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Early Bird Brief - Defense News
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Jun 26, 2017    
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Good morning and welcome to the Early Bird Brief. Please send news tips and suggestions to: earlybird@militarytimes.com.

Today's Top 5
    1. Commando Raids on ISIS Yield Vital Data in Shadowy War
(New York Times) One late afternoon in April, helicopter-borne American commandos intercepted a vehicle in southeastern Syria carrying a close associate of the Islamic State’s supreme leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
 
    2. House panel takes up $658B defense spending bill
(Defense News) House appropriators plan to consider a proposed $658.1 billion Pentagon spending bill for 2018 made public Sunday, which kicks off a week packed with defense policy and appropriations action on Capitol Hill.
 
    3. Trump allies push White House to consider regime change in Tehran
(Politico) As the White House formulates its official policy on Iran, senior officials and key Trump allies are calling for the new administration to take steps to topple Tehran’s militant clerical government.
 
    4. Israel hits Syrian military targets after errant fire reaches its side of the Golan Heights
(Washington Post) The Israeli air force struck three Syrian army targets in the Golan Heights on Saturday, after errant fire from the Syrian side landed in Israeli-controlled territory.
 
    5. PLA carrier sets off for drills and a port call in Hong Kong
(South China Morning Post) The aircraft carrier Liaoning has departed Qingdao in Shandong province for a series of training exercises, the PLA Navy announced on Sunday.
 
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Paris Air Show
    German officials meet with Lockheed to talk F-35 at Paris Air Show
(Defense Industry Daily) During the Paris Air Show this week, German government officials met with Lockheed Martin to talk about the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, a source connected to the program told Defense News.
 
    F-35 Unleashed: Paris Flight Demo Displays Warfighting Potential
(Aviation Week) The F-35’s premier performance in the skies above Le Bourget Airport is Lockheed Martin's answer to years of assertions that the fifth-generation stealth fighter is a waste of taxpayer money and will be no match for potential adversaries.
 
Overseas Operations
    Turkish military buildup in northern Syria threatens Raqqa operation
(Military Times) Kurdish activists claim Turkey is building up its military forces in northern Syria for an assault on the Kurdish held district of Afrin, a development that could cause serious setbacks in the ongoing American-backed operation to liberate the defacto capital of ISIS, Raqqa.
 
    Arms sales to India no threat to Pakistan: US
(Dawn) The Trump administration has authorised the sale of unarmed surveillance drones to India but the White House says the deal does not threaten Pakistan’s security.
 
    S. Korea-U.S. alliance stands at 'critical juncture' amid threats from N.K.
(Yonhap News Agency) South Korea and the United States stand at a "critical juncture" in their alliance in the face of the rapidly growing threats from North Korea but they will surely achieve their "common goal" to successfully address the problem, Seoul's top diplomat said Sunday.
 
    8-hour Eid al-Fitr ceasefire in Marawi ends with gunfire, mortar blasts
(Agence France-Presse) An eight-hour ceasefire declared by the Philippine military Sunday (June 25) in the war-torn city of Marawi to allow residents to celebrate the end of Ramadan has ended with automatic rifle and machine gun fire, along with mortar round explosions.
 
    Trump administration abruptly shutters diplomatic office on Pakistan and Afghanistan policy
(Washington Post) The Trump administration appears poised to close the stand-alone State Department office devoted to policy on Afghanistan and Pakistan that was the brainchild of diplomat Richard C. Holbrooke, but it has not made a final decision, the State Department said.
 
    Has China developed the world’s most powerful submarine detector?
(South China Morning Post) Chinese scientists claim to have made a major breakthrough in magnetic detection technology that could bring unprecedented accuracy to the process of finding hidden metallic objects – from minerals to submarines.
 
    Kurds see chance to advance their cause in ruins of Islamic State
(The Guardian) As what remains of Islamic State crumbles, the would-be victors have started circling. In Mosul, Iraqi forces have begun preparing for peace in the city where the now-encircled marauders took root three years ago. Across the border in Raqqa, with five of its neighbourhoods under their control, Kurdish forces are contemplating what comes next for them and their cause.
 
    How Moscow's Spies Keep Duping America—Over and Over Again
(Daily Beast) The Russian intelligence officers picked up the American spies from Moscow’s Metropole Hotel and drove them a few short blocks to an ornate, lushly appointed guest house. It used to be the home of a wealthy Jewish dentist before being turned into a meeting place for Russia’s intelligence services.
 
