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McKeon: No BRAC in NDAA, DOD Makes Last-Ditch Plea for Benefit Cuts, Senate to See Drone Memos McKeon: No BRAC in NDAA, DOD Makes Last-Ditch Plea for Benefit Cuts, S...

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McKeon: No BRAC in NDAA, DOD Makes Last-Ditch Plea for Benefit Cuts, Senate to See Drone Memos

By Jordain Carney ( @jordainc)

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


HASC Chair McKeon: Sorry, Mr. Smith, No BRAC
(Breaking Defense: Sydney Freedberg Jr.)
"It''s not going to be in the defense bill this year for sure," said House Armed Services chairman Buck McKeon

House Bill Lays Foundation for Future Base Closings
(Roll Call: Megan Scully)
The House Armed Services Committee is opening the door ever so slightly to the possibility of another Base Closure and Realignment Commission.

DOD Makes Last-Ditch Plea for Compensation Cuts in 2015
(Air Force Times: Leo Shane III)
Outside advocates—and a growing number of lawmakers—have argued the compensation plans cut too deeply into troops' wallets.


White House to Show Secret Drone Strike Memos to Senate
(USA Today: Aamer Madhani)
The White House said it will show senators secret memos by one of President Obama's appellate court nominees justifying the drone strike in 2011 on U.S.-born al-Qaida operative Anwar al-Awlaki.

Obama to Meet Syrian Opposition Leader Jarba
(Reuters: Steve Holland)
Ahmad Jarba will meet with Secretary of State John Kerry on Thursday.


Senators: No A-10 Storage Compromise
(Defense News: Aaron Mehta)
A quartet of powerful senators are warning that anything less than keeping the A-10 fully active in the Air Force is unacceptable.

Mark-Up Wards Off U-2, KC-10 Retirement, Supports C-130 Modernization
(Inside Defense)
The Air Force will not achieve the level of long-term savings it hopes for if the House Armed Services Committee's version of the fiscal year 2015 defense authorization bill.


Defense Panel Chair: Russia's Actions Mean U.S. Should Keep War-Funding Budget
(Defense News: John Bennett)
Lawmakers from both chambers expect a fight next year over the future of the OCO budgets, a battle that will have no shortage of combatants.

Inhofe Decries 'Reckless' Cuts to Military Compensation
(The Hill: Martin Matishak)
Inhofe blamed the bleak fiscal picture on "misguided fiscal priorities" that are forcing lawmakers to make a "false choice."

House Dem Moves to End Gitmo Transfer Ban
(The Hill: Kristina Wong)
Previous defense bills have barred the transfer of detainees to the United States and placed restrictions on moving them to other foreign countries.

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Post-Nuclear Senate: Rand Paul Can't Slow Nomination Tied to Drone Policy
(Roll Call: Niels Lesniewski)
If Harvard Law Professor David J. Barron fails to win confirmation as a federal appeals court judge, it won't be because he was "blocked" by Sen. Rand Paul.

Dems Open Door to Taking Part in Benghazi Probe
(Associated Press: Bradley Klapper, Donna Cassata)
But they see the probe as little more than an election-year ploy by Republicans to discredit the Obama administration and motivate GOP voters.

Kerry: I'll Comply With House GOP's Benghazi Request
(Politico: Edward-Isaac Dovere)
Kerry said he expects to satisfy all legal requirements related to a House subpoena.

How Congress Plans to Prevent Military Suicides
(National Journal: Jordain Carney)
Lawmakers hope to use an annual defense bill as a vehicle for mental-health screenings.


State Warns of More Russian Sanctions
(Politico: Philip Ewing)
Russian disruptions to Ukraine's elections could trigger pending sector-wide sanctions.

Better than MREs: Pentagon Beefs Up Aid to Ukraine
(USA Today: Tom Vanden Brook)
The Pentagon will ship a new round of aid that includes concertina wire, fuel pumps, radios, binoculars, and spare tires.

Chuck Hagel Touts 'Light Footprint' Strategy for U.S. Military Amid Ukraine Unrest
(The Guardian: Spencer Ackerman)
The Defense secretary said that America can have a persistent global presence without engaging in major military deployments.

Both Sides Bury Dead as Ukraine Slides Towards War
(Reuters: Matt Robinson, Aleksandar Vasovic)
The next few days could prove decisive: separatists in the Donbass region say they will hold a referendum on secession.

Kremlin Backing Ukraine Rebels in Push for Power-Sharing Reforms
(Los Angeles Times: Carol Williams)
The Kremlin's top diplomat signaled that Russia won't recognize the results of Ukraine's May 25 presidential election unless it is preceded by a "national dialogue" on redistributing power.

U.S. Denounces Referendum Plans in East Ukraine
(Associated Press: Matthew Lee)
Kerry said the referendum being planned would be "bogus" and would not be recognized by the West.


NATO Commander Says Must Consider Permanent Troops in Eastern Europe
(Reuters: Randall Palmer, David Ljunggren)
NATO has arranged a number of short-term army, air force and naval rotations in Eastern Europe, but these are due to finish at the end of this year.

Latvia Looks to Increase Defense Budget
(The Wall Street Journal: Juris Kaza)
Move comes amid growing tension in Ukraine.


Russia To Supply Yak-130 Jet Trainers To Syria
(Defense News: Jaroslaw Adamowski)
Rosoboronexport will deliver 12 aircraft in 2015, and a further 15 jet trainers in 2016.

New Videos Show More Rebel Groups in Syria Have U.S.-Made Anti-Tank Missiles
(McClatchy: Mitchell Prothero)
It's an indication that what experts thought was a limited trial program to arm moderate pro-Western units recently has been expanded.


