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U.S. to China: Scrap Air Defense Zone, No Mission Sans Pact in Afghanistan, Iran Has Nuke Site Plans U.S. to China: Scrap Air Defense Zone, No Mission Sans Pact in Afghani...

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U.S. to China: Scrap Air Defense Zone, No Mission Sans Pact in Afghanistan, Iran Has Nuke Site Plans

By Sara Sorcher (@SaraSorcherNJ), Jordain Carney (@jordainc), and Stacy Kaper (@KaperSLK)

Welcome to NJ's Early Bird, a morning assembly of the best national security, defense, and foreign policy coverage from around the Web. Get this by forward? Click here to sign up directly.


U.S. Calls on China to Rescind Air Defense Zone to Avoid Japan Confrontation
(The Guardian: Paul Lewis, Spencer Ackerman)
The U.S. warned that Beijing risked a potentially dangerous confrontation with Japan and its allies at the start of a trip to the region by Vice President Joe Biden. 

Iran Unveils Plans for New Nuclear Site
(The Hill: Carlo Muñoz)
Iranian Prime Minister Hassan Rouhani announced plans to construct a new nuclear reactor in the country.

NATO Says Karzai Failure to Sign Pact Would End Afghan Mission
(Reuters: Adrian Croft
NATO would have to pull all its troops out of Afghanistan by the end of 2014, alliance chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Monday.


Joe Biden Seeks To Soothe Anxious Japan On China Spat
(Associated Press: Josh Lederman)
Vice President Joe Biden sought Tuesday to reassure anxious Japanese leaders that the U.S. stands firmly behind Japan's security.


Biden, in Japan, Calibrates Message Over China Tension
(The New York Times: Mark Landler)
The vice president finds himself in the midst of an increasingly tense standoff between Japan and China over Beijing's creation of a zone of restricted airspace.

Joe Biden Opens Weeklong Asia Trip With Tokyo Stop
(Associated Press: Josh Lederman)
The vice president aims to show that the U.S. is still committed to increasing its engagement and influence in the region.

Biden: Japan, China Need Crisis-Management Framework 
(The Asahi Shimbun: Yoichi Kato)
Biden's trip comes at a time when China's designation of an Air Defense Identification Zone over the East China Sea has ratcheted up tensions in the region.



Chinese Leader's Rise Came With New Attention to Dispute With Japan
(The New York Times: Jane Perlez)
The new air defense zone declared by China appears to have been approved by President Xi Jinping.

Trade Ministers Try Again to Revive Doha Deal
(The Wall Street Journal: Ben Otto)
The WTO this week makes what could be a final effort to keep long-sputtering trade talks alive amid mounting signs that many of its members have given up on a global agreement.

North Korean Power Behind the Throne Believed Dismissed
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's uncle, considered the power behind the throne, is believed to have been dismissed from his posts, a South Korean lawmaker said on Tuesday.

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U.S. Vet Detained In North Korea Oversaw Guerrilla Group
(Associated Press: Hyung-Jin Kim, Foster Klug)
Merrill Newman supervised a group of South Korean guerrillas during the Korean War who were perhaps the most hated and feared fighters in the North.

Comrade of American Held in North Korea Recalls Friendship, Stealth Mission
(Reuters: Jonathan Allen, Nicolas Medina Mora Perez)
In early 1953, Merrill Newman and Allen Hedges were among a small group of U.S. servicemen hunkered down on a tiny, frequently shelled island off the west coast of North Korea.


Iran Doesn't Want Afghanistan To Sign Us Deal
(Associated Press)
The request comes ahead of an expected visit to Iran next week by Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

Afghan President Denies Suggesting Elections Be Delayed 
(Reuters: Jessica Donati, Hamid Shalizi
The prospect of a delay was likely to worry the United States and critics of Hamid Karzai who fear he may be trying to drag out his second and final term.

Taliban Urge Afghan President to Reject U.S. Security Deal 
(The Guardian: Emma Graham-Harrison)
The Taliban, in an unusually polite statement, have urged Hamid Karzai to turn a delay in signing a long-term security deal with the United States into outright rejection.