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    Hundreds of civilians flee Mosul as IS loses grip on city
(Deutsche Welle) Iraqi forces are creating safe passage routes for civilians trapped by IS by dividing the militant group's territory. Despite that effort, the UN said civilians under IS occupation face "almost unimaginable" danger.
 
    India's Modi seeks personal rapport with Donald Trump on US visit
(Deutsche Welle) Indian PM Narendra Modi has arrived in Washington for his first official meeting with US President Donald Trump. The two leaders seek to build on growing ties and move beyond disagreements over the Paris climate pact.
 
    What does China want to achieve in Afghanistan?
(Deutshce Welle) While visiting Afghanistan and Pakistan, China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi has urged the two countries to form a crisis prevention mechanism. Can Beijing persuade Islamabad to allay Kabul’s concern and rein in jihadists?
 
    Defense Deals on the Agenda for First Trump-Modi Talks
(Voice of America) The bearers of two potentially clashing slogans, “Made in India” and “America First,” will finally meet Monday at the White House.
 
    Key Islamic State ‘finance emir’ killed in eastern Syria, US says
(Long War Journal) US Central Command (CENTCOM) announced today that Fawaz Muhammad Jubayr al-Rawi, a facilitator who handled millions of dollars for the Islamic State, was killed in a June 16 airstrike in Abu Kamal, Syria.
 
    Analysis: 2 US cases provide unique window into Iran’s global terror network
(Long War Journal) On June 8, the Department of Justice (DOJ) made an announcement that deserves more attention. Two alleged Hizballah operatives had been arrested inside the United States after carrying out various missions on behalf of the Iranian-sponsored terrorist organization. The plots took the men around the globe, from Thailand to Panama and even into the heart of New York City.
 
    North Korea Tour Options Dwindle for Americans. But Not by Much.
(New York Times) When Otto Warmbier died this week after a long detention in North Korea, Young Pioneer Tours, the company that arranged his trip there, announced that it would no longer sell such excursions to United States citizens. But it hardly spells the end of American tourism in North Korea.
 
    U.S.-backed Syrian groups take Raqqa district from Islamic State
(Reuters) A U.S.-backed Syrian coalition of Kurdish and Arab groups advanced against Islamic State in the jihadists' Syrian capital of Raqqa on Sunday, taking the al-Qadisia district, they said.
 
    Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak Is Going Home To Russia
(BuzzFeed) Ending one the most turbulent tenures of a Washington-based ambassador in recent memory, the Kremlin has decided to recall its ambassador to the United States Sergey Kislyak, three individuals familiar with the decision tell BuzzFeed News.
 
Pentagon
    Pentagon weighs possible delay in new transgender recruits
(Reuters) The Pentagon said on Friday it was reviewing recommendations from the U.S. military chiefs that included calls for more time to implement plans to allow new transgender recruits to join the U.S. armed forces.
 
    Pentagon: No 'concrete evidence' ISIS leader killed by Russia
(Washington Examiner) The U.S. military says it has no idea if ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is alive or dead, despite a claim by Russia that it killed the terrorist leader along with 300 other ISIS fighters in an airstrike near Raqqa last month.
 
    War and waste: Cautionary tales as US ponders Afghan boost
(Associated Press) One shirt, one pair of pants. Those are the basics for outfitting an Afghan soldier. But in that simple uniform combination are the threads of two troubling stories — one about the waste of millions in American taxpayer dollars, the other about the perils of propping up a partner army in a seemingly endless war.
 
    Top Republican: Either change the rules or leave military pay raise alone
(Military Times) House lawmakers want White House officials to either stop cutting back on military pay raises or change the federal rules governing how those rates are set.
 
    Online SGLI system delayed for airmen, soldiers, Marines
(Military Times) For now, the insurance paperwork will continue.
 
    This week in Congress: NDAA, defense appropriations take center stage
(Military Times) Lawmakers are cramming weeks worth of defense budget work into a few days before the July 4th recess, setting up several long days for military watchers on Capitol Hill.
 
    Missile Threats Are Surging Worldwide, U.S. Defense Study Finds
(Bloomberg) Technology for ballistic and cruise missiles is advancing in countries from North Korea and Iran to Russia and China, increasing potential threats to the U.S. even if they don’t carry nuclear warheads, according to a new Pentagon report.
 
Army
    US Army to hold competition for Patriot radar replacement
(Defense News) The U.S. Army intends to hold a competition to replace its Patriot air-and-missile defense radar and plans to begin analysis of materiel solutions in fiscal year 2018, according to a service spokesman.
 
