By Gregory Hellman | 12/06/2017 10:00 AM EDT
With Connor O'Brien and Jacqueline Klimas
HOUSE GOP LOOKS TO GOING IT ALONE ON SPENDING PACKAGE, report POLITICO's Jennifer Scholtes and Sarah Ferris: "House Republican leaders have promised conservatives that they won't grant concessions to Democrats to get enough votes for a stopgap spending bill - gaining GOP support but also raising the specter of a government shutdown later this month.
"GOP leaders in the House tentatively decided Tuesday morning to hold tight on their plan to fund the government through Dec. 22, bucking calls from conservatives to move the deadline to Dec. 30....In punting the drama to the week before Christmas, GOP lawmakers may try to jam Democrats with big boosts to defense spending."
- DEFENSE NOW, DOMESTIC LATER: A bloc of defense hawks and conservatives is pushing a plan to attach a full-year Pentagon funding bill to a continuing spending resolution to keeping the government open beyond Dec. 22. GOP hawks, who have argued repeated CRs have helped degrade military readiness, are reluctant to support additional stopgaps. And House Armed Services members endorsed the concept following a Republican conference meeting Tuesday morning.
"Defense has been used as a political football for lots of other agendas," House Armed Services Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) said. "We ought to do that, get it off the table and then we can deal with the other things."
But such a defense-CR combination is likely a no-go in the Senate. Don't expect a full-year defense bill with a CR for all other agencies to get a warm reception there, where it will need the support of at least eight Democrats to advance.
Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) warns the Senate won't pass spending legislation that funds the military for the rest of the fiscal year, but continues stopgap funding for domestic agencies.
"Just defense?" Durbin asked. "No." More via our colleague Connor O'Brien.
Committee Action: The House Rules Committee meets this afternoon to pave the way for floor debate on the short-term CR to fund federal agencies through Dec. 22. The full House is expected to vote on the measure Thursday, a day before government funding runs out.
- MCCAIN URGES A DEFENSE DEAL: Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) is calling for a multi-year agreement to raise the spending caps for defense after a meeting between congressional leaders and the White House Tuesday.
"For nearly a decade, the lack of stable, sufficient, and predictable funding has had a devastating impact on our Armed Forces," McCain said in a written statement. "More of our troops are now being killed and wounded in training and routine operations than in combat against our enemies."
And as Congress and the White House flirt with a shutdown, chances grow for a disruption to military pay and programs, Stars and Stripes writes.
HAPPY WEDNESDAY AND WELCOME TO MORNING DEFENSE, where we're always on the lookout for tips, pitches and feedback. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and follow on Twitter @greg_hellman, @morningdefense and @politicopro.
Legislative Compass - Preferred Pricing for 2017: Test out POLITICO Pro's powerful, easy-to-use tool that simplifies federal and state legislative tracking. Get started.
HAPPENING TODAY - SENATE PANEL EYES COMBATTING ISIS IN NORTH AFRICA: The Senate Foreign Relations Near East, South Asia, Central Asia and Counterterrorism Subcommittee holds a hearing on "Beyond ISIS: Countering Terrorism, Radicalization, and Promoting Stability in North Africa," featuring testimony from State Department officials.
- ASH CARTER TALKS DoD HEALTH WITH HARVARD: Former Defense Secretary Ash Carter talks with Harvard University's T.H. Chan School of Public Health about "Leadership on Health in the Department of Defense." Register to attend or watch the livestream here.
TOP DOC - PENTAGON FINDS FAILURE TO SHARE CRIMINAL DATA RAMPANT, via our colleague Jacqueline Klimas: "The military justice system's failure to share critical information with civilian law enforcement agencies is far more rampant than initially believed, the Pentagon's independent watchdog has found - in some cases nearly a third of the time.
"After former airman Devin Patrick Kelley shot and killed 26 people in a rural Texas church last month, the Air Force admitted it had not followed the procedure to alert civilian authorities to Kelley's domestic violence conviction while in uniform - something that would have prevented him from being able to buy a gun.
"It subsequently found dozens of other such cases."
