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With No Ukraine Deal, Obama Faces Tense Week, U.S. Aid Delivered, Did NSA Spy on 122 World Leaders? With No Ukraine Deal, Obama Faces Tense Week, U.S. Aid Delivered, Did ...

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With No Ukraine Deal, Obama Faces Tense Week, U.S. Aid Delivered, Did NSA Spy on 122 World Leaders?

By Jordain Carney (@jordainc)

Welcome to NJ's Early Bird, a morning assembly of the best national security, defense, and foreign policy coverage from around the Web.

 

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Obama Faces Tense Week Over Russia, Ukraine
(USA Today: David Jackson)
President Obama and his aides face another tense week over Russia and Ukraine.

 

U.S. Ships 300,000 MREs to Ukraine Military
(The Hill: Justin Sink)
The United States delivered 300,000 meals-ready-to-eat to the Ukranian military, the first delivery of American aid to the former Soviet republic following Russia's annexation of Crimea.

U.S., Russia Talks Fail to End Ukraine Deadlock
(Associated Press: Matthew Lee)
The United States and Russia agreed that the crisis in Ukraine requires a diplomatic resolution, but four hours of talks between Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov failed to break a tense East-West deadlock over how to proceed.

NSA Put Merkel on List of 122 Targeted Leaders
(The Intercept: Ryan Gallagher)
Secret documents shed more light on how aggressively the National Security Agency and its British counterpart have targeted Germany for surveillance.

Obama-Saudi King Talks May Ease Friction but No Breakthrough Seen
(Reuters: William Maclean, Angus McDowall)
Diplomats said the mere fact Obama made the effort to visit and discuss issues with the king should reduce the margin for public spats and counter an impression that both sides value the alliance less.

 

UKRAINE

Ukraine Hits Back at Proposals by Russia's Lavrov
(Reuters: Richard Balmforth)
Ukraine has hit back strongly at Russian calls for it to federalize its state structure and make Russian an official state language.

U.S., Russia Offer Differing Solutions On Ukraine
(Associated Press: Matthew Lee)
Kerry called for Russia to pull back its troops, and ruled out discussion demands for Ukraine to become a loose federation unless Ukrainians are at the table.

Russia Not Intending to Publish New Blacklists
(Reuters: Megan Davies)
Russia does not intend to publish new blacklists of Western citizens who may be targeted in sanctions as result of the Ukraine crisis.

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Putin, Obama Discuss Steps for 'Diplomatic Resolution'
(The Washington Post: Scott Wilson)
The hour-long phone exchange was the first contact between the two leaders since the U.S. imposed sanctions against Russia.

Russian Ambassador: No Plans to Invade Eastern Ukraine
(ABC News: Ali Weinberg)
But despite Ambassador Sergey Kislyak's insistence, U.S. officials remain concerned about the tens of thousands of Russian troops massing on the Ukrainian border.

NATO Chief: Crimea Crisis Shows Need To Defend A Nation's Free Choice
(Agence France-Presse)
NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen that the Ukraine crisis underscored the need to protect the right of nations to map out their own future.

Photographs Expose Russian-Trained Killers in Kiev
(The Daily Beast: Jamie Dettmer)
The slaughter of 53 protesters in the Maidan on February 20 changed history. Now, exclusive photographs show what really happened.

Ten Ways the Ukraine Crisis May Change the World
(Reuters: Paul Taylor)
Moscow and the West are digging in for a prolonged stand-off over Russia's annexation of Crimea, risking spillover to other former Soviet republics and beyond.

EUROPE

After Crimea, Moldova Too Fears "Unwanted" Events on Road to EU
(Reuters: Matt Robinson, Alexander Tanas)
Some Moldovans see the long arm of Russia, fanning tensions as part of a strategy of divide-and-rule that has left Moscow's post-Soviet backyard unstable.

U.S. Increases Security Funding to Moldova as Tensions Rise
(Reuters: Lesley Wroughton)
The pro-Western Moldavan government is pushing ahead with an EU trade deal by the summer despite the increasing debate on whether to integrate with Europe.

