By Jordain Carney ( @jordainc)
Welcome to NJ's Early Bird, today's best national security, defense, and foreign policy coverage. To contact us, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
U.S. Troops May Be Sent to Eastern Europe
(Associated Press: John-Thor Dahlburg)
U.S. Air Force Gen. Philip Breedlove said he wouldn't "write off involvement by any nation, to include the United States."
Destroyer Donald Cook to Enter Black Sea Amid Standoff
(Navy Times: David Larter)
The destroyer USS Donald Cook is set to enter the Black Sea today amid tensions over eastern Ukraine.
Pentagon Spends $7 Million to Find Malaysian Jet
(Military.com: Richard Sisk)
The $7.3 million figure included operations of the ships, planes, helicopters, and sensors employed in the hunt for the Boeing 777 airliner from March 8 through April 8.
Pentagon: Shooting at Lejeune Likely Accidental
But it will take several weeks of examination to confirm that the shooting was accidental.
Obama Offers Solace to Nation at Fort Hood
(Associated Press: Josh Lederman)
It was yet another sad observance for a president who has had to deliver words of consolation across the country many times.
Russia Failed to Share Data on Boston Suspect, U.S. Says
(The New York Times: Michael Schmidt, Eric Schmitt)
Russia declined to give the F.B.I. information that most likely would have prompted deeper scrutiny of Tamerlan Tsarnaev.
Russia's Push in Ukraine Stalls
(The Wall Street Journal: James Marson)
Hopes of a quick replication in eastern Ukraine of the Crimean scenario so far seem to be fading.
U.S. Expectations for Talks With Russia on Ukraine Are Low
(Reuters: Patricia Zengerle)
Russia, Ukraine, the United States, and the European Union will hold a ministerial meeting next week to discuss the Ukraine crisis.
Putin Turns Up Economic Heat Before Ukraine Talks
(Associated Press: Vladimir Isachenkov, Peter Leonard)
Putin's latest tactics suggest he may be aiming to secure Russia's clout with its neighbor without invading.
Vladimir Putin Has High Hopes of Positive Outcome for Ukraine Summit
(The Guardian: Shaun Walker)
But diplomats predict little chance of breakthrough as four powers meet for first time since President Yanukovych fled.
Russia: Virginia-Based Private Soldiers in Ukraine
(The Virginian-Pilot: Bill Sizemore)
Have security operatives from a Chesapeake-based company been injected into the tense standoff between Ukraine and Russia?
Pro-Russian Demonstrators in Eastern Ukraine Urged to Stand Down
(The New York Times: Andrew Higgins)
The protesters, however, vowed to stand firm, fortifying barricades erected around the Donetsk regional administration building.
G-7 Ministers to Meet Thursday on Economy, Ukraine
The meeting comes ahead of a gathering of top finance officials from the larger Group of 20 nations on Friday.
U.S. Won't Share Invasion Intel With Ukraine
(The Daily Beast: Eli Lake)
American spies have spotted all the signs of an all-out Russian invasion of Ukraine. Why won't they tell the Ukrainians about the forces on their border?
U.S. Needs to Share Intel With Ukraine, Lawmaker Says
(The Hill: Kristina Wong)
Lawmakers are calling on the administration to share U.S. intelligence with Ukraine about Russian troops massed on the country's eastern border.
Senators Hopeful After SASC Sequester Session
(Politico: Austin Wright)
Some members of the Senate Armed Services Committee have met privately for their first session on resolving sequestration.
Senator Warns Wartime Funding Might Not Be Coming
(Defense News: Paul McLeary)
Sen. Roger Wicker's comments clearly showed that congressional acceptance of supplemental budgets is wearing thin.
House to Vote on Bill Barring Iran Ambassador From U.S.
(National Journal: Elahe Izadi)
Senate approved measure Monday to keep Iran's proposed U.N. ambassador from entering the United States.
Dems Call GOP-Led Benghazi Probe 'Witch Hunt'
(Associated Press: Donna Cassata)
House Democrats demanded an end to a Republican-led investigation into the deadly attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya.
Key Senator Opposes Commissary Budget Cut
(Air Force Times: Patricia Kime)
Members of the House and Senate subcommittees that set Defense Department policy already appeared lukewarm to the plan.
Senators in Accord on Terror-Insurance Extension
(The Wall Street Journal: Michael Crittenden)
A bipartisan group of senators reached a deal to extend the federal backstop for terrorism insurance into the next decade.