PENTAGON PREPS TO ACCEPT TRANSGENDER RECRUITS, writes the Washington Examiner: "The Pentagon said Tuesday it is taking steps to be prepared to accept transgender recruits on Jan. 1 following recent court orders temporarily blocking President Trump's ban.
"Last month, district court judges in Washington, D.C., and Maryland issued preliminary injunctions in two federal lawsuits that prohibit the Pentagon from moving ahead with Trump's directive to phase out transgender service and gender reassignment surgeries...
"'While reviewing legal options with the Department of Justice, the Department of Defense is taking steps to be prepared to initiate accessions of transgender applicants for military service on January 1, 2018, per recent court orders,' Pentagon spokesman Maj. Dave Eastburn wrote in an email to the Washington Examiner."
TRAINING FLIGHTS RESUME AT VANCE AIR FORCE BASE AMID HYPOXIA CONCERNS, reports Defense News: "The 71st Flying Training Wing at Vance Air Force Base, Oklahoma, resumed flying T-6A Texan training flights on Tuesday. But the cause of the hypoxia-like symptoms that led Vance officials to ground the Texan fleet Nov. 15 has not been found."
** A message from the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition: This week, the USGLC pays tribute to the 200 retired three and four-star generals and admirals of its National Security Advisory Council after a decade of support for America's civilian forces. Hear from luminaries Generals Petraeus and Hayden on why the State Department and USAID are critical to keep America safe. WATCH: http://bit.ly/2jhT4yF **
U.S. CONSIDERS NORTH KOREA'S KIM A 'RATIONAL ACTOR,' writes The Wall Street Journal: "U.S. intelligence and military officials believe Kim Jong Un is a rational actor, a conclusion that for now is guiding Washington's approach to the North Korean leader as he risks economic sanctions and military reprisals to build nuclear weapons and threaten rivals.
"The assessment by the main components of the U.S. national security community has shaped their thinking toward North Korea in two major ways, U.S. officials said. It means they believe that Mr. Kim understands that any attack on the U.S. or its allies threatens the security of his country and his grip on power. And it means that they believe there is potential to alter his behavior through diplomacy to lower the threat of war.
"U.S. officials are also calculating that Mr. Kim's ability to act rationally is compromised."
Still, North Korea's new missile is a game-changer, Ploughshares Fund's Joe Cirincione writes for Defense One.
A senior U.N. official meets North Korea's deputy foreign minister, reports The Associated Press.
Meanwhile, the U.S. flies a B-1B bomber over South Korea in a show of force, writes the AP.
And a F-22 Raptor that was towed in South Korea during a wargame shows no problems after an inspection, adds Stars and Stripes.
WAR REPORT - FEWER THAN 3,000 ISIS FIGHTERS REMAIN IN IRAQ AND SYRIA, the U.S.-led coalition fighting the group says via Reuters: "The United States-led international coalition fighting Islamic State estimates that fewer than 3,000 fighters belonging to the hardline Sunni militant group remain in Iraq and Syria, its spokesman said on Tuesday.
"'Current estimates are that there are less than 3,000 #Daesh fighters left - they still remain a threat, but we will continue to support our partner forces to defeat them,' U.S. Army Colonel Ryan Dillon tweeted, using an Arabic acronym for Islamic State.
"Dillon's tweet was part of his responses to an online question and answer session in which he also said the coalition had trained 125,000 members of Iraqi security forces, 22,000 of which were Kurdish Peshmerga fighters."
Meanwhile, Russian long-range bombers hit ISIS targets in Syria according to Russian news agencies, Reuters reports.
Iraqi federal and Kurdish courts are violating the due process rights of ISIS suspects, Human Rights Watch reports, via Reuters.
And the ISIS 'caliphate' has been toppled in Iraq and Syria. But why isn't anyone celebrating? Asks The Washington Post.
- TOP AL-QAEDA LEADER REPORTED KILLED IN AFGHANISTAN, reports The Washington Post: "Afghanistan's intelligence agency and the U.S. military announced Tuesday that a series of joint U.S.-Afghan operations killed a top leader of the extremist al-Qaeda network along with a number of other members.
