By Jordain Carney ( @jordainc)
Welcome to NJ's Early Bird, today's best national security, defense, and foreign policy coverage. To contact us, email email@example.com.
Insurgents Say Ukraine Region Opts for Sovereignty
(Associated Press: Vladimir Isachenkov, Peter Leonard)
Ninety percent of voters in a key industrial region in eastern Ukraine came out in favor of sovereignty, pro-Russian insurgents said.
Secret Service Units Patrolled Aide's Neighborhood
(USA Today: Kevin Johnson)
Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan said daily patrols were sent to the employee's home during the 2011 Fourth of July weekend while the president was at Camp David.
Congressional Conundrum: Cut Weapons Programs Now or Later?
(Defense News: John Bennett)
The Armed Services Committee so shielded programs that there were few of the latter on a list of "winners and losers" sent by one industry consultant.
Kiev Criticizes Self-Rule Vote as 'Criminal Farce'
(The Washington Post: Simon Denyer, Anna Nemstova)
The vote for self-rule in regions of eastern Ukraine complicates efforts to establish order and could deepen divisions that threaten to tear the country apart.
Kremlin Hopes for Dialogue After Ukraine Vote
(Associated Press: Peter Leonard)
The Russian government voiced its hope in a statement that "the practical implementation of the referendums results will take place in a civilized way.
Armed Men in Eastern Ukraine Open Fire On Crowd
The bloodshed occurred hours after dozens of armed men shut down voting in a referendum on sovereignty for the region. One of them identified the group as being national guardsmen.
Court Rescinds Injunction Preventing Government Business With Russian Defense Company
The U.S. Federal Claims Court on May 8 rescinded an earlier injunction that prevented U.S. government agencies and the United Launch Alliance from doing business with the Russian company that supplies rocket engines for ULA's Atlas V launch vehicle.
Russia Ratchets Up Ukraine's Gas Bills in Shift to an Economic Battlefield
(The New York Times: Steven Erlanger)
Executives at the Russian gas giant Gazprom now say Ukraine owes them more than $22 billion, adding economic pressure to the military presence along Ukraine's eastern border.
French Foreign Minister Fabius to Discuss Ukraine With Kerry
(The Wall Street Journal: Sam Schechner)
Two will meet in Washington as tensions rise amid referendum by separatists.
EU Moves Cautiously to Raise Pressure on Russia Over Ukraine
(Reuters: Adrian Croft, Justyna Pawlak)
Discussions among EU foreign ministers in Brussels will again be dominated by the Ukraine crisis after pro-Moscow rebels held a referendum on self-rule.
Russian Official Delivers Petition From Moldova Region to Join Russia
(Reuters: Gabriela Baczynska)
A senior Russian politician said he had brought to Moscow a petition by residents of Moldova's Russian-speaking, breakaway region of Transdniestria backing union with Russia.
Rogers Cites 'Leadership Failure' at Secret Service After Washington Post Report
(The Washington Post: Ellen Nakashima)
The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee voiced alarm over reports that Secret Service officials were diverted from their job to protect a personal friend of the agency's director.
Pelosi Wants Meeting on Benghazi Committee Rules With Boehner
(Roll Call: Emma Dumain)
It's unclear when a meeting would take place, with members back in their districts for recess next week.
Cantor Fears Obama's 'Pivot' to Asia Sends the Wrong Signal
(The Hill: Ian Swanson)
The House majority leader argues the White House's talk of a pivot or rebalance to Asia suggests other regions are less important.
Udall Calls for VA to Broaden Waiting List Probe
Udall called for VA officials to expand their investigation to facilities in New Mexico and elsewhere.
Iran's Illicit Procurement Appears to Slow Amid Nuclear Talks - U.N. Experts
(Reuters: Louis Charbonneau)
The panel suggested it was also possible Tehran has simply learned to outsmart security and intelligence services in its pursuit of sensitive components and materials.
Iran Nuclear Deal Takes Shape With Powers Poised to Expand Ties
(Bloomberg: Jonathan Tirone, Kambiz Foroohar)
This week's five days of scheduled talks in Vienna will be the longest round of haggling since November.