Attacks Rise on Aid Workers in Afghanistan
(The New York Times: Rod Nordland
Officials were reluctant to attribute the increase to any single factor. But in a number of recent cases, Taliban insurgents have openly claimed responsibility.

Afghans Look Warily at Future Without U.S.
(The Wall Street Journal: Margherita Stancati, Nathan Hodge)
People are beginning to confront the real possibility that American support may vanish in the coming months for a state that has few other sources of sustenance.


Syria's Bashar Assad Implicated in War Crimes, U.N. Rights Chief Says
(Los Angeles Times: Raja Abdulrahim)
Syrian President Bashar Assad is implicated in war crimes and crimes against humanity in the country's ongoing civil war, the United Nations' human rights chief said Monday.

Syria Death Toll Hits 126,000
(Reuters: Erika Solomon)
The death toll in Syria's civil war has risen to at least 125,835, more than a third of them civilians, but the real figure is probably much higher, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Monday.


Colombian President Optimistic About Peace, to Meet Obama Today
(Reuters: David Adams)
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, bound for Washington on an official visit, said Monday he remains cautiously optimistic about peace talks with Marxist FARC rebels taking place in Cuba.

U.S. Commandos About to Kick Their Drug War Mission in Colombia
(Foreign Policy: Dan Lamothe)
The controversial mission will likely wind down soon: Colombian officials say they are winning the fight, and the two countries want to move to a new relationship based more closely on shared economic interests.

Alan Gross, Former USAID Contractor Jailed in Cuba, Appeals to Obama to Intervene
(The Washington Post: Karen DeYoung, Peter Wallsten)
In a letter to the president, sent via the U.S. diplomatic mission in Havana, Gross describes his isolation from the world.


Pentagon Memo: Please Leave Unapproved Bombs at Home 
(The Wall Street Journal: Dion Nissenbaum
The Pentagon's top security officer is reminding people that they aren't allowed to bring bombs to work—even if they don't work anymore—without prior permission.

Carter Implements Comprehensive Revision of Weapon-System Acquisition Procedures
(Inside Defense)
The deputy Defense secretary promulgated a new set of instructions for how the U.S. military develops, acquires, and sustains weapons—the first wholesale revision in five years of the procedures.

Inserting Phony Numbers Part of Job for DOD Workers
(Reuters: Scot Paltrow
Plugs are symptomatic of one very large problem: the Pentagon's chronic failure to keep track of its money—how much it has, how much it pays out, and how much is wasted or stolen.


A Make-or-Break Moment for Military Reforms
(National Journal: Stacy Kaper)
After many months, the mounting campaign to pressure lawmakers and the Defense Department to radically reform the military justice system is hitting a make-or-break moment.

Sen. Tom Coburn Blasts Homeland Security IT Weaknesses
(Roll Call: Niels Lesniewski
The Oklahoma Republican on Monday criticized the Department of Homeland Security after a new report showed significant information technology vulnerabilities at the agency.


Edward Snowden Revelations Prompt U.N. Investigation into Surveillance 
(The Guardian: Nick Hopkins, Matthew Taylor
The U.N.'s senior counterterrorism official is to launch an investigation into the surveillance powers of American and British intelligence agencies.


Accused of Cyberspying, Huawei is 'Exiting the U.S. Market'
(Foreign Policy: Shane Harris, Isaac Stone Fish)
The CEO of the world's biggest telecommunications equipment maker, which for years has been labeled by U.S. officials as a proxy for Chinese military and intelligence agencies, says he's giving up on America.

Seoul's F-35 Plan Thumps F-15 Silent Eagle
(Aviation Week: Bradley Perrett, Amy Butler)
South Korea's decision to sacrifice force structure in favor of buying into stealth with the F-35—a boon for Lockheed Martin's premier fighter program—quashes Boeing's hopes of selling it a semi-stealthy F-15.

Interview: Marc Parent, CAE's President and CEO
(Defense News: Aaron Mehta)
Under sequestration, the Pentagon has made a cost-conscious decision to emphasize simulation and classroom training. Companies are scrambling to get involved.


Lackland Recruits Take Abuse Survey
(Air Force Times)
Recruits at a Texas Air Force base where more than two dozen instructors were convicted of sexual abuse and other wrongdoing have been given a voluntary survey designed to help determine if the problems persist.

