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Kerry Reroutes to Geneva, Netanyahu Rejects Emerging Iran Deal, Pentagon Cuts to Cost More Later Kerry Reroutes to Geneva, Netanyahu Rejects Emerging Iran Deal, Pentag...

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Kerry Reroutes to Geneva, Netanyahu Rejects Emerging Iran Deal, Pentagon Cuts to Cost More Later

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Secretary of State John Kerry speaks during a press conference with the Jordanian Foreign Minister in the capital Amman on November 7, 2013.(Jason Reed/AFP/Getty Images)

By Sara Sorcher (@SaraSorcherNJ) 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.

 

KERRY MAKING UNPLANNED VISIT TO GENEVA FOR IRAN TALKS
(NBC News; Ann Curry)
Secretary of State John Kerry will make an unplanned trip to Geneva Friday afternoon — where intense nuclear negotiations are underway — to meet with Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif.

IRAN OFFERED TEMPORARY RELIEF FROM SOME SANCTIONS
(The Washington Post; Joby Warrick, William Booth)
Western and Iranian officials hinted at an announcement as early as Friday on a phased plan that reportedly would include the most significant restrictions on Iran's nuclear facilities in nearly a decade.

ISRAELI PM 'UTTERLY REJECTS' EMERGING IRAN DEAL
(Associated Press; Matthew Lee, Ian Deitch)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Friday that he "utterly rejects" the emerging nuclear deal between western powers and Iran, calling it a "bad deal" and promising that Israel will do everything it needs to do to defend itself.

 

PENTAGON'S BUDGET-CUT RESPONSE RISKS HIGHER COSTS LATER
(Bloomberg; Tony Capaccio)
The Pentagon weathered the first year of automatic budget cuts through a "short-term response," including delays in modifying and developing weapons that may cost more later, the Government Accountability Office found.

SNOWDEN IS SAID TO HAVE TRICKED NSA COWORKERS INTO GIVING HIM PASSWORDS
(Reuters; Mark Hosenball, Warren Strobel)
Former National Security Agen­cy contractor Edward Snowden used log-in credentials and passwords provided unwittingly by colleagues at a base in Hawaii to access some of the classified material he leaked to the media, sources said.

IRAN

IRAN NUCLEAR DEAL EXPECTED AS EARLY AS FRIDAY
(The Wall Street Journal; Jay Solomon, Laurence Norman)
An initial deal expected as early as Friday to curb Iran's nuclear program would mark the first breakthrough in a decade to blunt the threat of Tehran developing nuclear weapons.

NETANYAHU CALLS U.S. STRATEGY AT IRAN NUCLEAR TALKS A MISTAKE
(Los Angeles Times; Paul Richter, Batsheva Sobelman)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday condemned the Obama administration's strategy in ongoing nuclear talks with Iran, saying any deal based on the approach would be a "mistake of historic proportions."

 

IRAN REJAILS POLITICAL PRISONER MAJID TAVAKOLI
(The Daily Beast; David Keyes)
After releasing Majid Tavakoli due to an outcry at home, Iran's regime has quietly reimprisoned the famous dissident.

CONGRESS

SERVICE CHIEFS: SPENDING CUTS EQUAL TROOP CASUALTIES
(Army Times; Andrew Tilghman)
At a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee, all four service chiefs said the impact of the budget reductions known as sequestration will mean a smaller force that receives less training, resulting in greater risk to troops in the event of large-scale combat deployments.

SENATOR SAYS U.S. MAY BE PAYING BILLIONS EXTRA FOR PARTS
(Bloomberg; Tony Capaccio)
Sen. Tom Carper has demanded that the Pentagon explain four audits -- two involving Boeing Co. -- that he said shows the Department of Defense may be paying billions of dollars extra for spare parts.

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CAN THE SENATE CRACK DOWN ON NSA SPYING?
(National Journal; Stacy Kaper)
A growing chorus of reform supporters are raising doubts that a debate on NSA tactics will play out on the defense bill, even as lawmakers in both parties are itching to take on the issue with time running out on the legislative calendar for the year.

SHIFT ON DEFENSE GIVES GOP BUDGET LEVERAGE
(The Wall Street Journal; Patrick O'Connor)
As Congress girds for its next budget battle, the willingness of rank-and-file Republicans to cut the once-sacrosanct Pentagon budget is bolstering the negotiation position of GOP leaders.

DEFENSE DEPARTMENT

DoD WANTS LAWMAKERS' BACKING ON ACQUISITION REFORM
(The Hill; Carlo Munoz)
Defense Department leaders are eyeing major legislative changes to federal regulations governing how the Pentagon invests its dollars into big-ticket weapons programs, like the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

OMB: SHUTDOWN COST PENTAGON 1.6 MILLION FURLOUGH DAYS
(The Hill; Jeremy Herb)
The report on the shutdown said there were 1.6 million furlough days for civilians at the Pentagon, nearly a quarter of the 6.6 million furloughs taken throughout the federal government.