Iran Leader Slams West's 'Stupid' Missile Stance Before Talks
(Reuters: Michelle Moghtader, Mehrdad Balali)
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called on Iran's Revolutionary Guards to mass produce missiles and said the nuclear negotiations were not the place to discuss Tehran's defense program.
Iran Claims Copy of Captured U.S. Drone Will Soon Take Test Flight
Iran said it had succeeded in copying a US drone it captured in December 2011.
9 Million Now Displaced by Syria's Civil War, U.N. Says
(McClatchy: John Zarocostas)
John Ging, the director of operations at the U.N.'s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, warned that those numbers are like to grow.
U.S. Diplomat: Deadline Achievable on Syrian Weapons
(The Hill: Martin Matishak)
The details of what kind of procedures should be used to eradicate the associated infrastructure are being worked out now, she noted.
Pentagon Chief Chuck Hagel to Meet GCC Ministers in Saudi Arabia
Hagel will fly to Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Israel for talks that are expected to focus on Iran's nuclear program and Syria's civil war.
Drone Strike Kills at Least Two in Yemen: Local Officials
(Reuters: Mohammed Ghobari)
A drone strike killed at least two people in the northern Yemeni province of Maarib.
2 Yemenis Shot by Americans Are Linked to al-Qaida Cell
(The New York Times: Shuaib Almosawa, Eric Schmitt)
New details emerged about a shooting last month in which the Obama administration said two Americans from the U.S. Embassy killed armed Yemenis who were trying to kidnap them.
Report Shows Levels of Afghan Violence Rising as Foreign Troops Draw Down
(The Wall Street Journal: Margherita Stancati)
It indicates Taliban remain determined to fight for power.
Front-Runner in Afghan Election Picks Up New Support
(The New York Times: Alissa Rubin)
The presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah won the endorsement of the third-place candidate, Zalmay Rassoul, for the runoff vote next month.
Secret Bastion 'Brain Trust' Thinks Up the Most 'Bizzaro' Attacks Possible
(Marine Corps Times: Hope Hodge Seck)
The Camp Leatherneck/Camp Bastion has a secret weapon: a think tank of a dozen young troops whose job it is to come up with far-fetched potential security threats and troubleshoot them.
China's Achilles' Heel: Air Defense Gap
(Defense News: Wendell Minnick)
A former U.S. Air Force official is suggesting this was a message of deterrence to Beijing that the US is aware of China's weak links along its air defense network.
FBI Wants Easier Process for Warrants to Hack Computers
(The Washington Post: Ellen Nakashima)
Proposed rule would allow bureau to obtain warrants to target computers concealed in unknown locations.
Hagel 'Open' to Review of Military Policy on Transgender People
(The New York Times: Helene Cooper)
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said the armed forces should "continually" review its prohibition, calling into question whether the ban may eventually be lifted.
Contractor Costs Must Come Down, U.S. Army Brass Says
(Defense News: Paul McLeary)
Service leaders appear to have reached the point where they've given up trying to put on a good face for industry.
Portrait of the Army as a Work in Progress
(Foreign Policy: Rosa Brooks)
The service's plan to revamp itself for the post-post-9/11 world is ambiguous and rife with contradiction. That's what makes it brilliant.
A Soldier's War on Pain
(The New York Times: Barry Meier)
After turning away from prescribed narcotics, a wounded Army sergeant has found hope. And some doctors see lessons for the business of long-term pain management.
Naval Academy Sexual Assault Allegations Change the Lives of 4 Midshipmen
(The Washington Post: Annys Shin)
Eric Graham had pictured ship selection night at the U.S. Naval Academy many times.
Retired Marine Admits Guilt in Reimbursement Fraud
According to the plea agreement, Devin Pierre Alario sought reimbursement for up to $3,800 a month and he made more than $95,000 from the scheme.
Mannequins and Other Odd Things Found in Corps-Wide Contraband Search
(Marine Corps Times: James Sanborn)
A 'wooden prop depicting male organ.' An 'unused condom with instructions for use.' A 'female mannequin torso.' A 'WWII poster about (STDs).'
USAF Faces More Tough Choices in 2016
(Defense News: Aaron Mehta)
Air Force officials seem to be coming to grips that a congressional rescue isn't coming.
