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U.S. Sending More Ships to Japan, Tries to Assure China on Cyber, Afghan Election Going to Runoff? U.S. Sending More Ships to Japan, Tries to Assure China on Cyber, Afgh...

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U.S. Sending More Ships to Japan, Tries to Assure China on Cyber, Afghan Election Going to Runoff?

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.

 

U.S. to Send More Destroyers to Japan
(The Wall Street Journal: Dion Nissenbaum)
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said the U.S. plans to bolster its missile-defense systems in Asia and counter North Korea by sending two more advanced destroyers to Japan by 2017.

U.S. Tries Candor to Assure China on Cyberattacks
(The New York Times: David Sanger)
After Chinese officials were briefed on American strategy, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel planned to push during his visit for reciprocal openness.

Afghan Vote Appears Headed for Runoff
(The Wall Street Journal: Yaroslav Trofimov, Margherita Stancati)
Preliminary results show they appear to have rejected Hamid Karzai's preferred successor, and that Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah may be headed for a runoff in late May or early June.

 

Ukraine Says Russia Fomenting Eastern Unrest
(Associated Press: Peter Leonard)
Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said Russia was behind seizures of several government buildings in eastern regions that seen a spike in secessionist sentiment.

Obama to Attend Fort Hood Memorial Service Wednesday
(USA Today: Aamer Madhani)
The Obamas were already scheduled to begin a two-day trip to Texas on Wednesday to take part in Democratic campaign fundraisers in Houston.

Israelis and Palestinians Ask U.S. Envoy for New Meeting
(The New York Times: Jodi Rudoren)
The request came after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel would take "unilateral steps" in response to the Palestinians' move last week to join international conventions.

AFGHANISTAN/ PAKISTAN

Obama Hails Afghan Elections as Milestone Toward Democracy
(Fox News)
Obama said the Afghan people are taking full responsibility for their country as the United States and its allies gradually withdraw their forces.

 

Afghan Election Complicated by Enduring Ethnic Politics
(The Washington Post: Kevin Sieff)
Early returns in Kabul appear to show the continuing power of sectarianism.

Smooth Afghan Poll Raises Questions About Taliban Strength
(Reuters: John Chalmers, Maria Golovnina)
The Taliban claimed that they staged more than 1,000 attacks and killed dozens during Saturday's election.

U.S. Eyes Afghan Vote, Seeking Amenable Ally
(The New York Times: Eric Schmitt)
Obama administration officials will closely watch this weekend's election in Afghanistan, hoping that a successor to President Hamid Karzai will allow international troops to remain on the ground.

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Gen. Allen: It's Time Obama Commits To Staying in Afghanistan
(Defense One: Gayle Tzemach Lemmon)
The Obama administration quickly should make a public vow to keep United States troops beyond the end of the year. 

Pakistan's Deal With the Devil And The Taliban Shadow Surge
(The Daily Beast: Jacob Siegel)
On March 1, the Islamabad government cut a deal with the Taliban. And since then, all hell has been breaking loose in neighboring Afghanistan.

FORT HOOD

3 Soldiers Identified as Victims of Shooting
(The New York Times: Ashley Southall)
The Army said that the soldiers killed in the Fort Hood rampage were highly decorated veterans who had served multiple tours of duty.

Military's Mental-Health System Faces Shortage of Providers, Lack of Good Diagnostic Tools
(The Washington Post: Sandhya Somashekhar, Ellen Nakashima)
A nationwide shortage of mental-health providers has made it difficult for the military to hire enough psychiatrists and counselors.

Pentagon Opposes Allowing Concealed Weapons on Bases
(The Hill: Kristina Wong)
The Pentagon is opposed to calls from some lawmakers for troops to be allowed to carry concealed weapons on base after this week's Fort Hood shooting.

One Fort Hood Victim Barricaded Door to Packed Room
(USA Today: Doug Stanglin, Yamiche Alcindor)
One of the three soldiers killed in the shooting rampage at Fort Hood died while trying to hold a door shut that would have led the gunman to a room packed with military personnel.

How the Army Betrayed the Hero of Fort Hood
(The Daily Beast: Michael Daly)
Kimberly Munley was shot three times taking down Nidal Hasan in 2009. Then she got laid off.

For One General, War's Echoes at Home
(The Washington Post: Greg Jaffe)
To spend time with Lt. Gen. Mark Milley is to see how Fort Hood, the Army are changed by war.

