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EARLY BIRD BRIEF

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Defense News

COMPILED BY THE EDITORS OF DEFENSE NEWS & MILITARY TIMES

August 6, 2014

EARLY BIRD BRIEF

Get the most comprehensive aggregation of defense news delivered by the world’s largest independent newsroom covering military and defense.

TODAY’S TOP 5

1. Victim of Afghanistan insider attack identified as Maj. Gen. Harold Greene
(Military Times) The first American general officer to be killed by hostile fire in combat since Sept. 11 has been identified as Maj. Gen. Harold Greene.
2. Why Ebola worries the Defense Department
(Washington Post) While the public discourse on Ebola has so far been fixated on the public health hazard caused by the disease itself, it may also have awoken an older fear for anti-terror agencies: Could a lethal disease actually be used as a bio-weapon? That fear is made worse by the fact that the current outbreak is occurring near a volatile region that has seen the rise of a variety of terrorist groups nearby such as Boko Haram – the group that abducted more than 200 girls earlier this year.
3. What Libya says about intervention
(Matthew Waxman in CNN) Last month, American diplomats and Marines were evacuated from Tripoli. The 2011 international coalition intervention in Libya was supposed to be a step forward for the Responsibility to Protect doctrine – the notion that if a state fails to protect its citizens from mass atrocities, it becomes the international community’s responsibility to do so. Tragically, the current collapse of governance and bloody infighting among factional militias there will instead result in a step backwards for this important principle.
4. U.S Military Team in Ukraine to Assist in Airliner Shootdown Investigation
(USNI News) A team of U.S. military experts from U.S. European Command (EUCOM) is on the ground in Kiev to assist in the ongoing investigation into the shoot down of a Malaysian airliner in last month.
5. Kendall Wants Acquisition Reserve Account, but Doesn’t Plan to Get It
(Defense News) The US Defense Department’s top procurement official would like Congress to create a reserve spending account that the Pentagon could tap when a weapons program runs into costly development issues. 

INDUSTRY

Crunch Time For UCLASS: USD Kendall, Rep. Forbes, and The Requirements Fight
(Breaking Defense) August is the month of decision for UCLASS, the Navy’s controversial program to build armed drones that fly off aircraft carriers. 
SPAWAR picks Serco for C4ISR contract
(C4ISR & Networks) The Navy’s Space and Naval Warfare Command has chosen Serco for a contract to provide support and maintenance on Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles. The one-year contract is worth $9 million.
2014 Marked by Array of New Cyber Threats, Cisco Report Says
(National Defense) A mid-year report on the state of cyber security warns of new, insidious ways hackers are gaining access to corporate and private computers.
Russia orders Ka-52K helicopters for Mistral-class LHDs
(IHS Jane’s 360) Russia has ordered a batch of Kamov Ka-52K ‘Hokum B’ naval attack helicopters for the Russian Navy’s Mistral-class landing helicopter dock (LHD) vessels.
Spain embargoes arms sales to Israel
(Jerusalem Post) The Spanish government announced an arms embargo on Israel, El Pais quoted government sources as saying. The decision was made the previous week by a committee of the Presidency, Treasury, Economy Ministry, Foreign Ministry and Defense Ministry.
Sweden Orders H-60M Helicopters for Afghan CSAR/MEDEVAC
(Defense Industry Daily) Sweden’s FMV signs a specific support agreement with Finland’s Patria Oyj, for maintenance of their “HKP16? Black Hawks in Linkoping, Sweden. The base period is 2015-2017, but options could extend it to 2020. Cost is SEK 225 million / EUR 24.3 million / $33 million, including options.
Indian MoD lifts blacklisting of Rolls-Royce
(IHS Jane’s 360) India’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) decided in late July against blacklisting Rolls-Royce, which has been under federal investigation since late February for employing proscribed agents to secure Indian contracts, official and industry sources have disclosed.
The UK’s Watchkeeper ISTAR UAV
(Defense Industry Daily) The UK government responds to the Commons Defence committee’s RPAS report (q.v. March 11/14). There’s no decision yet re: Afghan deployment, but there are some lessons learned per the Committee’s request. 