Leaders Seek Relief for Busiest, Most Stressed Airmen
(Air Force Times: Oriana Pawlyk, Stephen Losey)
The Air Force, in line with the Defense Department's objective, has been trying since 2010 to alleviate the stresses that come with deployments.


Massive Naval Power Remains at the Heart of America's Look Eastwards
(CNN: Paul Armstrong
One of the Navy's top commanders says his Pacific fleet "gets all the best stuff" when it comes to state-of-the-art weaponry—an undeniable reflection of Obama's so-called pivot toward Asia.

8-Month Deployments Become the New Norm
(Navy Times: Sam Fellman)
Eight-month deployments are becoming the fleet standard, with some stretching much longer.

1st of 3 Norfolk-based Ships Heading to Fla.
(Associated Press)
The first of three Virginia-based Navy ships is heading to a new home port in Florida this week.


Va. Funeral Home Switches Colonel's Body, Report Says
(Army Times: Joe Gould)
A Virginia funeral home made a mistake and buried the wrong body in place of a decorated Army colonel who was supposed to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.


Female Veterans Do Battle for Benefits at Home
(Chicago Tribune: Annie Sweeney
As more women serve in armed forces, Veterans Affairs and other agencies gear up to meet their specific needs when they return home.

Beefing Up the GI Bill 
(Army Times: Rick Maze
At least seven proposals are pending in Congress to improve the new GI Bill for large swaths of beneficiaries, including active-duty and reserve troops, wounded warriors, and families.


New Egypt Draft Charter Sets Powers for Military
(Associated Press: Hamza Hendawi, Maggie Michael)
The new draft constitution is a key first step in implementing a political transition laid down by the military after it removed Mohammed Morsi from power.

Lebanese Army Taking Over in Second-Largest City
(Associated Press: Bassem Mroue)
The government authorized the army to take charge of security in Tripoli for six months following deadly sectarian clashes by rival sides stemming from the civil war in neighboring Syria.

New Crew Departs Germany for Patriot Mission in Turkey
(Stars and Stripes: Matt Millham)
More than 200 air defense artillery soldiers boarded a plane to Turkey early Monday to take over the mission of guarding NATO's southeastern flank from possible missile strikes from Syria.


Prosecuting Rapes in the Ranks
(USA Today)
A new look requires a new approach to military sexual predators.

State of the (European) Union
(The New York Times)
Is Europe—often extolled as a model hybrid of social welfare and capitalism—having an identity crisis, or is it simply riding out a sluggish economy?

Commanders Can't Just Be Bystanders
(USA Today: Sens. Claire McCaskill, Kelly Ayotte)
We want commanders to say "not in my unit" instead of "not my responsibility."

What a Final Iran Deal Must Do
(The Wall Street Journal: Henry Kissinger, George Shultz)
A credible agreement must dismantle or mothball the key parts of Tehran's nuclear infrastructure.

Let CYBERCOM Stand Alone
(Defense News: Rob Sheldon)
The impending retirement of Army Gen. Keith Alexander and his top deputy creates a logical opportunity to review the government's cyber-related organizational chart.

Obama Thaws U.S.-Cuba Relations
(USA Today: DeWayne Wickham)
Obama and Kerry have cryptically acknowledged the need for a new approach to Cuba, a country the U.S. has—literally and figuratively—waged war with for over a half-century.

The Hijacking of Chinese Patriotism
(The New York Times: Yu Hua)
The significance of the Chinese government declaring an air defense zone is not the warning to Japan, but the patriotic stance it represents.

Bring My Husband Home
(USA Today: Judy Gross)
He was sentenced to 15 years in a Cuban prison for doing his job.

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National Journal's Early Bird is not produced by or officially sanctioned by the U.S. Department of Defense.  It was created to serve the defense community upon U.S. DoD's announcement, on Nov 1, 2013, of its decision to discontinue the much-beloved Early Bird news report.

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Don't Miss Today's Top Stories

Keeps me informed about national leadership concerns."

Senior Military Officer

The best!"

Mark, Compensation Analyst

Timely and informative."

Dave, HR specialist

I can browse over breakfast or while on the metro."

AJ, US Army Officer

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