MILITARY FAMILIES FEAR HOUSING ALLOWANCE IS AT RISK
(The Wall Street Journal; Dawn Wotapka)
A housing allowance that military families receive could be targeted for cuts unless automatic spending reductions scheduled for coming years are rolled back.

MIDDLE EAST

KERRY SAYS NEGOTIATIONS BETWEEN ISRAELIS AND PALESTINIANS MAY BE FINAL CHANCE FOR PEACE
(The Washington Post; Karen DeYoung)
Kerry said on the trip that the current talks between the two sides on a two-state solution to their decades-old conflict might be their final chance to find lasting peace.

KERRY WARNS OF VIOLENCE IF ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN PEACE TALKS FAIL
(Los Angeles Times; Batsheva Sobelman)
Despite Israel's many settlements throughout the West Bank, Kerry assured Palestinian journalist Maher Shalabi that he was "absolutely certain there is a viable Palestinian state" and that discussion of land swaps are part of what makes negotiations so tough.

REJECTED SEAT ON U.N. PANEL IS CONSIDERED BY JORDAN
(The New York Times; Somini Sengupta)
Jordan is considering seeking the nonpermanent United Nations Security Council seat that Saudi Arabia rejected last month in a pique of anger at the United States.

MILITARY BASE BOMBINGS, ATTACKS IN IRAQ KILL 30
(Associated Press; Sameer Yacoub)
A series of attacks in Iraq, including a double suicide car bombing targeting a military base, killed 30 people across the country Thursday.

SAUDI ARABIA TO SPEND MILLIONS TO TRAIN NEW SYRIAN REBEL FORCE
(The Guardian; Ian Black)
Saudi Arabia is preparing to spend millions of dollars to arm and train thousands of Syrian fighters in a new national rebel force to help defeat Bashar al-Assad and act as a counterweight to increasingly powerful jihadi organisations.

ARAFAT'S MYSTERIOUS DEATH BECOMES A WHODUNIT
(Associated Press; Mohammed Daraghmeh, John Heilprin)
Hard proof remains elusive, and nine years on, tracking down anyone who might have slipped minuscule amounts of a lethal substance into Arafat's food or drink could be difficult.

SYRIA

CHEMICAL WATCHDOG AGENCY VERIFIES ONE OF TWO UNCHECKED SYRIAN SITES
(Global Security Newswire)
The Syrian government has provided international personnel with photographic evidence of a "dismantled and long abandoned" chemical-arms site in a contested area of the country's civil war.

SYRIAN OPPOSITION MULLS TALKS WITH GOVERNMENT
(Associated Press; Bassem Mroue, Vladimir Isachenkov)
Syria's main Western-backed opposition group is considering an invitation for informal meetings involving Syrian government representatives in Moscow that would focus on establishing humanitarian corridors.

KERRY 'CONFIDENT' ON START DATE FOR SYRIAN PEACE TALKS
(The Hill; Carlo Munoz)
Kerry's comments come days after U.N.-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi said talks between Washington and Moscow on how to proceed with the negotiations had stalled.

REPORT: SYRIAN OPPOSITION REFUSES MOSCOW TALKS
(Associated Press)
The Russian news agency Interfax is reporting that Syria's main Western-backed opposition group is refusing to participate in talks in Moscow.

INTELLIGENCE

U.K. SAYS SNOWDEN LEAKS SPUR TERRORIST RETHINK ON COMMUNICATIONS
(Bloomberg; Thomas Penny)
Terrorists have been monitored discussing how they should change their communications after leaks by former U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, the head of Britain's Government Communications Headquarters listening post said.

MI5 CHIEF SAYS 34 U.K. TERROR PLOTS DISRUPTED SINCE 2005
(The Guardian; Sandra Laville)
Andrew Parker told parliament that since the attacks in London in 2005 "active detection and intervention" by counter-terrorism agents and police officers had foiled several terror attacks a year, some of which were aimed at creating mass casualties.

AFGHANISTAN/PAKISTAN

PEACE TALKS MAY BE CASUALTY AS PAKISTANI TALIBAN PICK HARD-LINER AS LEADER
(The New York Times; Declan Walsh)
In a surprise choice that bodes poorly for proposed peace talks, the Pakistani Taliban on Thursday appointed as its new leader the hard-line commander responsible for last year's attack on Malala Yousafzai, the teenage Pakistani education activist.

EX-LEADER OF PAKISTAN PERVEZ MUSHARRAF IS RELEASED ON BAIL
(The New York Times; Salman Masood)
Pakistan's former military ruler was freed on bail Thursday after six months under house arrest.

INDUSTRY

DoD ACQUISITION CHIEF TO INDUSTRY: REDUCE OVERHEAD
(Defense News; Marcus Weisgerber)
There is an "interest in doing some more work on reducing overhead," said Frank Kendall, U.S. Defense Department undersecretary for acquisition, technology and logistics.