"Omar bin Khatab was the most senior leader killed in Afghanistan since the Taliban was driven from power in late 2001, said an official with the Afghan National Directorate of Security."
NATO AND THE EU MULL HOW TO ENSURE TROOP MOBILITY, reports Stars and Stripes: "The U.S.-led NATO alliance and European Union endorsed a plan Tuesday to make military mobility across Europe a top priority, but terms on how to ensure convoys of American troops can quickly cross national borders still need to be worked out, officials said.
"'That's partly about addressing some of the legal hurdles,' NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said following talks at NATO headquarters in Brussels with top alliance and EU diplomats."
But bolstered EU defense can't happen in isolation, the chief executive of the European Defence Agency tells Defense News.
And in a return to a Cold War posture, the U.S. is preparing to send sub-hunting planes to Iceland, adds Foreign Policy.
MAKING MOVES - SENATE CONFIRMS NIELSEN AS DHS SECRETARY, reports our colleague Stephanie Beasley: The Senate on Tuesday confirmed Kirstjen Nielsen to be secretary of Homeland Security, 62 to 37. Now the top aide to White House chief of staff John Kelly, she will replace acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke, who is expected to become Nielsen's deputy.
- TRUMP TAPS TOP LANKFORD AIDE FOR NAVY POST: The president intends to nominate Gregory Slavonic, chief of staff to Sen. James Lankford's (R-Okla.), to serve as assistant secretary of the Navy for manpower and Reserve affairs. Slavonic retired from the Navy as a rear admiral after a 34-year career.
- AND FORMER PENTAGON SPOKESMAN JOINS AEROJET ROCKETDYNE: Retired Army Col. Steve Warren, the former Pentagon spokesman forced out in August, has joined Aerojet Rocketdyne as its chief communications officer. Most recently, he had been a military analyst for CNN.
- The president is set to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital and plans to move the U.S. embassy there from Tel Aviv: POLITICO
- Jordan to convene Arab League and OIC meetings over Trump's Jerusalem moves: Reuters
- Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi cautions Trump against "complicating" matters in Middle East: Reuters
- Israel needs a divorce - from the Palestinians and its own prime minister: POLITICO Magazine
- Canada reported to scrap plans to buy Boeing Super Hornet fighter jets amid a deepening trade dispute: Reuters
- Doctors treating the U.S. Embassy victims of mysterious, invisible attacks in Cuba have discovered brain abnormalities: AP
- Saudi strikes rock Yemeni capital after a former president is killed: AP
- After killing Yemen's ex-leader, rebels push his forces out of capital: WSJ
- Kuwait's emir quickly ends troubled Gulf summit: AP
- Two men reportedly plot to kill British Prime Minister Theresa May in a terrorist attack: AP
- The EU urges the U.S. to stick to the Iranian nuclear deal: AP
- And Secretary of State Rex Tillerson calls on European allies to tackle Iran's missile program: WSJ
- It's Official: Lebanon's prime minister isn't resigning after all: The New York Times
- Finland finds itself stuck between NATO and Russia, the head of Finland's defense forces says: Defense News
- Trump's policies are starting to "crumble" traditional U.S.-Europe ties, Germany's foreign minister warns: The Washington Post.
- A Senate panel freezes the ambassadorship nomination to Singapore for former White House deputy national security adviser K.T. McFarland: Washington Examiner
- The U.S. must rethink space policy in the face of enormous change, leading space experts say: Breaking Defense
- The Navy has a new slogan focused on 'centennials': Washington Examiner
- The VA cuts a program for homeless vets after touting Trump's commitment: POLITICO Pro
- Rep. Jack Bergman (R-Mich.) says states should invest more in prepping children for work - and the military: POLITICO Pro
** A message from the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition: This week, the USGLC pays tribute to the 200 retired three and four-star generals and admirals of its National Security Advisory Council after a decade of voicing their support for America's civilian forces.
Hear from luminaries Generals Petraeus, Hayden, and Zinni - and Admirals Stavridis and Loy - on why investments in the State Department, USAID, and the Peace Corps are critical to keep America safe.
WATCH: http://bit.ly/2jhT4yF **
To view online:
Please click here and follow the steps to unsubscribe.