Welcome to NJ's Early Bird, a morning assembly of the best national security, defense, and foreign policy coverage from around the Web.
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Obama to Call for End to N.S.A.'s Bulk Data Collection
(The New York Times: Charlie Savage)
Under the administration's proposal, the government would obtain individual orders from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to obtain only records linked to phone numbers a judge agrees are likely tied to terrorism.
Western Allies Kick Russia Out of G-8
(Associated Press: Julie Pace)
Seeking to isolate Russia, the U.S. and Western allies declared they are indefinitely cutting Moscow out of a major international coalition and warned they stand ready to order tougher economic penalties if Vladimir Putin presses further into Ukraine.
Putin's Fear of Texting Kept U.S. Spymasters in the Dark
(Time: Simon Shuster)
The Russian president's technophobia may be one reason Western governments were taken off guard by Moscow's capture of Crimea from Ukraine.
Two Gitmo Guards Accused of Sexually Assaulting Subordinate Soldiers
(Miami Herald: Carol Rosenberg)
The military is putting two Guantanamo guards on trial in Texas next month on charges alleging they sexually assaulted junior soldiers at the remote outpost at a time when commanders were grappling with the prison hunger strike.
Two Killed in Norfolk Naval Shooting
(The Washington Post: Fred Barbash)
The Naval Station Norfolk was briefly put on lockdown after a shooting leaves a sailor and a civilian dead.
G-8 Summit in Sochi Canceled, G-7 Leaders to Meet in Brussels Instead
(Associated Press: Julie Pace)
President Obama and Western and Asian allies moved to indefinitely cut Moscow out of a major international coalition on Monday.
Russia Wants to Continue Contacts with G8 States: Kremlin
Russia wants to continue contacts with G8 member states, President Vladimir Putin's spokesman was quoted as saying on Tuesday.
In Crimea, Russia Moved to Throw Off the Cloak of Defeat
(The New York Times: David Herszenhorn)
In seizing Crimea, Russia made it clear to the U.S. and its allies that the West alone will not decide the future of Ukraine and the region.
Obama to Europe: If Russia Continues to Escalate, We Need to Impose More Costs
(McClatchy: Lesley Clark)
The president said the U.S. and Europe can not allow Russia to annex Crimea without consequences.
Obama: Europe Not 'Battleground Between East and West'
(The Washington Post: Katie Zezima)
The notion of thinking about Ukraine as a battle between East and West "should have ended with the Cold War," President Obama said.
NATO to Bolster Defenses of Baltic States Amid Ukraine Crisis
(The Guardian: Nicholas Watt)
British army will help beef up defenses in Lithuania, Estonia, and Latvia to deter possible Russian aggression.
Ukraine Orders Troop Pullout From Crimea
(Associated Press: Laura Mills, Peter Leonard)
Ukraine's fledgling government ordered troops to pull back Monday from Crimea, ending days of wavering.
Russian Foreign Minister Meets His Ukrainian Counterpart, Dismisses Western Threats
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says he has met for the first time with his Ukrainian counterpart to discuss the Ukraine crisis.
Senate Moves Toward Sending Aid to Ukraine
(McClatchy: William Douglas)
The Senate moved Monday to advance aid and sanctions for Ukraine, though the fight over the emergency funding measure is just beginning.
(Associated Press: Bradley Klapper)
Senate Majority Leader says Republicans may have helped Russia annex Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula.
McCain Won't Block Defense Nominee Over Littoral Ship
(Bloomberg: Tony Capaccio)
Senator John McCain says he won't attempt to block the nomination of former Navy official Robert Work as the Pentagon's No. 2 civilian over his unstinting support for the service's $34 billion Littoral Combat Ship.
U.S. Eyes Natural-Gas Exports to Weaken Putin
(Time: Alex Rogers)
Lawmakers see exports as a way to weaken Russia's hand in Ukraine.
Coats Wants to Sanction Russian Arms Company
(The Hill: Jeremy Herb)
Sen. Dan Coats is introducing an amendment that would slap sanctions on Russian state arms firm Rosoboronexport.
Overhaul of NSA Data Collection Takes Shape
(The Wall Street Journal: Siobhan Gorman)
Plans from House Committee and Obama administration call for searching data at phone companies instead.
Obama Defends NSA Spying in Meeting With Chinese President
(Los Angeles Times: Kathleen Hennessey)
Obama defended U.S. surveillance programs as serving national security rather than commercial interest.
Dianne Feinstein-CIA Feud Enters Uncharted Territory
(Politico: Darren Samuelsohn)
Sen. Dianne Feinstein's battle with the CIA has entered dangerous, uncharted territory.
Carter: Snowden's Leaks 'Good for Americans to Know'
(USA Today: Susan Page)
Former President Carter defended the disclosures by fugitive NSA contractor Edward Snowden.
