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Pakistani Taliban Claims Airport Attack: Early Bird - Brought to You by Lockheed Martin

By Jordain Carney ( @jordainc)

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

 

Feinstein: CIA to Finish Declassifying Senate Report by July 4
(The Hill: Mario Trujillo)
Feinstein said she didn't think the agency was dragging its feet on the review and she was assured by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper it should be ready early next month.

As Bowe Bergdahl Heals, Details Emerge of His Captivity
(The New York Times: Eric Schmitt)
Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl told medical officials he was locked in a metal cage in total darkness for weeks at a time as punishment for trying to escape, according to officials briefed on his condition.

CEO of Cleveland Clinic Withdraws Name From Consideration as VA Secretary
(The Washington Post: Katie Zezima)
Delos "Toby" Cosgrove said he was "humbled and honored" to have been asked about the post but has decided to stay at the Cleveland Clinic.

 

Pakistani Taliban Attack Airport in Karachi, 27 Dead
(Reuters)
The assault on Jinnah International Airport all but destroys prospects for peace talks between the Taliban and the government of Prime Minister Nawaz Shari.

BERGDAHL

Kerry: U.S. May Kill Taliban 5 if They Fight Again
(Los Angeles Times: Katherine Skiba)
Secretary of State John Kerry suggests U.S. can kill former Taliban detainees if they resume terrorism.

White House to Brief House on Bowe Bergdahl
(Politico: Lauren French)
Tony Blinken, a deputy national security adviser, Ambassador James Dobbins, the U.S.'s special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan and other officials will hold a classified briefing.

U.S. Deaths in Afghanistan May Have Only Tenuous Link to Bergdahl
(Reuters: Andy Sullivan, Phil Stewart, Jibran Ahmed)
Several soldiers in his unit say the quest to locate him never really ended, and that it was an element of every mission they undertook, prompting some to blame the deaths on him.

 

In Two Capitals, Questions Over P.O.W. Deal
(The New York Times: David Sanger, Matthew Rosenberg)
In the Afghan and American capitals, there are questions about whether the release of the five members of the Taliban in exchange for Bergdahl gives the Taliban legitimacy and enhances their power.

U.S. Official: Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl Has Declined to Speak to His Family
(The Wall Street Journal: Julian Barnes, Jennifer Levitz, Dion Nissenbaum)
Doctors are moving slowly on treatment because of swirling controversy over prisoner swap.

Bergdahl Could Collect 5 Years of Back Pay, Benefits
(Military Times: Andrew Tilghman)
The Army owes Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl a lot of money.

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CIA Chief, White House Chief of Staff Long Argued the Taliban 5 Could Go Free
(The Daily Beast: Eli Lake, Josh Rogin)
As far back as 2011, top Obama aides argued privately that five Taliban leaders could be released.

Bergdahl Case Spotlights a Platoon Known for Troubles
(The New York Times: Richard A. Oppel Jr., Eric Schmitt)
The issues faced by Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl's unit reflected the problems of the Pentagon's strategy writ large across Afghanistan.

CONGRESS

Congress Looks to Incremental Funding
(Politico: Leigh Munsil)
Facing tighter budgets, some congressional appropriators are finding incremental funding an increasingly appealing way to pay for amphibious shipbuilding.

McCain: U.S. Not Sending All Prisoners Home
(The Hill: Alexandra Jaffe)
We're not sending everybody home…even if we close Guantanamo. We're going to send them to facilities in the United States of America. That's been the plan all along," McCain said.

America's Asia Challenges: China, Air-Sea Battle and Beyond
(The National Interest)
TNI spoke with Rep. J. Randy Forbes on present day challenges in the South China Sea, the ongoing debate over the Air-Sea Battle Concept, the UCLASS project, and more.

UKRAINE/RUSSIA

Poroshenko Takes Ukraine Helm With Tough Words for Russia
(The New York Times: David Herszenhorn)
Petro Poroshenko was sworn in amid a continuing separatist insurrection in eastern Ukraine by pro-Russian fighters.

New Ukrainian President Calls for an End to War
(The Washington Post: Carol Morello, Griff Witte)
Poroshenko was sworn in Saturday and called for cease-fire talks, end to corruption.

Obama-Putin Chat Bodes Well for Future, U.S. Officials Say
(The Washington Post: Zachary Goldfarb, Michael Birnbaum)
The U.S. and Russian presidents spoke at a luncheon for leaders on the 70th anniversary of D-Day.

Russian, NATO Arms Race Takes Shape
(Defense News: Jaroslaw Adamowski)
The crisis in Ukraine is continuing to spur increased military efforts by both Russia and NATO's Eastern European member states.