    AWOL soldier and two veterans reportedly detained trying to enter South Sudan
(Army Times) At least one American veteran has been detained trying to cross from Kenya into South Sudan, an Army official has confirmed to Army Times.
 
Navy
    Nine sailors to face disciplinary actions for NAS Oceana jet fuel spill, admiral says
(Navy Times) Nine sailors from Navy Air Station Oceana will face disciplinary actions after allowing nearly 100,000 gallons of jet fuel to spill into the base and the local community, the Navy announced Friday.
 
    Two master chiefs punished for E-9 board misconduct
(Navy Times) wo master chief petty officers pleaded guilty and will be reduced in rate and reprimanded as part of the first disciplinary actions handed down for misconduct that caused the early termination and rescheduling of April's E-9 selection board.
 
Marine Corps
    Marine Corps F-35s restart flight operations at Yuma after software fix is found
(Defense News) A Marine Corps F-35 squadron is back flying after software glitches grounded planes at Yuma Air Station in Arizona for a day.
 
Air Force
    What counts as an aerial victory? Drones change the face of aerial combat
(Air Force Times) The U.S. hasn't seen a flying ace since Vietnam. Rising tensions in Syria and the proliferation of drones has some calling into question the U.S. military’s policy on awarding aerial combat victories.
 
    Missing airman's remains identified — 43 years after he went missing
(Air Force Times) Airman 1st Class Rudy Redd Victor, who was stationed at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico, went missing in 1974.
 
    Airman returns home more than 73 years after being shot down over Italy
(Air Force Times) Staff Sgt. Byron Nelson, an airman with the Iowa National Guard, is finally returning home — more than 73 years after being shot down on a bombing mission during World War II, the Iowa National Guard said in a press release.
 
    New Air Force program allows battlefield airmen to keep monthly incentive pay
(Air Force Times) This fall, the Air Force will start allowing battlefield airmen to keep their monthly incentive pay even if they're on staff or instructor duty or are unable to do their duties due to medical issues.
 
    Authorities seize 715 pounds of marijuana from semi trying to enter Tinker Air Force Base
(Air Force Times) Authorities at Tinker Air Force Base and the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics have seized 715 pounds of raw marijuana and several thousand small containers of THC vape oil, according to a Facebook post from the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics.
 
    Tech sergeant released from hospital after Thunderbirds air show accident
(Associated Press) A technical sergeant has been released from a hospital after an Air Force Thunderbirds F-16 left the runway and flipped over after landing during preparation for an air show in Ohio.
 
    Air Force releases awards criteria for new 'C' and 'R' devices
(Air Force Times) Airmen can now be considered for two new devices that emphasize actions performed remotely or in combat.
 
    Ohio Air Force base recognized for bee conservation
(Associated Press) An Ohio Air Force base has been recognized for its efforts to save bee populations.
 
    Poll: Should the Air Force create a separate Space Corps?
(Air Force Times) Poll: Should the Air Force create a separate Space Corps?
 
    Tornado damaged at least 10 jets as it tore through Offutt Air Force Base
(Omaha World Herald) Last week’s EF1 tornado knocked out half of the Pentagon’s fleet of four E-4B Nightwatch aircraft — popularly known as the “Doomsday” plane — when the twister hopscotched through Offutt Air Force Base, Air Force officials said Friday.
 
Coast Guard
    Area Coast Guard rescues 19 people from capsized vessels Saturday
(FOX8) Coast Guard crews rescued 19 people Saturday in four separate, weather-related cases that involved capsized vessels.
 
Defense Industry
    MQ-9B drone sale for India to be OK'd
(Defense News) The U.S. State Department is in the final stages of clearing the sale of 22 MQ-9 drones to India, with an expectation that U.S. President Donald Trump will announce the sale during the upcoming visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
 
    Aequs doubling Rafale output aiming to triple annual sales by 202
(Defense News) Aequs announced it is doubling the output of the Rafale fighter jet to help reach its goal of tripling annual sales to $300 million by 2020, said Aravind Melligeri, chairman and CEO of the Indian precision engineering company.
 
    Bombardier takes wait-and-see approach for future opportunities in US
(Defense News) Bombardier is betting on its Global 6000 for the U.S. Air Force’s JSTARS and Compass Call programs, but that doesn’t mean the model will be its offering for other upcoming U.S. special mission aircraft requirements, the company’s vice president of specialized aircraft said Wednesday.
 
