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Early Bird

U.S. Sending Troops to Eastern Europe, Must Turn Over Info on CIA Prisons, Apaches Headed to Egypt

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.

Pentagon Details Planned Cuts if Budget Caps Remain
(Defense News: Marcus Weisgerber)
The cuts would affect dozens of Defense Department programs, including the Lockheed Martin F-35 joint strike fighter, Boeing KC-46 aerial refueling plane, and Airbus Light Utility Helicopter.

 

Four Army Units Heading to Eastern Europe
(Army Times: Andrew Tilghman )
The Army is sending approximately 600 troops, who will be divided among Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia.

U.S. to Partially Resume Military Aid to Egypt
(The Washington Post: Ernesto Londoño)
The United States has decided to resume delivery of Apache helicopters to Egypt.

Judge: Prosecutors Must Turn Over Info on Secret CIA Prisons
(Associated Press: Deb Riechmann)
Gitmo detainee is accused of orchestrating bombing of the USS Cole in 2000.

Report on CIA Interrogations Shadows Guantanamo Trials
(Associated Press: Stephen Braun, Ben Fox)
The Senate's forthcoming report on the CIA's use of harsh interrogation techniques could add to the legal complications facing the long-delayed U.S. military tribunals at Guantanamo Bay.

Jihadists Now Control Secretive U.S. Base in Libya
(The Daily Beast: Eli Lake)
A camp on the Libyan coastline meant to train terror-hunters has instead become a safe haven for terrorists and al-Qaida.

UKRAINE/RUSSIA

White House to Send $8M in Non-Lethal Items to Ukraine
(Defense News: John Bennett)
The Obama administration is sending nearly $10 million in new "security assistance" to Ukraine as that country stares down Russian forces.

Scrutiny Over Photos Said to Tie Russia Units to Ukraine
(The New York Times: Michael Gordon, Andrew Kramer)
Questions have arisen about the images submitted by Ukraine and cited by the United States as evidence of Moscow's military intentions.

Biden: Russia Must 'Stop Talking and Start Acting'
(Associated Press: Nedra Pickler)
Biden called on Moscow to encourage pro-Russia separatists in eastern Ukraine to vacate government buildings and checkpoints, accept amnesty, and "address their grievances politically."

U.S. Conducts Spy Flight Over Russia After Delay
(Washington Free Beacon: Bill Gertz)
A Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman also expressed anger over U.S. delays in certifying a new high-tech Russian aircraft to be used for spying missions over the United States.

Ukraine's Acting President Calls for Relaunch of Antiterror Operation
(The Guardian: Alec Luhn)
Oleksandr Turchynov makes call after "brutally tortured" body of politician from his party is found near Slavyansk.

Russia's Partisans Imposing Their Rule in East Ukraine
(The Daily Beast: Jamie Dettmer)
The anti-Kiev rebels are getting ready for battle by arresting "spies" and interrogating reporters while looking over their shoulders for support from Moscow.

Russian Forces in East Ukraine Aim to Disrupt Elections: Ukrainian PM
(Reuters: Pavel Polityuk)
Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk said he would welcome "the widest possible" cooperation with U.S. and E.U. companies in the energy sector.

Russia's Military Spending Spree
(Ozy.com: Jack Doyle)
Looking at Russia's military expansion plans for 2014, you'd think the Cold War had never ended.

Blame This Drunken Bear for Vladimir Putin
(The Daily Beast: Eleanor Clift)
Bill Clinton had to call Russia's first president early in the day to catch him sober. But the U.S. could work with Yeltsin—though he chose a successor who would "repudiate his legacy."

Spy Vs. Spy: Former Secretary Bob Gates Talks Putin
(Air Force Times: Mike Morones)
Before he became Defense secretary, Robert Gates spent a career at the CIA when U.S intelligence agents were pitted against the KGB.

EUROPE

Troops Arrive in Poland for Exercises Across Eastern Europe Amid Ukraine Crisis
(Associated Press)
Pentagon press secretary John Kirby says the exercises will last about a month, and involve a total of roughly 600 troops.

Sweden to Boost Military Spending Over Ukraine Crisis
(Agence France-Presse)
Sweden will increase its annual defense spending over the next 10 years, citing the crisis in Ukraine and an "unsettling" development in Russia.

NATO Minesweepers Set Off on Baltic Deployment
(Associated Press)
The ships left the German port of Kiel for an exercise that will continue under Norwegian command until the end of May.

CONGRESS

General to Brief Lawmakers on Ukraine
(The Hill: Martin Matishak)
Air Force Gen. Philip Breedlove will brief the Senate Armed Services Committee behind closed doors on May 1 on the "Ukrainian crisis and Russia."