EUROPE

U.S. Pledges Millions More in Aid to Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia
(Reuters: Doina Chiacu)
The United States pledged millions of dollars in additional aid to Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia, deepening American support to the Western-leaning countries on Russia's border.

U.S. Sends Stealth Bombers to Europe
(Air Force Times: Oriana Pawlyk)
The Air Force has further beefed up its bomber presence in Europe, deploying two B-2 stealth bombers for military exercises in the region.

Obama Nominates Ambassadors to France and Ireland
(The New York Times: Michael Gordon)
Jane Hartley, chief executive officer of an economic consulting firm, will serve in France, and Kevin O'Malley, a lawyer, will fill a long-vacant post in Ireland.

IRAN

With Nuclear Talks Sputtering, U.S. and Iran Plan Meeting
(The New York Times: Michael Gordon)
A session with American and Iranian delegations in Geneva this week is intended to breathe life into multilateral negotiations over Iran's nuclear program.

U.S. Analyst Warns Israel: Unilateral Attack on Iran 'Better Damn Well Be Successful'
(Defense News: Barbara Opall-Rome)
Cordesman urged Israelis not to assume that the prospective agreement with Tehran "would be a wrong one."

SYRIA

Hezbollah Calls on U.S. to Talk to Assad for Peace in Syria
(The Washington Post: Liz Sly)
The comments by Hezbollah's leader followed a suggestion by Kerry that Hezbollah help solve the Syrian war.

AFGHANISTAN/PAKISTAN

Taliban Claim Deadly Attack on Pakistani Airport
(USA Today: William Welch, Calum MacLeod)
Taliban militants said they carried out Sunday's dramatic assault on Pakistan's busiest airport.

Afghan Rivals Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani Race to Presidential Runoff
(The Wall Street: Yaroslav Trofimov, Margherita Stancati, Nathan Hodge)
Personal narratives of candidates may determine the course that the volatile country will take. 

ASIA/PACIFIC

China Confirms Attendance at U.S.-Hosted Naval Exercises in June
(Reuters: Ben Blanchard)
China confirmed that it will participate for the first time in a major U.S.-hosted naval drill this month, even as deep military distrust persists between the two countries.

India's Modi to Visit U.S. in September, First Trip to Bhutan
(Reuters: Sruthi Gottipati)
"We are now in contact with the U.S. to work out what would be a mutually convenient date for both of us," said Akbaruddin, confirming earlier reports.

MIDDLE EAST

Egypt's Sisi Takes Office to Cool Reception From West
(Reuters: Yasmine Saleh, Maggie Fick)
Critics fear Sisi will become yet another authoritarian leader who will preserve the interests of the military and the Mubarak-era establishment, crushing the hopes of democracy.

At Swearing-In, Ex-General Vows 'Inclusive' Egypt
(The New York Times: David Kirkpatrick)
Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who led the military takeover that ousted Mohamed Morsi, formalized his grip on power Sunday.

U.S. Completes Large-Scale Middle East Exercise, Even With Amphibious Forces Stretched
(Stars and Stripes: Hendrick Simoes)
The 22-nation exercise involving more than 12,000 personnel, about half of them American, took place amid the backdrop of escalating sectarian violence in neighboring Syria and Iraq.

DEFENSE DEPARTMENT

Space Fence, FAB-T Awards Show an Emboldened DoD
(Defense News: Aaron Mehta)
The contracts illustrate how major projects have fared in the sequestered world, representing less tolerance from a Defense Department that is not afraid to apply pressure to contractors.

Unmanned Intel App Could Keep Small Units Informed
(Military Times: Kevin Lilley)
The Small Unit Leader Situational Awareness Tool, or SULSAT, gives leaders their own real-time feed from available unmanned sources.

NAVY

Navy Plan for Carrier-Based Drones Takes Flak From Lawmakers
(Los Angeles Times: W.J. Hennigan)
One lawmaker believes Navy brass is hesitant to turn over strategic bombing missions to drones.

In Era of Tight Budgets, How Many Aircraft Carriers Are Enough?
(Stars and Stripes: Jon Harper)
Aircraft carriers are perhaps the most powerful expression of U.S. military might. They're also expensive and potentially vulnerable.

Navy Eyes Future Program To Modernize X-Band Radar For AMDR Suite
(Inside Defense)
The Navy plans a major new acquisition program to satisfy its requirement for a modernized horizon-search capability that was dropped due to affordability concerns

Fallout From 12th LPD: Fine Print in Old Deal Could Cost Yard a Destroyer
(Defense News: Christopher Cavas)
The U.S. Navy doesn't want it, but the Marines and a major shipbuilder do.