VETERANS

Captain with terminal cancer has one ‘final mission’ – help vets
(Army Times) An active-duty Army officer stricken with terminal cancer is fighting for his life – and the lives of others. Capt. Justin Fitch said he wants to use his last days to reverse the epidemic of veteran suicide.
Pro-Troop Charity Misleads Donors While Lining Political Consultants’ Pockets
(ProPublica) Move America Forward has collected millions to send care packages to U.S. troops. But its appeals often rely on images and stories borrowed without permission, and its assets have been used to benefit political consulting firms and PACs.
VA secretary calls for town hall meetings
(Military Times) New Veterans Affairs Secretary Bob McDonald has ordered town hall meetings at all department health and benefits facilities by the end of September, in an effort to better understand veterans’ complaints about services.
VA reform bill preserves employee bonuses
(Stars & Stripes) Despite public outrage over dysfunctional and dangerously run hospitals, a landmark VA reform bill set to be signed Thursday by President Barack Obama will retain some department perks: Hefty bonuses for executives and other employees. 

CONGRESS

Senate, House Panels Hold Up Proposed EELV Funds
(Defense News) A Senate committee is holding up a plan to shift $100 million to an Air Force space-launch program, telling the service to devise a plan for a new liquid rocket engine.
US must help Kurds halt ISIS, say members
(The Hill) The Obama administration needs to boost its military support to Iraq’s Kurdish minority, which has suffered a string of setbacks in the last several days battling a Sunni militant group, according to key members of Congress.
Senate Intelligence Committee members protest administration deletions to CIA torture report
(McClatchy) Senate Intelligence Committee members protested Tuesday over the Obama administration’s censorship of a report on the CIA’s use of “brutal” interrogation methods, charging that the deletions hid key facts and blacked out information that was made public years ago. 

DEFENSE DEPARTMENT

Court: Leaders not liable for subordinates’ bad decisions
(Military Times) Janet Galla was serving as a hospital corpsman on a Navy ship in 2004 when she was brutally attacked by a co-worker.
IBM’s Watson helps service members return to civilian life
(C4ISR & Networks) Members of the military planning a return to civilian life might have a new ally in the search for employment: IBM’s Watson.
DoD tightens oversight on new vehicle shipping contractor
(Military Times) Defense transportation officials have set up a team of experts to quickly address problems service members are experiencing with the shipping and storage of their privately-owned vehicles. 

ARMY

Forced-out colonels can stay in longer with waiver of law
(Army Times) Regular Army colonels who are selected for involuntary early retirement by a board that meets in November will be given an extra few months on active duty under a waiver of federal law approved by Army Secretary John McHugh.
Rock Hill’s “Sarge” Love, among first black Green Berets, dies at 86
(The Herald; S.C.) Command Sgt. Major James R. Love – who served his country for more than 30 years, fought in two wars, and was among the first black soldiers to join the U.S. Army Special Forces – died Sunday. The Rock Hill native was 86.
Black majors dismissed at greater rate than whites
(Army Times) The forced culling of majors from Army ranks is taking a bigger toll on black officers than those from any other ethnic group, according to Army personnel documents.
Soldier accused of swiping taxi after punching driver
(Stars & Stripes) An Eighth Army soldier was arrested over the weekend for allegedly punching a taxi driver, stealing his cab and driving under the influence of alcohol after curfew, according to U.S. and South Korean authorities.
The Solarium 7: Proposals from young Army leaders
(Army Times) Want advice on building the Army of the future? Ask its leaders.
Wash. soldier claims fast food worker spiked soda
(KBOI-TV; Boise, Idaho) A local soldier claims what he found at the bottom of a fast food soda cup made him sick. The decorated veteran calls it assault, and he wants to raise the alarm so other soldiers don’t get hurt.
ESPN2 to air Team USA hoops practice from West Point
(Army Times) A visit from the U.S. men’s basketball team has been on the U.S. Military Academy’s calendar for months. Friday, USA Basketball announced that cadets won’t be the only ones who can see some of the NBA’s best take the court in West Point, N.Y.
SGM training, selection board lists due out this week
(Army Times) Results of the Regular Army and Active Guard and Reserve (Army Reserve) sergeant major training and selection boards that met in June will be released Friday. 

NAVY

Navy Swaps Out Anti-Swarm Boat Guns on DDG-1000s
(USNI News) The Navy has replaced two 57mm guns planned on the Zumwalt-class guided missile destroyer designed to fight off swarm boat attacks with a smaller pair of 30mm guns, Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) told USNI News on Monday.
Chiefs list coming out Wednesday
(Navy Times) The much anticipated results of the chief selection board are coming out, and Navy Times will publish the complete list of selectees Wednesday at 8:30 a.m.
Blues pilots named in probe still flying
(Pensacola News Journal) Three Blue Angels pilots who participated in the pornographic internal text messages and images probed by the Navy earlier this year are still on the team and flying at air shows.
Ex-contractor sentenced in Navy bribery scheme
(Navy Times) A former government contractor has been sentenced to three years in prison for conspiracy to bribe public officials at the United States Navy Military Sealift Command. 