If Not the A-10 and U-2, What Else Can the Air Force Cut?
(Air Force Times: Brian Everstine)
The Air Force has said there are other options to find savings on par with cutting the A-10, such as retiring the entire B-1B Lancer fleet or cutting 350 F-16s.
Marine Corps Awards $27 Million AAV Survivability Contracts To BAE, SAIC
The Marine Corps has awarded $27 million contracts to BAE Systems and Science Applications International Corp. for Assault Amphibious Vehicle survivability upgrades.
Vet With Chest Pains: VA Said Wait '3 or 4 Months'
(Fort Collins Coloradoan: Nick Coltrain)
According to a recently released report from the federal Office of the Medical Inspector, scheduling problems at the Fort Collins VA clinic led to record fixing so staff appeared to meet internal goals.
VA Nurse on Leave Over Email on How to 'Game' Treatment Delays
(USA Today: Gregg Zoroya)
An e-mail dated June 19, 2013, explained how to alter records to show that veterans saw doctors within a 14-day goal established by the VA.
VA Hospital Spent 10 Years Installing an Electronic Waitlist
(Nextgov: Bob Brewin)
The Phoenix Veterans Affairs Healthcare System in 2012 finally installed an electronic waitlist system that had been available and deployed elsewhere in the VA since 2002.
VA Appoints New Phoenix Health Chief
(The Hill: Russell Berman)
Steve Young on Monday will shift to Phoenix from the Salt Lake City VA, which he has led since 2009.
VFW Asks Vets About VA Health Care Experiences
(Military Times: Patricia Kime)
The groups say the outreach aims to determine what's happening at the grass-roots level.
Hagel: We Missed VA Problems
(Politico: Lucy McCalmont)
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says the backlog is an issue that should have been looked at "years ago."
Agent Orange's Long Legacy, for Vietnam and Veterans
(The New York Times: Clyde Haberman)
More than 40 years after the American military used Agent Orange in the Vietnam War, the chemical still casts a long shadow over the Vietnamese and the American veterans who fought there.
Is Rand Paul a Secret Hawk? Or Maybe Not a Total Dove?
(The Daily Beast: James Kirchick)
The Republicans' most visible isolationist is now being advised by a life-long interventionist. What gives?
Boko Haram's Bin Laden Connection
(The Daily Beast: Eli Lake)
Some intelligence analysts believe that Osama bin Laden provided everything from seed money to strategic direction to the now-infamous Nigerian terror group.
U.S. Power in Africa Tested
(The Washington Post: Anne Gearan)
Outcry over Nigerian kidnappings is just one of the crises to provoke cynicism about American intentions.
A Vote for the Status Quo
(The Washington Post)
House Republicans engage in wishful thinking on the defense budget.
The Price of Storing the A-10 in "Type-1000" Storage
(Defense News: Aaron Mehta)
The retirement of the A-10 (and, to a lesser degree, the U-2 spy plane) is the lynchpin of its budget.
Show Us The Drone Memos
(The New York Times: Sen. Rand Paul)
We must see the legal case for executing a United States citizen without a trial.
Vladimir Putin's Meaningless Words on Ukraine
(The Washington Post)
On the ground, all evidence suggests that Moscow is still backing armed militants in eastern Ukrainian cities.
Fear Not: Russia's History of Epic Fails
(The Daily Beast: P. J. O'Rourke)
If 1,000 years of Russian screw-ups are anything to go by, it won't be long before Vladimir Putin brings himself down.
Obama's Power Lament
(The Wall Street Journal)
The President frets about the consequences of doing nothing in Syria and Nigeria
How the Dead Come Home From Afghanistan
(The Daily Beast: Nick Willard)
The assembled troops pay their respects. There are no photos allowed.
Partners in War, And in Ending It
(Christian Science Monitor: John Yemma)
The inclusion of women in front-line combat operations is a belated recognition of their already-substantial role in the US military.
Beirut Barracks vs. Benghazi
(The Daily Beast: Michael Tomasky)
Republicans are trying to criminalize a tragedy—wholly unprecedented, even after 241 Marines died because of a massive U.S. intelligence failure.
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