Republicans Want to Fire Someone to Stop Preventable Veteran Deaths
(National Journal: Jordain Carney)
But VA officials warn against widespread punishment for what they see as a limited problem.
Call for Mental Screenings for Recruits Awaiting Congress Before Shooting
(Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: Carl Prine)
The Medical Evaluation Parity for Service Members Act, or MEPS, was introduced by Rep. Glenn "G.T." Thompson six days before the shootings.
Germany Asked U.S. About Monitoring of Merkel but Got No Response: MP
(Reuters: Erik Kirschbaum)
An official in the interior ministry said that the government had asked about any information on Merkel but received no answer.
Dueling Dilemmas for National Security Reform
(Politico: Darren Samuelsohn, Jake Sherman)
Although behind-the-scenes talks have picked up in recent days, lawmakers' appetite and the path and timing for reform remain far from clear.
U.S. Officials Reject Rubio Claim About CIA Report
(Associated Press: Bradley Klapper)
The State Department is seeking the declassification of a 10-month-old letter expressing its concerns about a controversial Senate torture review.
U.S. Defense Chief Praises Mongolia, Given Horse During Visit
(Reuters: Phil Stewart)
Chuck Hagel noted the growing role the country has taken in international peacekeeping operations, including in Afghanistan.
China Fires Shot Across U.S. Bow Ahead of Obama's Asia Trip
(Reuters: Phil Stewart, Ben Blanchard)
In the eyes of Beijing, Washington is increasingly supporting Japan as well as other countries over territorial disputes with China.
Hagel Asks China's Xi Jinping to Do More to Contain North Korea
(The Wall Street Journal: Dion Nissenbaum)
Amicable talks follow blunt U.S. exchanges with Beijing's military leaders during three-day trip.
Chuck Hagel's Asia Trip Slammed on China's Twitter
(The Huffington Post: Matt Sheehan)
Chinese netizens greeted Hagel with widespread criticism on issues ranging from U.S. support for Japan to cybersecurity conflicts between the countries.
More Budget Cuts Mean Longer Deployments, Pentagon Leaders Say
(Navy Times: Leo Shane III)
The defense budget squeeze could mean longer deployments overseas and longer tours at sea.
Navy Axes Griffin Missile in Favor of Longbow Hellfire for LCS
(USNI News: Sam LaGrone)
The Navy plans to test the missile aboard a LCS—likely USS Freedom (LCS-1)—next year.
Navy Move to 'Break' Multiyear Deal Worries Industry: Sikorsky
(Reuters: Andrea Shalal)
Any move by the Navy to "break" the agreement in fiscal 2016 could also raise the cost of 60 U.S. Army Black Hawk helicopters included in the deal.
CNO: 'Take Jointness to Another Level'
(Navy Times: Christopher Cavas)
With tighter budgets the rule of the land, the military services need to seek support from each other.
The U.S. Air Force Is Testing Google Glass for Use on the Battlefield
(VentureBeat: Richard Byrne Reilly)
And so far, it likes what it sees.
AF Ramps Up Transition Assistance to Manage Flood of Separating Airmen
(Air Force Times: Stephen Losey)
Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force James Cody said that the Air Force's Airmen and Family Readiness Centers usually process 32,000 to 35,000 departing airmen each year.
All F-22s to Have Backup Oxygen Systems Within 12 Months
(Air Force Times: Brian Everstine)
Most of the current backup oxygen systems in the F-22 fleet require activation by the pilot.
Marine Corps Reserve Opens More Combat Units to Women
(Marine Corps Times: James Sanborn)
The Marine Corps has opened more roles in combat units to women—this time in the Reserve.
Sgt. Maj. of the Marine Corps Barrett: Less Pay Raises Discipline
(Marine Corps Times: Leo Shane III)
Lower pay and slimmed-down benefits will make Marines more disciplined and less wasteful.
Nuclear Talks With Iran Need 'Intensive Work,' Envoys Say
(The New York Times: Rick Gladstone)
The talks took place against rising tensions surrounding Iran's estranged relations with the West.
Iran Nuclear Talks Hit Hurdles, Face Deep Skepticism on Hill
America's top diplomat says he's "agnostic" on whether the highly touted talks can yield an agreement.
Top Russian Diplomat Rejects U.S. Warnings Against Striking Oil Deal With Iran
Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said that an increase in Russian-Iranian trade is a "natural process that doesn't involve any elements of political or economic challenge to anyone."