John McCain Mocks Biden: 'Or Else What?'
(Politico: Jonathan Topaz)
The Arizona Republican did say that the additional $50 million in aid to Ukraine offered by the Obama administration is "helpful."

Adam Schiff: Ukraine Failure Would Encourage Nuke Stockpiles
(The Hill: Kristina Wong)
U.S. failure to assure Ukraine's territorial integrity would undermine nuclear nonproliferation efforts all over the world, said the Democratic lawmaker.

Grassley Wants 'Unredacted' Memo Justifying Killing of U.S. Citizen
(The Hill: Ramsey Cox)
Grassley's comments came the same day the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit voted unanimously for the Justice Department to release the redacted memo to the public.

ASIA/PACIFIC

Pacific Navies Agree on Code of Conduct for Unplanned Encounters
(The Wall Street Journal: Jeremy Page)
The Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea was adopted on the opening day of the Western Pacific Naval Symposium, which includes China, the U.S., Japan, the Philippines and about 20 other nations.

Obama Has Some Convincing to Do on Asia Tour
(McClatchy: Kathleen Hennessey, Christi Parsons)
The Obama administration has found itself repeatedly pulled away by crises in the Middle East, political battles in Washington and, more recently, turmoil in Ukraine.

Obama Set to Back Japan in Islands Dispute
(The Guardian: Justin McCurry)
Obama is expected to offer guarded support for Japan in its bitter territorial dispute with China over a group of islands in the East China Sea.

U.S.-Japan Trade Deal Is Coveted, Elusive
(The Wall Street Journal: Mitsuru Obe)
Agreement is crucial to broader trans-pacific partnership.

Japan Has Not Narrowed Trade Differences With U.S., Negotiator Says
(Reuters: Stanley White)
A U.S.-led Trans-Pacific Partnership deal is central to Obama's policy of expanding the U.S. presence in Asia.

China Is Setting Up Covert Spy Networks in U.S. and Australian Universities
(Quartz: Gwynn Guilford)
Both the U.S. and Australia have benefited from the appeal of their universities to Chinese students.

U.S. Urges North Korea to Refrain From New Nuclear Test
(Reuters: Arshad Mohammed, David Brunnstrom)
The United States said it was closely monitoring the situation on the Korean peninsula following reports that North Korea may be planning another nuclear test.

MIDDLE EAST

Qatar: Sentence of U.S. Couple Was Based on Lesser Charge
(The New York Times: Rick Gladstone)
A panel of judges that found an American couple guilty in the death of their adopted daughter convicted them on the charge of jeopardizing the child, and not the original charge of murder.

Israel Must Take On Palestinian Governance if Talks Fail: Abbas
(Reuters: Ali Sawafta)
His statement added urgency to a U.S. effort to extend negotiations set to expire next week.

U.S. Drones and Yemeni Forces Kill Qaida-Linked Fighters, Officials Say
(The New York Times: Eric Schmitt)
At least three airstrikes were carried out against Qaida fighters in a convoy and in remote training camps in southern Yemen.

USS Bush Arrives in Bahrain
(Stars and Stripes)
Bahrain is the first Middle East port visit for the more than 5,000 sailors aboard the Norfolk, Va.-based carrier, in its third month of a nine-month deployment.

SYRIA

Nearly 90 Percent of Syria's Chemical Arms Have Been Removed
(The New York Times: Rick Gladstone)
There are only two or three shipments left for export.

Syria's Chemical-Weapons Wild Card: Chlorine Gas
(Reuters: Oliver Holmes)
Chlorine-gas attacks in Syria this month, if proven, expose a major loophole in an international deal which promised to remove chemical weapons from Syria.

Experts: U.S. Must Have OK'd Transfer of Missiles Seen in Syria Rebel Video
(McClatchy: Mitchell Prothero, Jonathan Landay)
The videos show rebels firing BGM-71 missiles.

AFGHANISTAN/PAKISTAN

U.S. Seeks to Navigate Military-Civilian Power Blocs in Pakistan
(Medill News Service: John Kuhn)
The question going forward is whether the U.S. can effectively work with Pakistan's military through its civilian government.

Pakistan Says It's Test-Fired Short-Range Missile
(Associated Press)
A military statement says the Hatf III Ghaznavi missile with a range of 290 kilometers was launched from an undisclosed location.

WHITE HOUSE

Inside the President's Daily Briefing; DNI Moves With Care to Tablets
(Breaking Defense: Colin Clark)
Robert Cardillo—who oversees compilation of what's known in Washington as the PDB—rarely grants interviews or speaks to the press or Congress.

INTELLIGENCE

Obama Administration Tightens Grip on Intelligence
(Associated Press: Eileen Sullivan)
The Obama administration is tightening its control over intelligence and limiting officials' interactions with reporters. The new directive is intended to prevent unauthorized disclosures.

