Leave Service
(Military.com; Richard Sisk)
Loss of flying hours under the budget cuts has increasingly led Air Force pilots to reject lucrative reenlistment bonuses to take jobs with the civilian airlines, acting Air Force Secretary Eric Fanning said Thursday.

ASIA/PACIFIC

The Case for Japanese Militarization
(Real Clear Defense; Kathryn Alexeef)
The ongoing dispute between China and Japan in the South China Seas has led to increased focus on the future of Japanese security.

China Tests High-Speed Precision-Guided Torpedo
(The Washington Free Beacon; Bill Gertz)
China's navy recently conducted a test of a new high-speed maneuvering torpedo that poses a threat to U.S. ships and submarines.

VETERANS

First Lady: Vets Program Has Hired, Trained 380K
(Associated Press; Kyle Hightower)
Michelle Obama said Thursday that companies participating in a program to help veterans find employment have exceeded their initial goal by training or hiring 380,000 veterans and military spouses.

ANALYSIS/COMMENTARY

Why Saudi Arabia Hates the Iran Deal
(Foreign Policy; David Kenner)
For the first time since the United States emerged as a major power in the Middle East, all of its key allies—Egypt, Israel, and Saudi Arabia—are in open revolt against its policies.

The FBI Is Helping the NSA Spy, but Senators Don't Want to Know About It
(Foreign Policy; Shane Harris)
Classified documents disclosed by Edward Snowden show a little-known FBI organization, the Data Intercept Technology Unit, is apparently in charge of obtaining information from companies as part of the NSA's Prism system.

The Next Bin Laden
(National Journal; Michael Hirsh)
Instead of spectacular attacks on iconic targets, al-Qaida's new leader wants small, opportunistic strikes. In other words, restrain the NSA at your peril.

As Powers Push for Talks, Syria Balance Tilts Towards Assad
(Reuters; Samia Nakhoul)
More than two and a half years into the civil war devastating Syria, the United States and Russia are pushing the combatants to the negotiating table in Geneva, but on terms that mark a shift in favor of Bashar al-Assad against the increasingly fragmented rebels seeking to oust him.

What Iran Nuclear Accord Should Look Like
(USA Today; Michael O'Hanion)
Tehran must freeze most or all of nuclear programs as well as construction of new reactor.

Iranian Consensus Does Not Necessarily Mean a Good Deal for the West
(The Washington Post; Patrick Clawson, Mehdi Khalaji)
The challenge for the Obama administration is to take steps that would make a nuclear accord a success for U.S. interests rather than facilitate the Islamic Republic’s hegemony at home and in the region.

Afghan Women's Gains are at Risk
(The Washington Post; Laura Bush)
Under the Taliban, only 5,000 Afghan girls were enrolled in school. By 2011, there were 2.4 million. Yet these gains are fragile, and there is a real danger that they will be reversed.

Obama Vs. The Generals
(Politico; Rosa Brooks)
How has the president—the man who promised to "finish the job" in Afghanistan, close the door on the unpopular Iraq War and "end the mind-set that got us into the war in the first place"—managed a military he often seems to regard with mistrust and unease

To contact us, send email to earlybird@nationaljournal.com

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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