AIR FORCE

Next-Generation Fighter, Directed Energy Weapons May Converge
(Aviation Week) Eyeing emerging threats amid a constrained budget environment, and consumed by the Lockheed Martin F-35’s high cost, the U.S. Air Force is already studying what the “sixth-generation” of air dominance capability for the service should be.
Air Force Works to Extend Life of C-130 Fleet
(DoDBuzz) The U.S. Air Force is working to extend the service life of its fleet of C-130 combat delivery aircraft by replacing center wing boxes on some of the planes and adding new avionics, electronics and instrumentation, service officials told Military?.com.
Colorado lawmakers back inquiry into Air Force Academy athletics
(Colorado Springs Gazette) Air Force Academy superintendent Lt. Gen. Michelle Johnson received the support Monday of the Pentagon and two Colorado lawmakers in her investigation into whether the school’s athletic department is in lockstep with the school’s values. 

MARINE CORPS

Marine Corps to cut special duty assignment pay
(Stars & Stripes) Bonus pay is being cut for most Marines reporting to special duty assignments.
Attorneys say decision on Marine in Mexican jail could take months
(Los Angeles Times) Both the defense attorney for Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi and the attorney representing Mexican officials who arrested him at the border told reporters that it will be months before the judge makes a decision.
Fourth man guilty in Camp Pendleton Marine double murder
(Desert Sun; Palm Springs, Calif.) The fourth defendant tried in the 2008 killing of a U.S. Marine Corps sergeant and his wife has been convicted, the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office announced Tuesday. 

IRAQ

U.S. Backs Sunni Plan to Fight Islamic State Jihadists in Iraq
(Wall Street Journal) The U.S. is holding talks with Sunni Muslim officials in Iraq who have requested help in organizing grass-roots fighting forces to counter an extremist militant group seizing territory across the country.
Iraq is hoping for peacemakers
(Deutsche Welle) The Iraqi parliament is expected to settle on a new prime minister this week. His main task will be to lead the fight against the terrorist group Islamic State. For this, though, military means alone are not enough.
Islamic State beheads ‘Safavid’ soldiers in Anbar
(Long War Journal) The Islamic State continues to release photographs of the execution of Iraq soldiers and security personnel. Yesterday, the Islamic State’s Anbar Division released seven photographs documenting the beheading of three Iraq soldiers.
Iraqi Yazidis stranded on isolated mountaintop begin to die of thirst
(Washington Post) Stranded on a barren mountaintop, thousands of minority Iraqis are faced with a bleak choice: descend and risk slaughter at the hands of the encircled Sunni extremists or sit tight and risk dying of thirst.
Saddam Hussein’s tomb damaged in fighting
(Associated Press) The tomb of Iraq’s deceased dictator Saddam Hussein was damaged in clashes between militants from the Islamic State radical group and government soldiers in his hometown, according to local officials Tuesday.
Islamic State leader who defected from al Qaeda reported killed in Mosul
(Long War Journal) Abdul Rahman al Amjad al Pakistani and five Islamic State fighters were killed after Iraqi warplanes “directly hit one of [the Islamic State’s] strongholds in Mosul” on Aug. 5, Ministry of Defense spokesman General Mohammed al Askari told Al Shorfa. 

AFGHANISTAN/PAKISTAN

Afghan Civilians Killed in Airstrike by American-Led Coalition
(New York Times) An airstrike by the American-led coalition killed at least four civilians, including two women, Afghan officials said Tuesday. The attack prompted a sharp rebuke from President Hamid Karzai, who has long bristled at the deaths of Afghans in military operations led by foreign forces.
Suspected Afghan Policeman Kills Six Colleagues
(Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty) A suspected Afghan policeman drugged then shot dead six of his colleagues in southern Uruzgan Province in the latest so-called insider attack.
Baloch jihadist group in southern Afghanistan announces death of commander
(Long War Journal) A Baloch jihadist group that has pledged allegiance to the Taliban and calls Ayman al Zawahiri its emir recently released a statement praising one of its commanders killed during fighting in southern Afghanistan.
For the parents of the fallen, a war that never ends
(Stars & Stripes) A battlefield cross stands in an oval flower bed in the trim front yard of Jerry and Becky Brown’s home. A soldier’s helmet rests atop a replica of an M-16 rifle pointed straight down between a pair of unlaced combat boots. Hanging on a chain from the rifle’s grip is a dog tag engraved with the name of the couple’s dead son. 