Top U.S. General Returns to Europe Early
(The Hill: Kristina Wong)
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has cut short a trip to Washington by the top U.S. general in Europe due to Russia's "lack of transparency" about its troop movements across the border with Ukraine.

CONGRESS

Senate Intel Chair: Crimea's Gone
(CNN: Jason Seher)
Some U.S. lawmakers are ready to say that it's futile to try to persuade Russia to give up control of Crimea.

McCain: If Putin Pushes, U.S. Business Pull Back
(The Hill: Bernie Becker)
he U.S. might need to pressure some of its biggest corporations to suspend their operations in Russia, Sen. John McCain said.

Rep. Jeff Miller Early Frontrunner to Replace Rogers as House Intel Chair
(Defense News: John Bennett)
Two congressional sources indicated Miller is interested in the Intelligence Committee gavel, with both saying he is viewed as having more expertise than other possible candidates.

Peter King, Devin Nunes Lead Crowded Field to Succeed Rogers as Intel Chair
(Roll Call: Daniel Newhauser)
Within hours of Mike Rogers' surprise retirement announcement, the hawks started circling to seize his Intelligence Committee gavel.

Rogers, Gop Hawk, Quitting Congress For Radio Show
(Associated Press: Bradley Klapper, David Runk)
Rep. Mike Rogers is retiring from Congress next year.

No Clear Path to NSA Reform on Hill
(The Hill: Julian Hattem)
President Obama's proposal to end government collection of Americans' phone records is expected to face a rocky path on Capitol Hill as lawmakers and pressure groups disagree on details and the scope of NSA reform.

Judiciary Committee Tries to Assert Jurisdiction on FISA Rewrite
(Roll Call: Steven Dennis)
Republicans and Democrats on the Judiciary Committee are trying to assert jurisdiction over legislation revamping the National Security Agency's surveillance programs.

INTELLIGENCE

Feinstein Gives Tentative Nod to Data Curbs
(The New York Times: Brian Knowlton)
Under the proposal developed by the Justice Department, the National Security Agency would be required to get a judge's permission in order to obtain specific records on Americans' phone calls.

Senate Torture Report Examines Hunt For Bin Laden
(Associated Press: Bradley Klapper)
A hotly disputed Senate torture report concludes that waterboarding and other harsh interrogation methods provided no key evidence in the hunt for Osama bin Laden, though the CIA disputes that conclusion.

How the NSA Can Use Metadata to Predict Your Personality
(Defense One: Patrick Tucker)
The president and congressional leaders want to end NSA bulk metadata collection, but not the use of metadata, which may even be expanded.

CYBER

Wanted: Cyberwarriors, No Experience or Knowledge Necessary
(Stars and Stripes: Jon Harper)
The Defense Department currently has about 1,800 people in its Cyber Mission Force. That number is scheduled to jump to 6,000 by the end of 2016.

U.S. Cyberwarfare Force to Grow Significantly, Defense Secretary Says
(The Washington Post: Ellen Nakashima)
The Pentagon is significantly growing the ranks of its cyberwarfare unit in an effort to deter and defend against foreign attacks on crucial U.S. networks.

Hagel Seeks Peace Pact for Digital Realm
(The New York Times: Helene Cooper)
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said the U.S. does not seek to "militarize" cyberspace, and pledged the Pentagon would show restraint in its global operations — if other nations do the same.

Did Obama Order a Cyber Attack?
(Foreign Policy: Shane Harris)
An order to strike a computer network would also come from the commander of U.S. Cyber Command.

DEFENSE DEPARTMENT

Weapons Spending Inches Upward
(Defense News: Marcus Weisgerber)
The Pentagon's five-year projections for procurement spending on its 63 major weapons programs has turned more positive than last year's spending forecast.

New Corps of Military Lawyers Help Rape Victims
(Associated Press)
The new corps of about 200 hand-picked and specially trained lawyers has represented hundreds of soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen as their alleged abusers were investigated, tried and, in some cases, convicted.

DoD to Look at Consolidating Commissaries, Exchanges
(Military Times: Karen Jowers)
The review will be conducted by the Pentagon's Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation Office.