    Indian Black Shark torpedo deal for Navy might be revived
(Defense News) Italy's Whitehead Sistemi Subacquei S.p.A., a subsidiary of Leonardo, might be reconsidered to supply Black Shark torpedoes for French Scorpene submarines currently being built in India, according to sources in the Indian Ministry of Defence.
 
    MBDA to deliver ground-based air defense architecture this year
(Defense News) MBDA is due to deliver this year to a client country its system architecture for a ground-based air defense capability, dubbed network-centric engagement solutions, or NCES, said Franck Seuzaret, head of the company's battlefield and air defense systems unit.
 
    Northrop Grumman demonstrates mine-hunting sensor
(C4ISRNET) Northrop Grumman has demonstrated a mine-hunting sensor mounted on an unmanned craft.
 
    One Man, One Job: Win The Pentagon’s Next Big Contract
(DefenseOne) At the Paris Air Show this week, Bill Lynn, the very tall former deputy defense secretary from President Barack Obama’s first term, stood out among average-sized Italian and American businessmen.
 
Veterans
    VA chief: Time to rethink disability system; current setup 'not sustainable'
(Military Times) It’s time to rethink a veteran disability system that "incentivizes disability," Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin said during a Friday forum in Washington, the same day President Trump signed new VA accountability legislation.
 
    Trump signs VA accountability measure into law
(Military Times) President Trump signed into law Friday sweeping new employment and whistleblower rules for the Department of Veterans Affairs, a measure supporters touted as a dramatic cultural change for the bureaucracy but one whose impact will likely take months or years to be seen.
 
    Army vet lied about PTSD to receive VA disability payments
(Army Times) A 34-year-old Army veteran was found guilty of making a false statement about a combat deployment, according to the Department of Justice.
 
Congress & Politics
    House Armed Services moving ahead with $640B top line
(Defense News) U.S. House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry said he is "moving ahead" with plans to mark up the panel’s fiscal 2018 defense policy bill at roughly $705 billion — some $37 billion above the president’s request.
 
    Senator calls strikes on Syrian forces 'unlawful'
(Defense News) Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., has spoken out against recent military strikes on Syrian forces, calling them illegal, according to an interview with Yahoo News.
 
National Security
    Former State Department special agent charged with espionage
(Federal Times) A Virginia man caught with $16,500 in cash in his carry-on luggage was charged Thursday with transmitting top-secret documents to an apparent Chinese agent.
 
    Obama’s secret struggle to punish Russia for Putin’s election assault
(Washington Post) Inside was an intelligence bombshell, a report drawn from sourcing deep inside the Russian government that detailed Russian President Vladi­mir Putin’s direct involvement in a cyber campaign to disrupt and discredit the U.S. presidential race.
 
    I Found Trump’s Diary—Hiding in Plain Sight
(Politico) Legally risky, undiplomatic and sometimes wrong, Trump’s Twitter feed is a document for the ages. And historians don’t want to lose it.
 
    Adam Schiff thinks Obama 'should have done a lot more' to alert public about Russian meddling
(Washington Examiner) Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., believes President Obama should have done more to tell the American public about Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election before votes were cast.
 
    CIA chief: Intel leaks on the rise, cites leaker 'worship'
(Associated Press) CIA Director Mike Pompeo says he thinks disclosure of America's secret intelligence is on the rise, fueled partly by the "worship" of leakers like Edward Snowden.
 
    Flying saucers still evasive 70 years after pilot's report
(Associated Press) Boise businessman Ken Arnold had no idea he would change the world when he told reporters in Pendleton he saw nine strange objects flying along the Cascades.
 
    Kushner firm’s $285 million Deutsche Bank loan came just before Election Day
(Washington Post) One month before Election Day, Jared Kushner’s real estate company finalized a $285 million loan as part of a refinancing package for its property near Times Square in Manhattan.
 
Cyber, Space & Surveillance
    US may forgo using EW capabilities if coalition tech isn't compatible
(C4ISRNET) In a high-end fight, the U.S. might opt out of using high-tech gear if a partner's capability is not on the same level, according to the DoD's deputy director of electronic warfare.
 
    House lawmakers want space-based missile defense strategy
(Defense News) House lawmakers want the Pentagon to quickly produce a space-based missile defense strategy, according to the Armed Services Strategic Forces Subcommittee’s mark of the fiscal year 2018 defense authorization bill released this week.
 