FAA BALKS AT PRIVACY RULES FOR CIVILIAN DRONES
(National Journal; Dustin Volz)
FAA chief Michael Huerta made clear Thursday that additional privacy measures are not necessary for the emerging civilian drone industry, a blow to government-surveillance watchdogs clamoring for regulation of drone users.

DUTCH PARLIAMENT CLEARS F-35 PURCHASE
(Defense News)
The Dutch Parliament has ratified the government's choice of the F-35 as the Netherlands next-generation fighter, putting an end to a 15-year debate.

EMIRATES PRESSES BOEING ON 777X PERFORMANCE AS RECORD DEAL LOOMS
(Bloomberg; Deena Kamel Yousef, Andrea Rothman)
Emirates President Tim Clark is pushing Boeing to ensure its newest twin-aisle aircraft meets the airline's demands as it readies an order that stands to be the biggest in aviation history.

BOEING WARNS IT COULD BUILD 777X OUTSIDE WASHINGTON STATE
(The Wall Street Journal; Jon Ostrower)
There are signs of union resistance to a proposed contract designed to keep the production work at the aerospace giant's traditional manufacturing base.

ARMY

ARMY CHIEF ON SEQUESTER RHETORIC: I'M A 'REALIST' NOT AN 'ALARMIST'
(Defense News; John Bennett)
The Army's top general on Thursday defended the military against critics who contend the Defense Department can make deep cuts to planned spending without becoming less lethal.

OFFICIAL: ARMY NEEDS BETTER CYBER MANAGEMENT
(Army Times; Joe Gould)
Lt. Gen. Edward Cardon said the Army could use personnel processes, but "we have not decided how we will resolve this yet."

ARMY SUSPENDS R.O.T.C. CLOSINGS AT 13 UNIVERSITIES
(The New York Times; Alan Blinder)
The Army told 13 universities this week that it would step back from a plan to shutter their Reserve Officers' Training Corps programs.

NAVY

NAVY CONCERNED ABOUT $500 MILLION SHORTFALL FOR BALLISTIC-MISSILE SUBS
(Global Security Newswire; Emelie Rutherford)
The Navy's top admiral said he is concerned about an imminent $500 million shortfall in funding for a large-scale program to develop and build new SSBN(X) Ohio-class ballistic-missile submarines.

U.S. NAVY MOLES HELPED MALAYSIAN BUSINESSMAN BILK SERVICE
(The Washington Post; Craig Whitlock)
Federal prosecutors say Malaysian businessman Leonard Glenn Francis-- known in Navy circles as "Fat Leonard" for his imposing girth-- recruited several high-placed moles in the Navy.

MCM SHIP COMMANDING OFFICER SACKED
(Navy Times)
The commanding officer of the mine countermeasures ship Dextrous has been fired after an investigation found "deficiencies in operational preparedness, situational awareness and tactical proficiency."

COMMISSARIES START TO SCAN IDS
(Navy Times; Karen Jowers)
Commissary cashiers worldwide soon will be scanning military ID cards at registers under a Defense Commissary Agency program that is rolling out.

AIR FORCE

AIR FORCE PROMOTES MORE THAN 3,000 TO CAPTAIN
(Air Force Times)
The selections, announced Nov. 7, are the result of the 2013C quarterly captain selection process for line captains.

ASIA/PACIFIC

JAPAN STATIONS MISSILES ON PACIFIC GATEWAY ISLAND
(Agence France-Presse)
The exercise, aimed at bolstering defense of Japan's southern islands, has already seen a launching system and a loader for Type-88 surface-to-ship missiles installed on Miyako island, complete with two missiles.

ANALYSIS/COMMENTARY

WHY THE U.S. SHOULD WAGE ITS PAKISTANI DRONE WAR IN PUBLIC
(The Atlantic; David Rohde)
For the last decade, America has been getting a raw deal: covert strikes in exchange for serving as the Pakistani military's punching bag.

THE CASE FOR EASING SANCTIONS ON IRAN
(Foreign Policy; Kimberly Ann Elliott)
Rouhani will have to show his audience at home that he can win some relief, and Congress will have to allow Obama sufficient flexibility to use sanctions as the bargaining chip they are.

KERRY TAKES A PERSONAL APPROACH TO MIDEAST PEACE
(The New York Times; Mark Landler)
After President Obama's first term, when Mrs. Clinton delegated these Middle East milk runs to a special envoy and kept the peace process in general at arm's length, it is striking to watch a secretary of state grinding it out in this unforgiving arena.

SECURITY POLICIES FOR A POST-SNOWDEN AGE
(The Washington Post; Jane Harman)
The Obama administration has reviewed what information Snowden took and has a pretty good handle on what has not yet been revealed. The public should be told what is likely to come out and how it fits within lawful government policies and practices. Any needed correction should be part of the rollout.

HOW THE SYRIAN WAR SUBREDDIT SCOOPS MAINSTREAM MEDIA
(The Daily Beast; Nina Strochlic)
How a 22-year-old law student and five moderators have been using social media to track down news from the front lines in Syria—and scoop mainstream media.

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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