CONGRESS

Kaine: Focus on Military Mental Health
(The Hill: Kate Tummarello)
Kaine's comments come after last week's shooting at the Fort Hood military base in Texas. In that shooting, Spc. Ivan Lopez killed three and wounded 16 before taking his own life.

McCaul: Allow More Guns on Military Bases
(The Hill: Kate Tummarello)
The chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee is calling for the repeal of limits on guns on military bases.

ENLIST Act Rebuffed by Buck McKeon, But Denham Wants Immigration Amendment Vote in NDAA
(Roll Call: Emma Dumain)
The House Armed Services Committee chairman said there will be no pathway to legal status for undocumented immigrants who serve in the military attached to this year's defense spending bill.

California's Rep. Nunes Wants Oversight of the Cloak and Dagger
(McClatchy: Michael Doyle)
Rep. Devin Nunes need not be too covert in his campaign to become the next chairman of the House intelligence committee.

INTELLIGENCE

Delays in Effort to Refocus C.I.A. From Drone War
(The New York Times: Mark Mazzetti)
Despite avowals about the need to refocus the agency on its original missions of analysis, intelligence collecting and espionage, the paramilitary operations have proven hard to give up.

Merkel Ally Says U.S. Assurances on NSA Spying 'Insufficient'
(Reuters: Noah Barkin)
Bilateral talks are unlikely to make much progress before the German leader visits Washington next month.

Senate's Findings on CIA Interrogations Likely to Become Roadmap for Litigation
(McClatchy: Michael Doyle, Marisa Taylor)
A scathing and still-secret Senate report on harsh CIA interrogations and detentions threatens to drag President Barack Obama into a legal thicket he'd rather avoid.

During Cold War, CIA Used 'Doctor Zhivago' as a Tool to Undermine Soviet Union
(The Washington Post: Peter Finn)
The British were suggesting that the CIA get copies of the novel behind the Iron Curtain.

NAVY

Fleet's New Deployment Plan To Lock In 8-Month Cruise
(Defense News: Lance Bacon)
The new plan, known as Optimized Fleet Response Plan, or O-FRP, will extend the carrier strike group deployment cycle to 36 months.

LCS Is Undermanned & Overworked, Says GAO
(Breaking Defense: Sydney Freedberg Jr.)
LCS sailors averaged about six hours of sleep per day, 25 percent below the Navy's eight-hour standard.

Reports Fault Command For Not Flagging Navy Yard Shooter
(Military Times: David Larter)
Investigations by the Defense Department, the Navy and the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform all concluded that Fleet Logistics Squadron 46 failed to report several troubling incidents.

Hazing Reports Up as More Come Forward
(Navy Times: Meghann Myers)
The uptick is heartening, according to the effort's leader, because it means sailors are more comfortable coming forward.

U.S. Navy Warship Rescues Sick Baby Stranded at Sea
(Associated Press)
U.S. sailors rescued a family with an ill 1-year-old baby from a disabled sailboat hundreds of miles off the Mexican coast.

Interview: Vice Adm. John Miller
(Defense News: Christopher Cavas, Awad Mustafa)
Miller has experienced the push and pull of international relations around the gulf region.

ARMY

U.S. Army, Marines Struggle With Infantry Vehicle Replacements
(Defense News: Paul McLeary)
The two services have poured billions of dollars into developing, then scrapping, expensive next-generation vehicles.

Soldier Sentenced to Two Years for Sexual Misconduct
(Associated Press)
A military police officer convicted of sexual misconduct at Guantanamo Bay has been sentenced to two years.

AIR FORCE

KC-46A Development Passes Halfway Point
(Air Force Times: Brian Everstine)
Development of the Air Force's KC-46A tanker is about 57 percent complete, with the first flight of the test aircraft planned for this summer.

Air Force's 25-year RPA Plan Includes Unmanned Cargo, Tanker Aircraft
(Inside Defense)
The Air Force has released its latest guidance on the development of remotely piloted systems and aircraft in an attempt to look beyond the "tyranny" of the current budget cycle.

Senior Air Force Officer Loses Job Over 'Inappropriate' Emails
(Air Force Times: Kristin Davis)
A senior Air Force officer at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph in Texas was removed from his job in late March over a 2007 email exchange with the wife of a subordinate officer.