    FBI’s Cyber Most Wanted, part I
(Fifth Domain) Slideshow of the FBI's cyber most wanted.
 
    State of cyber with Bobbie Stempfley
(Fifth Domain) A conversation with former DHS Deputy Assistant Secretary Bobbie Stempfley.
 
    Obama admin cautious when dealing with Russia’s election meddling
(Fifth Domain) The Washington Post reveals a shocking look into the Obama administration’s struggle to deal with Russia’s meddling in the democratic process.
 
    DARPA moves to innovate cyber intel capability with real-time threat visualization
(Fifth Domain) The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has awarded a contract to five organizations in a bid to develop a real-time threat intelligence capability at a time when the amount of raw digital data continues to increase exponentially.
 
    CIA director says intelligence leaks have 'accelerated'
(Politico) CIA Director Mike Pompeo on Saturday said the rate of intelligence leaks has "accelerated," attributing the trend to the "worship of Edward Snowden" and to WikiLeaks.
 
    A Cyberattack on Britain's House of Parliament
(The Atlantic ) Britain’s House of Parliament was the target of a cyberattack, a spokeswoman for the House of Commons confirmed Saturday, an incident that cut off remote email access and left some members unable to log into their accounts.
 
International Affairs
    Israeli Navy gets new radar
(C4ISRNET) Israel Aerospace Industries has installed a new radar on Israeli Navy missile boats.
 
    China ‘holding itself back’ by shying away from global terrorism fight
(South China Morning Post) The recent killing of two Chinese nationals in Pakistan and the rise of the Islamist jihadist movement in Asia has highlighted an increasingly urgent need for Beijing to join international efforts against terrorism, security analysts say.
 
    Pakistan deploys force of 15,000 to protect Chinese nationals
(Agence France-Presse) Pakistan has deployed a 15,000-strong military force to protect Chinese nationals working on energy and infrastructure projects in the country, the president said on Sunday, after the abduction of a Chinese couple raised safety concerns.
 
    China pushes Afghanistan and Pakistan on crisis management
(South China Morning Post) China has urged Afghanistan and Pakistan to improve relations and establish a crisis prevention and management mechanism, the Chinese foreign ministry said.
 
    Indian soldiers clash with suspected rebels at Kashmir school
(Dawn) The government forces in India-held Kashmir were locked in an intense battle on Sunday with armed militants who took cover in a school after opening fire on a group of soldiers on the eve of Eid, police said.
 
    Malaysia's most-wanted militant Mahmud Ahmad has escaped from Marawi: Police chief
(The Straits Times) Former university lecturer-turned-militant Mahmud Ahmad is believed to have escaped from Marawi, Malaysia's police chief Khalid Abu Bakar said on Sunday (June 25).
 
    Policeman in Medan killed during alleged terrorist attack
(The Straits Times) A policeman in North Sumatra was killed after he was stabbed during what appears to be a terrorist attack on Sunday (June 25), just as millions of Indonesians were set to celebrate Idul Fitri.
 
    In Venezuela, prisoners say abuse is so bad they are forced to eat pasta mixed with excrement
(Washington Post) The headquarters of the Venezuelan intelligence service is a vast pyramid-shaped edifice known as the Helicoide, a former shopping mall which now functions as an interrogation pen for political prisoners and protesters.
 
    Attacks in three Pakistani cities leave at least 85 people dead, many injured
(Los Angeles Times) A series of attacks in three Pakistani cities Friday left at least 61 people dead and many injured, authorities said.
 
    Mohammed bin Salman al-Saud: the hothead who would be king
(The Guardian) The sudden elevation of Mohammed bin Salman to the position of crown prince and heir apparent to his father, King Salman of Saudi Arabia, is a welcome surprise for many Saudis. It is also a matter of deep concern for some of the kingdom’s neighbours, notably Iran, which is locked in a region-wide power struggle with its Arab arch-rival that increasingly risks sucking in the US and Russia.
 
    Qatar given 10 days to meet 13 sweeping demands by Saudi Arabia
(The Guardian) Saudi Arabia and its allies have issued a threatening 13-point ultimatum to Qatar as the price for lifting a two-week trade and diplomatic embargo of the country, in a marked escalation of the Gulf’s worst diplomatic dispute in decades.
 
    DW correspondent's detention in Nigeria draws protest
(Deutsche Welle) The detention and beating of a DW correspondent in Nigeria has prompted a protest note from Germany's foreign broadcaster. Deutsche Welle has called on Nigeria "to hold the police officers involved accountable."
 