Pentagon to Adapt Drones for Tougher Aerial Battles
(USA Today: Ray Locker)
The program, known as Collaborative Operations in Denied Environment, is drawing contractors to a meeting in early April to discuss possible approaches to enable drones to work together.

NATO

Former Norwegian PM Stoltenberg Named NATO Chief
(Agence France-Presse: Jerome Rivet)
Stoltenberg takes the helm of the 28-nation transatlantic alliance as Europe worries over a Russian build-up on its eastern fringe after Moscow's takeover of Crimea.

White House Welcomes New NATO Secretary-General
(The Hill: Kristina Wong)
The White House issued a statement welcoming the selection of former Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg as NATO's next secretary-general.

AFGHANISTAN/ PAKISTAN

John Sopko, Head of Oversight for U.S. Work in Afghanistan, Says Major Challenges Remain
(The Washington Post: Josh Hicks)
Sopko inherited a dispirited agency that was struggling with retention and had a reputation for ineffectiveness.

Credibility of Afghan Vote in Doubt as Observers Flee Violence
(The New York Times: Rod Nordland, Matthew Rosenberg)
Many international election monitors curtailed their activities or made plans to evacuate their foreign employees, potentially raising serious questions about the election's validity.

Taliban Attacks Guesthouse of U.S.-Based Charity
(The Washington Post: Kevin Sieff, Sayed Salahuddin)
The latest attack on Western and high-profile Afghan targets comes just a week before the nation's presidential election.

Afghan Drone War in Steep Decline
(Foreign Policy: Dan Lamothe)
Drone usage declining in Afghanistan may catch some by surprise.

MIDDLE EAST

U.S. Military Chief in Israel at Time of Tensions
(Associated Press)
The U.S. military chief has kicked off a visit to Israel at a time of heightened tensions with Israel's defense minister.

Israel Banks on 10 More Years of U.S. Aid
(Defense News: Barbara Opall-Rome)
During his visit here last March, Obama committed to talks aimed at extending U.S. military assistance beyond the current 10-year, $30 billion agreement signed in 2007.

ASIA/PACIFIC

North and South Korea Exchange Fire Across Disputed Sea Border
(The New York Times: Choe Sang-Hun)
North Korea conducted live-fire military drills in a provocation that came a day after it threatened to conduct more nuclear tests.

Philippines Seeks Arbitration Over China's Claims in South China Sea
(The Wall Street Journal: James Hookway)
The contested waters carry a huge volume of world trade and are also claimed in part by Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam.

Japan, U.S. to Create New Defense Body for Disputed Islands
(The Yomiuri Shimbun: Takashi Imai)
The envisaged body is expected to help Japan and the United States deal quickly with situations in and around the islands that cannot be clearly identified as armed attacks.

Is Obama Pivot to Asia on Hold?
(The Hill: Jeremy Herb)
Pentagon officials have insisted that the rebalance to the Pacific is still on despite budget constraints and new tensions in Europe that suggest America can't ignore the old world.

North Korea Promises 'New Form' of Nuclear Test
(The New York Times: Choe Sang-Hun)
The North did not elaborate, but Western analysts have long suspected that it is trying to make nuclear devices that could be delivered by intercontinental ballistic missiles.

AIR FORCE

2015 Budget Proposal Shows Half of Plans
(Defense News: Brian Everstine)
The Air Force's 2015 budget plan represents about half of what the service plans to do in terms of retiring and moving aircraft.

Scrapping U-2 Won't Save As Much As Touted
(Defense News: Aaron Mehta)
Retiring all of its U-2 spy planes and replacing them with Global Hawk UAVs won't save as much money as the US Air Force had said it would.

Air Force Sees Broad Enduring Requirement As OCO Funds Draw Down
(Inside Defense)
The Air Force expects demand for the vast majority of its core missions -- with the exception of close air support -- to remain stable or increase as the war in Afghanistan winds down.

The Secret 'Family' of the Long Range Strike Bomber
(Politico: Philip Ewing)
The Air Force wants its secret Long Range Strike bomber to be only part of a "family of systems" that will enhance its ability to hold any target at risk.