Nellis A-10 Squadron Prepares for End of Legendary Plane's Flying Days
(Las Vegas Review-Journal: Keith Rogers)
The nation's fleet of post-Vietnam War-era A-10s, officially known as the Thunderbolt II, is destined for the bone yard.

The Autonomy Question
(Air Force Magazine: Rebecca Grant)
Where should humans step aside and let the machines take over?

MARINE CORPS

The Story Behind the Female Officer Who Called for Change at IOC
(Marine Corps Times: Hope Hodge Seck)
Behind the scenes, however, a discussion between Santangelo, Amos, and other Marine officials had been underway for some time.

DEFENSE DEPARTMENT

Top Pentagon Energy Official to Depart
(Politico: Alex Guillén)
Sharon Burke, the Pentagon's top energy official, will step down on May 9 after almost four years in the job.

Exclusive Interview: Former Defense Chief Robert Gates on Wars and Washington
(Stars and Stripes: Jon Harper)
Gates discusses the war in Afghanistan, troop morale, and current tensions with Russia.

MIDDLE EAST

Netanyahu Blames Palestinians for Collapsing Peace Talks
(The Washington Post: William Booth)
The Palestinians say it is Israel that has pushed the U.S.-brokered talks toward collapse.

Israel's Livni Says U.S. Should Change Role in Mideast Peace Talks
(Reuters: Maayan Lubell)
The United States should change its role in the Middle East peace process allowing for more direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

Israel Warns Palestinians but Leaves Way Open for Talks
(The New York Times: Jodi Rudoren)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel would take "unilateral steps" in response to the Palestinians' move last week to join international conventions.

Judge Dismisses Drone Lawsuit
(The Hill: Rebecca Shabad)
A federal judge on Friday dismissed a lawsuit against Obama administration officials over the drone strikes that killed three U.S. citizens in Yemen in 2011.

IRAN

Iran Hopes Draft Accord Will Follow Nuclear Talks
(Reuters: William Maclean, Lou Charbonneau)
Iran hopes enough progress will be made at talks with major powers this week to let negotiators start drafting.

Iran Can't Withdraw Much Oil Revenue Under Interim Nuclear Deal
(The Wall Street Journal: Laurence Norman, Nour Malas, Benoit Faucon)
Difficulties could hinder negotiations for a comprehensive agreement.

U.S. Permits Export to Iran of Plane Parts
(Reuters)
Boeing and General Electric received limited licenses from the Treasury Department to service 18 commercial aircraft engines sold to Iranair in the late 1970s, the companies said.

U.S. Warns on Potential Russia-Iran Oil Deal
(The Wall Street Journal: Laurence Norman)
Such a move could trigger U.S. sanctions, official says.

SYRIA

U.S. Finalizing Plan to Boost Support for Syrian Rebels: Sources
(Reuters: Mark Hosenball, Missy Ryan)
The United States would increase assistance and send the shipments to moderate rebel factions mostly based in Jordan.

ASIA/PACIFIC

China Warns U.S. Not to Meddle in Hong Kong Over Democratic Reform
(Reuters: James Pomfret)
China has cautioned the United States not to interfere in Hong Kong affairs after Vice President Joseph Biden met two prominent pro-democracy advocates.

Hagel Cautions China on Eve of His First Beijing Visit
(The Washington Post: Ernesto Londoño)
"Coercion and intimidation is a deadly thing," defense secretary says in Japan.

Hagel to Get Rare Tour of China's New Aircraft Carrier
(Associated Press: Lolita Baldor)
A senior defense official said Hagel requested the visit.

U.S., Japanese Officials to Hold Cybersecurity Talks Next Week
(Inside Cybersecurity: Christopher Castelli)
The United States will host the next U.S.-Japan Cyber Dialogue at the director-general level on April 10.

U.S. Tries to Steer Through Dispute Between China and Japan
(The New York Times: Helene Cooper)
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is visiting China amid tit-for-tat maneuvering and territorial disputes between China and its East Asian neighbors.

U.S. Response to Crimea Worries Japan's Leaders
(The New York Times: Helene Cooper, Martin Fackler)
The failure of the United States to take more forceful action to help Ukraine leaves Japan concerned about whether Washington would aid it in a conflict with China.