Administration Proposes $10.6 Billion for Weapons in Supplemental Spending Package
The additional weapon modernization spending is in fiscal 2015 as part of a $26 billion "Opportunity, Growth and Security Initiative."
Obama to Kill Tomahawk, Hellfire Missile Programs
(The Washington Free Beacon: Adam Kredo)
The cornerstone of U.S. naval power is eliminated under Obama's budget.
Navy Jettisons More Than 1,100 Tomahawk Missiles, $1.8B From Procurement Plan
The Navy's budget lops off $1.8 billion and five years of planned Tactical Tomahawk cruise missile purchase while pledging $360 million to begin work on a replacement "next-generation land-attack weapon."
Analyst: Iran's Carrier Replica Unlikely to Be Movie Prop
(Military Times: Jeff Schogol)
The costs of building such a big model of a ship make it hard to believe that it would be used for a movie.
Hedge Fund's $100 Million Bet: Iran Will Pay for Terror Attack
(The Wall Street Journal: Rob Copeland)
RD Legal Capital seeks funds from court judgment on deadly Beirut attack three decades ago.
As U.S. Pullout Nears, Afghans Hoping for Visas Fear Time Has Already Run Out
(The New York Times: Azam Ahmed)
Even if the government grants every single remaining visa from now until the program ends in September 2015—an effort that would require it to approve more than three times as many visas as it has during any other year—thousands of visas have already gone to waste.
Admiral: Navy Is Not Pushing for BRAC
(Associated Press: Brock Vergakis)
The Navy's top admiral says he doesn't see a great need for the Navy to go through another round of base closures.
Cracks Threaten Navy's Camp on Arctic Ice
The U.S. Navy is mulling whether to dismantle or relocate an ice camp used to support submarine exercises off the Alaskan coast after cracks appeared in the ice.
Navy Spots an Arctic Future, but Struggles to Plot a Course
(Stars and Stripes: Steven Beardsley)
The Navy has published a thorough breakdown of what it needs for future surface operations in the Arctic.
Navy Budget Chief: Ship Decisions Affect Helicopter Procurement
(Seapower Magazine: Richard Burgess)
Some of the Navy's future decisions about ship procurement and sustainment will affect procurement of the MH-60R Seahawk helicopters that operate from them.
Navy Sends Locator to Find Jetliner's Black Box
(Military.com: Kris Osborn)
The U.S. Navy is sending to Australia an underwater drone and a device to locate black boxes to help search the wreckage of Malaysian Flight 370 should the debris field be located.
Lawyer: Sinclair Might Retain Rank Despite Plea Deal
(USA Today: Jim Michaels)
The attorney for Army Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair said it is possible that his client could still retire as a general.
Air Force 'Ready to Step to the Plate' on Ukraine, but Drawdown Still on Track
(Stars and Stripes: Jennifer Svan)
Despite concern about Russia's actions in Ukraine, the Air Force's current plans to draw down the force remain on track, Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James said.
Cash to Leave in 2015: AF Cranks Up Retirement, Separation Budget
(Air Force Times: Stephen Losey)
The Air Force is planning to spend as much as $1.6 billion on separations and early retirements by the end of fiscal 2015.
Air Force's 'Surprise Package' Gunship Blasted 800 Enemy Trucks Before Getting Shot Down
(War Is Boring: Joe Trevithick)
Unique Vietnam War AC-130 is the basis of today's gunships.
Ending It All by Their Own Hand: Corps Probes Marine Suicides
(The Palm Springs Desert Sun: Brett Kelman, Drew Schmenner)
Even with incomplete statistics, suicide is the second leading cause of death for Marines in this desert.
Xi Tells Obama to Adopt 'Fair' Attitude on China's Maritime Disputes
(Reuters: Ben Blanchard)
Chinese President Xi Jinping told U.S. President Barack Obama on Monday that the United States should adopt a "fair" attitude on the East and South China Seas.
Obama Juggles Plans to Ease Tensions With 2 Allies
(The New York Times: Mark Landler)
Bringing together the leaders of Japan and South Korea has included changes in travel plans and a meeting at The Hague.
North Korea Accuses U.S. of Hurting Relations With South
North Korea is accusing the United States of undermining the prospect of improved relations with South Korea.
GAO Predicts F-35 Software Troubles May Drive Annual Costs Up to $15 Billion
(Breaking Defense: Colin Clark)
One of the key software problem areas is the F-35's Autonomic Logistics Information System, which monitors the plane's systems and is crucial to managing its repairs and maintenance.
Northrop Caught Up in Murder Fallout
(Politico: Austin Wright)
Northrop Grumman is caught up in an unusual benefits dispute after one of its employees in Colorado was shot to death.
South Korea Boosts Air Defenses With About $6.8 Billion Budget for F-35s
(Reuters: Joyce Lee)
South Korea expects to pay around $6.79 billion for 40 Lockheed Martin F-35 fighter jets.