DEFENSE DEPARTMENT

General Rebuked Over Bungled Sex-Assault Case
(The Washington Post: Craig Whitlock)
The commander of U.S. forces in Japan was reprimanded after letting sexual misconduct complaints slide, but despite being disciplined, he has been moved to an important Pentagon post.

Recruits Trending Older in U.S. Military
(USA Today: Gregg Zoroya)
The trend is a boon for the military because older recruits have a greater tendency to re-enlist and achieve promotions at higher rates than those who join out of high school.

Foreign Troops Now Eligible for Defense Meritorious Service Medal
(Military Times)
Previously, coalition troops serving as part of the NATO effort in Afghanistan and other joint efforts could be recognized only by the individual U.S. military service branches.

INDUSTRY

Northrop Drives Dip in Defense Lobbying
(Politico: Austin Wright, Jeremy Herb)
Lobbying expenditures by big-name defense companies declined during the first three months of the year.

NAVY

Has the Navy Learned From its $3.2B Marine One Fiasco?
(The Washington Post: Christian Davenport)
The president's copters need upgrades, a process that will test whether the Pentagon can purchase major systems without busting budgets and deadlines.

Stealth Vs. Electronic Attack
(USNI News: Dave Majumdar)
Electronic attack by itself will probably not be enough to enable U.S. forces to penetrate enemy air defenses.

Midshipman Accused of Assaulting Cab Driver With Knife
(Associated Press)
Anne Arundel County police in Maryland say a 22-year-old Naval Academy midshipman has been charged with assault after threatening a cab driver with a butter knife.

ARMY

Army Denies It Will Lay Off 3,000 Officers to Meet Force Reduction Goals
(Government Executive: Eric Katz)
An Army spokesman said the service has some flexibility with the cuts.

MARINE CORPS

Marines Looking for a Few Good Actors
(Fox News)
A solicitation put out this month by the U.S. Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command sought an actor to play an al-Qaida "personality."

AIR FORCE

Air Force Corrects Figures on Early Retirement Approvals
(Air Force Times: Stephen Losey)
The number of officers approved for the first round of voluntary separation pay increased from 167 as of April 8 to 275 as of April 15.

Biden Set to Speak at Air Force Academy Graduation
(Colorado Springs Gazette: Tom Roeder)
Vice President Joe Biden will address 1,000 graduating Air Force Academy cadets at a ceremony in Falcon Stadium on May 28.

VETERANS

Top VA Official Questions Use of Term 'Gulf War Illness'
(Army Times: Patricia Kime)
Undersecretary for benefits said name change would be "limiting."

DETAINEES

Special Prosecutor Confirms an FBI Investigation Related to 9/11 Case
(Miami Herald: Carol Rosenberg)
The FBI is indeed investigating something related to the Sept. 11 case, but it's not the release of the 9/11 mastermind.

ARCTIC

Russia's Putin Wants Beefed-Up Presence in Arctic
(Reuters: Alexei Anishchuk)
Russia's ambitions in the Arctic have for some time been raising eyebrows among other states vying for a presence there.

PEOPLE

He Hunted Osama Bin Laden, He Breaks Into Nuclear-Power Plants
(The Atlantic: Tina Dupuy)
The unlikely career of Dalton Fury.

McChrystal Talks About Life After the Military
(USA Today: David Jackson)
Ex-Gen. Stanley McChrystal is talking about how he coped with life after the end of his military career—a very sudden end.

ANALYSIS/COMMENTARY

Obama's Trip to Asia: What to Watch for and a Recommendation
(The National Interest: Sarah Batiuk)
It would be great timing for the United States to have this treaty with Japan in the bag by the visit.

The Sources of U.S.-China Strategic Mistrust
(The Diplomat: J.M. Norton)
The historical use of ambiguity has been at the foundation of postwar U.S.-China ties.

Intelligence Budget Should Not Be Secret
(CNN: Rep. Cynthia Lummis, Rep. Peter Welch)
The debate over secrecy in the name of national security is more relevant now than ever before.

The U.S. Must Stand Behind Its Security Obligations
(The Washington Post: Michael Chertoff)
A strategy reset requires that we define and articulate real red lines, and that we maintain the soft and hard power to enforce those red lines and that when red lines are crossed.

Rothenberg: Obama's Foreign Policy Impacts 2014 Elections—Really
(Roll Call: Stu Rothenberg)
Whatever you think about the Affordable Care Act, the White House's approach to foreign policy—most recently on Syria, Ukraine, Russia and Middle East peace—has too often seemed naïve.

What We Left Behind
(The New Yorker: Dexter Filkins)
An increasingly authoritarian leader, a return of sectarian violence, and a nation worried for its future.

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