EUROPE

Crimean Separatist Dodges Western Sanctions
(The Wall Street Journal: Paul Sonne, Anton Troianovski)
Alexei Chaly, leader of the new pro-Russian government in Sevastopol and a target of sanctions, is also CEO of a manufacturing company still selling in Europe, the U.S. and Canada.

Ukraine Leader Warns of Gas Shutoff
(The Wall Street Journal: Alexander Kolyandr)
Prime Minister Yatsenyuk says country will not recognize Russia's price increase.

Navy's European Missile Sites Move Forward
(Defense News: David Larter)
The military could speed up deployment of a land-based missile defense shield in Europe to hem in a resurgent Russia.

INDUSTRY

Army Rejects General Dynamics Protest On AMPV Program; GD, BAE Respond
(Breaking Defense: Sydney Freedberg Jr.)
GD must decide whether to appeal to the Government Accountability Office, take the Army to court, or give up.

Lockheed Martin to Open Surface Navy Innovation Center
(Seapower Magazine: Richard Burgess)
The company has invested $3.5 million in the Surface Navy Innovation Center to keep pace with emerging technologies.

HOMELAND SECURITY

DHS Prepares Overhaul Of Internal Security Operations
(Nextgov: Aliya Sternstein)
The Homeland Security Department announced future plans to overhaul an organization that defends DHS' own internal networks.

NUCLEAR

U.S. Nuclear Lab Wraps Up Security Update 'Under Budget,' Despite Surprise Costs
(Global Security Newswire: Diane Barnes)
Nuclear-arms officials said a Los Alamos National Laboratory security update was done under budget, despite millions of dollars in unplanned costs.

VETERANS

Post-9/11 Monthly Vet Unemployment Rate Back Down
(Military Times: George Altman)
The unemployment rate for post-9/11 veterans dropped to 6.9 percent last month.

AFRICA

Uganda: Police Raid U.S.-Financed Health Project
(Associated Press)
Police officers raided the offices of an American-financed project that offers services to AIDS patients, a government spokesman said Friday, in what appeared to be the first public action to enforce a new anti-homosexuality law.

AMERICAS

Cuba Says U.S. Created Other 'Cuban Twitter' Projects
(Reuters: Marc Frank)
Cuba said the United States continues to use social media to "subvert" the island's government.

ANALYSIS/COMMENTARY

Egypt Must Change Its Repressive Ways
(Los Angeles Times)
The U.S. should push Cairo's military rulers to stop the crackdown on opposition groups and talk with them instead.

Fixing Military Mental Healthcare
(The Daily Beast: Marjorie Morrison)
To fix the military's mental healthcare system we need to give service members regular, individualized care so they can get help for problems before they get out of hand

No Matter What the Senate Report Says, I Know It Worked.
(The Washington Post: Jose Rodriguez Jr.)
People might think it is wrong for me to condemn a report I haven't read. But since the report condemns a program I ran, I think I have justification.

Afghans Step Up for Democracy
(The Wall Street Journal)
Taliban attacks don't stop an impressive election turnout.

How Obama Lost Afghanistan
(The Daily Beast: Elise Jordan)
He said it was 'the right war.' Then he did everything he could to screw it up.

A U.S. Plan to Help Cubans Communicate Should Be Applauded
(The Washington Post)
It's one thing to question the administration's methods in Cuba and quite another to trash its goals.

#CancelCastro: Why Is U.S. Policy Toward Cuba So Absurd?
(The Atlantic: Matt Ford)
A Twitter knock-off is just the latest ridiculous attempt by U.S. officials to bring down the Cuban regime.

Just Joking? Bugged Russian Ambassadors Want to Annex Alaska and Miami
(The Daily Beast: Anna Nemtsova)
A pair of Russian ambassadors allegedly joked about Moscow's coming conquests. The Kremlin says the recording is phony. But there's more than a grain of truth.

When Is a Rock Not a Rock?
(Foreign Policy: Keith Johnson)
A small court in the Hague wrestles with an existential question that could put a stop to China's maritime power grab.

Donald Rumsfeld Hasn't Learned a Damn Thing
(Politico: James Blight, Janet Lang)
Bush's unrepentant defense secretary and the dark art of B.S.

What the Air Force Can Learn From the Nuclear Cheating Scandal
(The Washington Post)
The meaning of the cheating scandal is that the Air Force needs to train effective stewards of the nuclear arsenal.

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Keeps me informed about national leadership concerns."

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