Ex-Air Force Instructor Sentenced for Abuses
(Associated Press)
A former Air Force basic training instructor has been sentenced to eight months in prison for abusive behavior toward recruits that included threatening to castrate one and not letting others to eat.

NAVY

Navy Seeks 'Dummy' Training Missiles to Shoot at Pilots
(Fox News: Robert Gearty)
The Navy is considering a novel way to protect its fighter pilots.

Navy Unveils New $1B Development Plan For Next Gen Jammer Increment 2
(Inside Defense)
The Navy's fiscal year 2015 budget includes a new plan for a $1 billion dedicated Next Generation Jammer funding line.

ARMY

Army Defends Move to Strip Guard of Apaches
(Military.com: Brendan McGarry)
The U.S. Army's top leaders defended their proposal to strip the Army National Guard of its AH-64 Apaches attack helicopters as part of a cost-saving move.

More Disputes Likely in U.S. Army's AMPV Contest
(Defense News: Paul McLeary)
The first week of April will be a critical one for what has been a relatively drama-free armored vehicle program for the U.S. Army.

MARINE CORPS

Marines Investigating Another Alleged Dutch Incident
(The Washington Post; Carol Leonnig, Michael Birnbaum, David Nakamura)
Club patrons: U.S. Marine bragged of protecting Obama ahead of president's arrival for summit.

VETERANS

VA Restores Aid to Homeless Veterans
(USA Today: Gregg Zoroya)
The assistance, for a category of homeless veterans who have less than honorable discharges, had quietly been pulled in recent months after a legal review of eligibility laws.

IG: Vet Overdosed While in VA Rehab Center
(Military Times: Patricia Kime)
A veteran of the war in Afghanistan died of a heroin and cocaine overdose last year while receiving treatment at a Miami Veterans Affairs residential treatment facility.

A Legacy of Pain and Pride
(The Washington Post: Rajiv Chandrasekaran)
A nationwide poll of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans reveals the profound and enduring effects of war on 2.6 million who have served.

ANALYSIS/COMMENTARY

Next Up Moldova?
(The Wall Street Journal)
Putin considers several options for another land grab.

Obama Must Show He'll Use Military Means to Deter Russia in Ukraine
(The Daily Beast: Leslie Gelb)
To deter Putin and other aggressors, diplomatic and economic slaps are not enough; the U.S. needs a military dimension.

Security Insiders: Putin Will Try to Seize More Territory Beyond Crimea
(National Journal: Sara Sorcher)
"What's to stop him? Certainly neither the U.S. nor NATO," one Insider said.

The Russians Are Coming
(Foreign Policy: Michael Weiss)
10 very good reasons not to believe Vladimir Putin when he says he's totally not going to invade eastern Ukraine.

The World's Post-Crimea Power Blocs, Mapped
(The Atlantic: Matt Ford)
What does this week's UN vote say about Russia's new place in the world?

The Arctic: Where the U.S. and Russia Could Square Off Next
(The Atlantic: Uri Friedman)
A closer look at Moscow's claims in the northern seas.

The Marines and Women
(The Washington Post: Sage Santangelo)
A double standard is holding women back.

Congress Needs to Reach a Deal on the NSA Phone Program
(The Washington Post)
Congressional action on this issue would be a good start and ought to be at the top of the agenda.

Kony 2014?
(The Atlantic: Hilary Matfess)
More U.S. special forces and Osprey aircraft are headed to Uganda. But their mission may be broader than hunting down the world's most-wanted warlord.

Empty Words on Democracy
(The Washington Post)
The White House says it's committed to a democratic Egypt. So why is it backing the Sissi regime?

How Easy-Going Amsterdam Did In Obama's Hard-Charging Bodyguards
(The Daily Beast: Nadette De Visser)
The White House is trying to play down the incident, but when an Obama bodyguard passes out drunk in the hallway of a hotel, the Dutch have some theories about why.

Don't Scrap the U-2 Fleet
(Defense News)
Congress must step in and stop the Pentagon from making the wrong decision.

Don't Bury the Tomahawk
(Real Clear Defense: Seth Cropsey)
The budget that Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel presented in March will end the purchase of Tomahawk Land Attack cruise missiles in 2016 without a replacement in clear sight.

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