President Barack Obama Appoints New Naval Academy Superintendent
(Associated Press)
The appointment of Navy Rear Adm. Walter Carter, who would be promoted to the rank of vice admiral, needs U.S. Senate approval.

U.S. Navy Rescues 282 People in Mediterranean Sea
(Stars and Stripes: Hendrick Simoes)
The Bataan and the frigate USS Elrod responded to a report from an Italian military marine patrol aircraft that sighted six small vessels, one of which was sinking.

AIR FORCE

AF Drafts Instruction to Weaken Limits on Religious Expression
(Air Force Times: Stephen Losey)
The Air Force is considering weakening its limitations on expressions of religious belief.

ARMY

The U.S. Army Wants New(ish) Spy Planes
(War Is Boring: Joe Trevithick)
Ground combat branch would take over contractors' aircraft.

COUNTERTERRORISM

U.S. Seeks Redactions in Drone Strike Memo Ruling
(Associated Press)
The government says there could be "exceptionally grave harm to national security" if it cannot make further redactions in a document that a court ordered released in April.

INDUSTRY

2 Tech Firms Shun Inside Defense Game
(Politico: Jeremy Herb, Austin Wright)
SpaceX and Palantir came to Washington expecting a receptive audience for what they presented as game-changing new products.Instead, the California companies have become mired in Capitol Hill drama.

VETERANS

VA Acting Chief: Retaliation Will Not Be Tolerated
(Associated Press)
His comments came after the Office of Special Counsel said it was looking into possible retaliation against 37 employees of the VA who filed so-called whistleblower complaints.

Washington Promises to Fix VA but Overhaul Won't Be Easy
( McClatchy: Lindsay Wise)
It has a management culture marred by cronyism, intimidation and poor oversight from the Department of Veterans Affairs central office. 

Vet Unemployment Drops Again in May, Beating Nation's Unemployment Rate
(Navy Times: George Altman)
The unemployment rate for the latest generation of veterans dropped significantly in May.

Buying Upstate New York Land, V.A. Closes Chapter in Building Cemeteries
(The New York Times: Andrew Siddons)
The department anticipates it will have enough burial space until 2050, when 2.6 million veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan begin to reach old age.

DETAINEES

Gitmo Prisoners Set to Leave Amid Bergdahl-Taliban Trade Furor
(Associated Press: Ben Fox)
The current furor over the trade of the five Taliban prisoners for American Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl may have complicated the situation.

CYBER

Declassified 2008 Directive: Hackers and Insiders Hit Utilities on Three Continents
(Inside Cybersecurity: Christopher Castelli)
Utilities on at least three continents have been "penetrated or shut down" by hackers and insiders.

TECH

Interview: Arati Prabhakar, Director, U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
(Defense News)
Since it was founded, DARPA has evolved as one of history's most formidable engines of defense.

INTELLIGENCE

Internet Giants Erect Barriers to Spy Agencies
(The New York Times: David Sanger, Nicole Perlroth)
Internet companies like Google and Facebook are working to keep governments and especially their spy agencies out of their servers after revelations from Snowden that they had been invaded.

LAW ENFORCEMENT

War Gear Flows to Police Departments
(The New York Times: Matt Apuzzo)
Former tools of combat — M-16 rifles, grenade launchers, silencers and more — are ending up in local police departments, often with little public notice.

ANALYSIS/COMMENTARY

Political Triage at the VA
(The Wall Street Journal)
For veterans on the wait list, the Senate fires a three-committee salute.

Inside the Senate Armed Services Committee's Plan for the Pentagon
(The National Interest: Daniel DePetris)
There are a few topics that are important enough to highlight.

Israeli-Palestinian Collision Course
(The New York Times)
With the recent collapse of peace talks and the reconciliation of the feuding Palestinian factions, it is time for all sides to think hard about where they are headed.

My Benefits Are Too Generous
(The Washington Post: Tom Slear)
As an Army retiree, what I'm getting is more than what I gave.

The Taliban Litmus Test
(Defense News: John Bennett)
If you need to quickly ascertain a U.S. official's national security and foreign policy philosophy just ask about the Taliban.

Broken Windows and Beating Back al-Qaida
(Foreign Policy: James Traub)
Can President Obama's counterterrorism partnership plan really work without any attempt at nation building?

Asia's Greatest Fear: A U.S.-China War
(The National Interest: Robert Farley)
How would it start? Who would win? Welcome to World War III.

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Don't Miss Today's Top Stories

Keeps me informed about national leadership concerns."

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AJ, US Army Officer

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