Iran on Agenda for White House Aide Talks in Israel
(Reuters: Mark Felsenthal)
National Security Adviser Susan Rice will travel to Israel on Wednesday and Thursday for meetings with Israeli official.

U.S. Brushes Off Iran Threat to Aircraft Carriers
(CBS News/Associated Press)
Iran is building a simple replica of the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz in a shipyard in the southern port of Bandar Abbas in order to be used in future military exercise.


FBI Agent Arrested in Pakistan on Weapons Charge
(The Washington Post: Tim Craig, Adam Goldman)
The agent was detained by airport police when he tried to board a Pakistan International Airlines flight to Islamabad.

U.S. Military Deaths in Afghanistan at 2,179
(Associated Press)
Outside of Afghanistan, the department reports at least 133 more members of the U.S. military died in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.


NATO, Japan Agree to Cooperate More
(Associated Press: John-Thor Dahlburg)
The two sides signed an "individual partnership and cooperation program" that will serve as a roadmap for future joint activities.

China, Iran Say They're 'Strategic Partners' as U.S. Watches Warily
(McClatchy: Stuart Leavenworth)
The announcement came as Hossein Dehqan, Iran's minister of defense and armed forces logistics, prepared to conclude a four-day visit in Beijing.


Hagel Talks of Tough Defense Choices After War
(Associated Press: Jason Keyser)
His words echoed those of military leaders who were on Capitol Hill to tell Congress that they have done all they could to cut costs.


Emails Reveal Close Google Relationship With NSA
(Al Jazeera: Jason Leopold)
Two sets of email communications suggest not all cooperation with the intelligence agency was under pressure.


Navy's Newest Growler Reaches Centennial Milestone
( Marcia Kart)
Next week, Capt. Darryl Walker will accept delivery of the aircraft before its transfer to a designated operational squadron in the fleet.

Cyberdefenses for Littoral Combat Ship Getting Retooled
(Bloomberg: Tony Capaccio)
The U.S. Navy is "taking definitive steps" to improve the cybersecurity of systems that manage operations and logistics on its new Littoral Combat Ship.


Bomber-Plane Budget by U.S. Air Force Projected to Double
(Bloomberg: Tony Capaccio)
The service's total budget for bomber production and upgrades will jump to about $9.5 billion in fiscal 2020.


Odierno: Ukraine Shows Us 'You Never Know What's Around the Corner'
(Defense One: James Kitfield)
Odierno discusses the health of the Army, lessons learned from a decade of war, and the threats posed by an unstable world


Guard Reluctantly Begins Plan to Give Up Apaches
( Brendan McGarry)
In all, the Guard will lose 222 aircraft and get back half that amount.


Turkey Moves Closer to F-35 Deal
(The Wall Street Journal: Doug Cameron)
The purchase would be part of a wider order in 2016.


VA Employee: Wait List Data Was Manipulated in Austin, San Antonio
(American-Statesman: Jeremy Schwartz)
A Department of Veterans Affairs scheduling clerk has accused VA officials in Austin and San Antonio of manipulating medical appointment data in an attempt to hide long wait times to see doctors and psychiatrists.

Obama Backs Shinseki Despite Calls to Resign
(The Hill: Justin Sink)
The Veterans Affairs secretary has placed the director of the Phoenix VA and two members of her staff on administrative leave.

GOP Senators Join Calls for VA Chief Shinseki to Resign
(USA Today: Susan Davis)
Two leading Senate Republicans joined the call for Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki to resign.


U.S. Sanctions Both Sides in South Sudan Conflict
(Associated Press: Deb Riechmann)
The Treasury Department announced sanctions against two individuals, which Kerry said are responsible for "perpetrating unthinkable violence against civilians."

U.S. Sending Experts to Aid Nigeria in Search for Kidnapped Schoolgirls
(Associated Press)
The experts will include U.S. military and law-enforcement personnel capable of sharing their skills.

Female Senators Push for Sanctions Against Nigerian Terror Group
(Roll Call: Bridget Bowman)
The Senate passed a resolution by voice vote on Tuesday afternoon condemning the kidnapping.

U.S. Warns of Plot to Attack Churches in Ugandan Capital
(Reuters: Richard Lough)
A security message on the embassy's website did not say who was planning the attack, but Somali Islamist militants have previously threatened, and struck.

U.S. Sought Delay of Morsi's Ouster, Egyptian Leader Says
(The New York Times: David Kirkpatrick)
The leader, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, said he had rebuffed the request from American ambassador Anne W. Patterson who asked him to hold off "for a day or two" before ousting the freely elected president, Mohamed Morsi.


U.S. Space Defense Funding Drops From Previous Projections
(Defense News: Marcus Weisgerber)
Pentagon funding for space programs is projected to fall 37 percent over the next four years.


Every Country Will Have Armed Drones Within Ten Years
(Defense One: Patrick Tucker)
What's worse, say experts, it's too late for the United States to do anything about it.

DoD to Study Bitcoin as Possible Terrorist Threat
(Fox News)
The Combatting Terrorism Technical Support Office is spearheading a program that will help the military understand how modern technologies could pose threats to national security.


So Many Jihadists Are Flocking to Libya, It's Becoming 'Scumbag Woodstock'
(The Daily Beast: Eli Lake)
Leaders from at least three of al-Qaida's most virulent affiliates are now in Libya. What are they planning there?

Did We Bomb Libya to Keep the Arab Spring Going?
(The National Interest: John Allen Gay)
U.S. leaders feared a Qaddafi victory would end the region's revolutions.

American Legion Agrees: Shinseki Should Go
(Time: Joe Klein)
The VA secretary hasn't done very well adapting the VA to the information age or to the generation of troops returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan.

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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

Timely and informative."

Dave, HR specialist

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AJ, US Army Officer

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