Arabs Urge U.S. to Keep Up Mideast Peace Push
(Reuters: Tom Perry)
The Arab League said Israel was responsible for the "serious predicament" facing the negotiation.
Israel 'Deeply Disappointed' by Kerry Peace Talks Remarks
(The New York Times: Isabel Kershner)
Kerry's remarks "will both hurt the negotiations and harden Palestinian positions."
Netanyahu Orders Cutback in Contacts With Palestinian Authority
(Reuters: Jeffrey Heller)
Cabinet members, directors-general of government ministries and other senior officials are to not meet their counterparts.
John Kerry Faces Dilemma After Latest Middle East Impasse
(The Guardian: Ian Black)
The secretary of State is facing demands in Washington to get tougher with Israel over key issue of settlements.
Israel Launches New Spy Satellite
Israel's Defense Ministry says it has launched a new observation satellite into orbit.
Afghan Commander: Cross-Border Taliban Alliance Growing Stronger
(Reuters: Maria Golovnina)
Taliban militants in Pakistan have established an increasingly close relationship with insurgents from across the border in Afghanistan.
DOD Appears to Expect Fewer Jobless Vets by 2015
(Air Force Times: Andrew Tilghman)
If the Pentagon's latest budget projections are any indication, the issue of veterans' unemployment may be easing.
Federal Lawmakers Rarely Hire Veterans
(Associated Press: Kevin Freking)
A survey says veterans made up less than 3 percent of the staff in the congressional offices that responded.
Veterans' Unemployment Defies Simple Answer
(The Washington Post: Greg Jaffe)
What is steering the national push to hire Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans isn't just statistics.
Some Vietnam Vets With PTSD Fight for Benefits
(Army Times: Patricia Kime)
George Siders remembers his first enemy kill like it happened yesterday.
Judge Slaps State Department Over Blackwater
(Associated Press: Pete Yost)
A federal judge is calling for an investigation of the State Department over years of delays in prosecuting Blackwater security guards in the shootings of dozens of Iraqi citizens in 2007.
Guantanamo Defense Attorneys: We Need CIA's Secrets to Prepare USS Cole Case
(The Miami Herald: Carol Rosenberg)
Defense lawyers argue the who, what, where, and how are critical to efforts to exclude statements Nashiri made at Guantánamo ostensibly voluntarily without benefit of an attorney.
U.S. Targets Egypt Militant Group Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis
(Reuters: Susan Heavey)
The formal designation signals the United States' willingness to pursue groups responsible for some of the ongoing violence in Egypt.
U.S. Envoy: Central African Republic Needs More Troops
(Associated Press: Krista Larson)
Ambassador Samantha Power said the African peacekeeping mission is now working to fill the gap left by neighboring Chad.
Cuba Probes Mobile Data Leak in ZunZuneo Case
(Associated Press: Andrea Rodriguez)
Cuba considers such USAID programs to be subversive attempts to topple its Communist-run government.
Afghan Gains Need Continued Support
The election suggests a number of reasons why the U.S.-led coalition shouldn't just cut and run as the Obama administration's year-end deadline for winding down the war nears.
Bring All Our Troops Home
(USA Today: Rep. Barbara Lee)
Some problems cannot be solved at the point of a gun.
Retiring the A-10 Early Puts Troops' Lives at Risk
(Real Clear Defense: Sens. Kelly Ayotte, John McCain, Saxby Chambliss)
When we send our troops into harm's way, we have a solemn obligation to ensure they have the very best support possible so they can accomplish their missions and return home safely.
Congress Must Pass the Veteran Suicide-Prevention Bill
(Defense One: Nick McCormick)
The biggest request veterans and the American public need to demand from Congress is this: For once, please do not let the stale election-year politics of old stand in the way of enacting necessary reforms that will save lives.
Putin Steals the CIA's Playbook on Anti-Soviet Covert Operations
(The Washington Post: David Ignatius)
It was a clever American strategy back then. And it's an equally clever Russian approach now.
Eliminating Double Standards in the Marine Corps
(Defense One: Rep. Duncan Hunter)
The issue of opening combat specialties will continue to be evaluated but every Marine should have the same opportunity to at least complete a course based on their abilities and qualifications.
The Outlaw Vladimir Putin
(The Wall Street Journal: David Rivkin Jr., Lee Casey)
Moscow's flouting of treaties, international law and the Geneva Conventions is raising world-wide dangers.
The Mideast Peace Process Peters Out
(The Washington Times: Clifford May)
Palestinian leaders' rejection of Israel precludes the possibility of a deal
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