Fight Against Suicide Tops Vet Group's Agenda for 2014
(Stars and Stripes: Chris Carroll)
Broad action is needed from Congress and Obama to combat the growing problem of veterans suicide, a group representing veterans of recent wars declared on Capitol Hill.
Most VA Websites Still Inaccessible to Blind Vets
(Military.com: Bryant Jordan)
By law, federal agencies must provide disabled workers and the public access to electronic information and services comparable to that provided to nondisabled people.
New Rules on Hiring Disabled Workers, Vets Go Into Effect for Federal Contractors
(St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Susan Weich)
New Labor Department regulations went into effect Monday that require federal contractors to take steps to hire minimum numbers of protected veterans and disabled workers.
U.N. Syria Envoy Says New Geneva Peace Talks Unlikely for Now
(Reuters: Alexander Dziadosz)
The United Nations peace mediator for Syria has said it is unlikely talks in Switzerland between the Syrian government and opposition will resume soon.
Trial of Osama bin Laden Son-in-Law Heads to Jury
(The Wall Street Journal: Charles Levinson)
Sulaiman Abu Ghaith is accused of supporting al-Qaida
Prosecutor: Al-Qaida Recruited Bin Laden Relative
(Associated Press: Larry Neumeister)
The prosecutor told jurors the evidence against the defendant—including propaganda audio and videotapes of him speaking on behalf of al-Qaida—is overwhelming.
U.S. Confirms Effort to Phase Out Selected 'Dirty Bomb' Materials
(Global Security Newswire: Douglas Guarino)
U.S. officials confirmed Monday that they will launch an effort to help limit the prospect of "dirty bomb" attacks by working to phase out certain radiological materials.
U.S., Japan to Cooperate on Nuclear-Material Removal, Energy Research
(Global Security Newswire: Sebastian Sprenger)
The United States will help Japan remove hundreds of kilograms of weapons-grade nuclear materials and aid the island nation in nuclear-energy research.
Uruguay Asks U.S. to Free Cubans in Return for Guantanamo Transfer
(Reuters: Malena Castaldi)
President Jose Mujica said in his weekly radio broadcast that he had asked for Cubans on U.S. soil to be released in exchange.
Could the U.S. Face a Cruise Missile Threat From the Gulf of Mexico?
(Global Security Newswire: Diane Barnes)
The United States is puzzling over how to block cruise missiles that theoretically could be launched from the Gulf.
NATO's Military Decline
(The Wall Street Journal)
As Russia re-arms, the West increasingly neglects its defenses.
Putin Gets the Boot
(The Wall Street Journal)
After dumping Russia from the G-8, how about pulling the World Cup?
Our Military Justice System Needs More Reform
(The Washington Post)
In two recent sexual-assault cases, the process along the way was so flawed that it's hard to have any confidence that justice was done.
What Could Congress Have Done About Recent Military Sex Assault Trials?
(The Washington Post: Ed O'Keefe)
Two high-profile cases might have had different outcomes if lawmakers had acted more quickly.
The Myth Behind the Hollow Force
(Defense One: Russell Rumbaugh)
There is a real debate to be had whether a smaller force can advance U.S. national interests—not least by debating what the United States' national interests are.
Nukes, Crimea, and Possible Putins
(War on the Rocks: Adam Elkus)
The time machine we want is one that would transport us back in time to the event, give us a menu of possible actions, and show us each outcome in fine resolution.
Vladimir Putin, Russian Neocon
(The Atlantic: Peter Beinart)
Ever since Vladimir Putin invaded Crimea, American pundits have strained to understand his view of the world.
Confronting Putin's Russia
(The New York Times: Michael McFaul)
The decision by President Vladimir Putin of Russia to annex Crimea ended the post-Cold War era in Europe.
(Foreign Policy: Katie Engelhart)
Why did Moscow take such careful steps to ensure its annexation of Crimea didn't break Russian law.
(Foreign Policy: Anna Nemtsova)
Russians are celebrating Crimea's return. The West is bent on punishing Moscow. And Ukrainians are feeling more besieged than ever.
How to Avoid a Naval War With China
(Foreign Policy: William Parker III, Micah Zenko)
In the contested waters of Asia, it's difficult to understand Beijing's intentions.
Growler Advocates Outline Stealth Vulnerabilities
(Aviation Week: Amy Butler)
Despite a squeeze on investment accounts, the Pentagon's fiscal 2015 budget strategy prioritizes funding for the stealthy F-35—but at what cost, some in industry ask.
Afghanistan Is Doing Better Than You Think
(Politico: Michael O'Hanlon)
In the minds of most Americans—and perhaps most members of Congress, too—the war in Afghanistan is already long since lost.
What Would America Do if China Invaded Taiwan?
(The Week: Damon Linker)
No country is watching the U.S.'s response to the crisis in Ukraine more closely than China.