    Erdogan rejects Arab demands; says Turkish troops will stay in Qatar
(Deutsche Welle) Turkish President Erdogan dismissed demands from Arab countries that Qatar shutter a Turkish-run base. He said the demands intruded on Qatar's sovereignty. The US called on all parties to tone down the rhetoric.
 
    Peace missions for international conflicts - a German foreign policy niche
(Deutshce Welle) International conflicts are often dominated by the military. But civilian experts are more sought after than ever. Four years ago, Germany's federal government wanted to expand their role. What is the situation now?
 
    Will Downing of Tehran Drone Hurt Pakistan-Iran Relations Further?
(Voice of America) Pakistan's claim this week that it shot down an Iranian drone that had crossed into its airspace is heating up tensions already on the rise over cross-border skirmishes and diplomatic rifts over alleged militancy, analysts say.
 
    Cameroon Says Attacks Increased During Ramadan
(Voice of America) Cameroon has dispatched its defense minister to its northern border with Nigeria following a recent series of suicide bomb attacks that has left dozens dead. Militant group Boko Haram is believed to be behind the carnage. The central African state says the bombers have infiltrated markets and mosques as end of Ramadan feast draws near.
 
    Israel still rules over Palestinians 50 years after its six-day war
(The Economist) Israel has become powerful and rich, but has not found peace with the Palestinians—nor with itself, says Anton La Guardia
 
    Iran mocks reports its Syria missile strikes fell short
(Associated Press) Iran said Sunday the two-stage missiles it fired at Islamic State targets in Syria broke apart over the Iraqi desert as planned, mocking reports that some of the projectiles fell short.
 
    Israel on alert after 2 days of cross-border fire with Syria
(Defense News) Israel on Sunday declared its border opposite the southern Syrian city of Quneitra in the Golan Heights a closed military zone following two straight days of attacks on regime assets in response to spillover fire from the Syrian civil war.
 
Commentary & Analysis
    Letters: Sharp-looking uniform; screening officers for ability; Iraq at crossroads; Afghan camo
(Army Times) Army Times letters to the editor.
 
    What Happens When a Presidency Loses Its Legitimacy?
(The Atlantic ) Mounting evidence that Trump’s election was aided by Russian interference presents a challenge to the American system of government—with lasting consequences for democracy.
 
    Don’t Loosen the Rules on Civilian Casualties During Drone Strikes
(DefenseOne) Since Donald Trump took office, the number of civilian casualties caused by U.S. drone strikes has skyrocketed. Now, a dozen human rights groups are calling on the United States to strengthen and preserve its commitment to avoid harming civilians outside of war zones during counterterrorism strikes. As more countries acquire — and use — armed drones, it is vital for the U.S. to say that there is no such thing as an “acceptable” civilian casualty caused by lethal strikes outside of conflict. A failure to do so risks creating a world where not only is the U.S. no longer one of the few countries using these drones, but more countries will begin to use them in a way the U.S. cannot control.
 
    Anbar's Illusions
(Foreign Affairs) One of the United States’ greatest successes in the Iraq war was in Anbar, where U.S. military forces and a remarkable tribal uprising inflicted a stunning defeat upon al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), the forerunner of today’s Islamic State (or ISIS). From shortly after the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 until 2006, Anbar, the country’s westernmost province and a Sunni stronghold, was the center of an entrenched insurgency, which by early 2006 was threatening Baghdad. Then in the fall of 2006, just as U.S. leaders were considering the prospect of defeat, Sunni tribes in Ramadi, the capital of Anbar, formed a movement to partner with the Americans against AQI. This movement came to be known as the Anbar Awakening. Over the course of seven months of heavy fighting, the tribes, together with U.S. forces, overcame AQI in Ramadi, the provincial capital of Anbar. The awakening spread to the rest of the province and then to elsewhere in Iraq. AQI was pushed back, violence dropped, and the country witnessed a period of uneasy stability.
 
    Commentary: Transgender mandates would impede efforts to strengthen military
(Military Times) Current transgender policies are forcing the armed forces to assume the risks of retaining and recruiting a cohort of persons who are suffering from gender dysphoria, one of several psychological conditions that affect personal military readiness.
 
    Will DoD please stop making stupid uniform decisions? We're begging at this point.
(Military Times) For years, the Afghan army has tried to emulate U.S. forces. Who knew this imitation would extend to the reckless procurement of ineffective and ridiculous camo patterns?
 
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