MIDDLE EAST

Netanyahu: Anti-Tunnel Mission Accomplished
(Defense News) Declaring its anti-tunnel mission accomplished, Israel agreed to a 72-hour ceasefire, yet continues to maintain thousands of forces around the border with Gaza for rapid response in case rocket attacks resume.
As Gaza cease-fire holds, a haunting question: When will the next war begin?
(Washington Post) After nearly a month of round-the-clock carnage and terror, Gaza and southern Israel experienced something new on Tuesday: calm.
American MFO soldier shot in Sinai
(Agence France-Presse) A U.S. soldier with the Multinational Force and Observers mission in Egypt’s Sinai was wounded when gunmen shot at his camp late Monday, a security official said.
Islamic State overruns Syrian artillery regiment in Hasakah
(Long War Journal) Islamic State fighters led by Chechen commander Omar al Shishani took control of a Syrian Army artillery base in the eastern province of Hasakah. The jihadist group seized a large amount of military hardware and munitions, according to a video tour of the base.
Cease-Fire Between Syrian Insurgents and Lebanese Army Ends Quickly
(New York Times) A 24-hour cease-fire between the Syrian Islamist insurgents who seized a Lebanon border town this past weekend and the Lebanese Army forces seeking to expel them collapsed almost immediately on Tuesday, raising new alarms about the infectious spread of Syria’s civil war into Lebanon. 

EUROPE

Defiant Putin Readies Retaliation Against Western Sanctions Over Ukraine
(Wall Street Journal) Russian President Vladimir Putin said he has ordered his government to prepare retaliatory measures against U.S. and European sanctions imposed on Russia last week, as the Kremlin stepped up pressure on Ukraine.
Pentagon concerned about Russian troop build-up near Ukraine
(The Hill) The Defense Department’s top spokesman on Tuesday raised fresh concerns over a renewed build up of Russian troops along the border with Ukraine.
Leaders call for NATO to boost military presence in east
(Stars & Stripes) Proposals for a beefed up NATO rapid-reaction force and a military headquarters in Poland already have the backing of some top alliance officials, signaling NATO members are prepared to adopt concrete measures when heads of state meet next month.
Moldova Asks Russia To Withdraw Troops
(Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty) Moldova’s government has called on Moscow to withdraw troops and weapons from its separatist Transdniester region. 

ASIA-PACIFIC

Japan concerned Pacific security situation getting worse
(Stars & Stripes) Japan’s annual defense white paper says the country’s security environment is becoming increasingly severe amid challenges posed by China, North Korea and Russia.
Japan Imposes New Sanctions on Russia but Keeps a Diplomatic Door Open
(New York Times) Torn between maintaining solidarity with Washington and keeping a diplomatic door open with Moscow, Japan imposed new sanctions on Russia on Tuesday but kept them more limited than those recently ordered by the United States.
IAF grounds Dhruv fleet following crash
(IHS Jane’s 360) The Indian Air Force (IAF) has grounded its entire fleet of 40 locally designed Dhruv Advanced Light Helicopters (ALHs) after one of them crashed on 26 July in northern Uttar Pradesh province, killing all seven IAF personnel on board.
Nazarbaev Announces Major Streamlining Of Government
(Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty) Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev has announced a major streamlining of the government. 

COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS

What the Air Force Can Learn from FedEx
(Retired Air Force Col. Eric Jorgensen in Cicero Magazine) Over the last year or so, there has been increased chatter about the Active and Reserve Component-or AC/RC in military lingo -mix of the U.S. armed forces. This has happened, in large part,
Physicians, Heal Yourselves: Why VA Reform Must Come From Inside
(Colin Wilhelm in The Atlantic) The bill Congress passed last week is a good start, but it’s not enough to turn the troubled bureaucracy around on its own.
The Extremist Threat to Iraq Grows
(New York Times editorial board) Alarming new military advances by Sunni extremists have finally forced Iraq’s disastrous prime minister, Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, to put the future of his country over his political disputes. On Monday, he ordered the Iraqi air force to support Kurdish forces battling to prevent extremists from taking even more territory and further threatening Iraq’s existence as a sovereign state.
Punish Russia and Revolutionize NATO’s Navy
(Sale and Bilyana Lilly in Real Clear Defense) No Art of War aphorism need be employed to convey to NATO member nations that equipping your rival in the midst of a crisis is unwise
Israel’s Iron Maginot Line System
(Mark Stout in War on the Rocks) Is Israel’s Iron Dome a success or a failure? That depends on who you ask and on what level of war you look at 

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