By Gregory Hellman | 12/05/2017 10:00 AM EDT
With Connor O'Brien, Jacqueline Klimas and Wesley Morgan
TOP NEWS - YEMEN'S SALEH KILLED AS CHAOS ENGULFS CAPITAL, reports The New York Times: "Just days ago, the former strongman of Yemen turned against his most recent allies and publicly denounced them as a 'coup militia.' They struck back on Monday, killing him and spreading a video of his lifeless body dumped unceremoniously in the back of a pickup truck.
"The death of the former strongman, Ali Abdullah Saleh, brought to a grim end the career of a wily politician who combined charisma, duplicity and brute force to remain a giant in the politics of his impoverished Arabian country for decades.
"Mr. Saleh's death signaled a turning point in the country's war by shattering the alliance between his loyalists and the rebels known as the Houthis, who had taken over the capital, prompting a punishing bombing campaign by Saudi Arabia and its allies."
Saleh ruled by shifting alliances as his nation crumbled, writes The Associated Press.
Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi calls on Yemenis to rise up against Houthis after Saleh's death, via Reuters.
Saleh's son also calls for revenge against the Houthis on a Saudi-owned TV station, Reuters reports.
And the U.N. says fighting and airstrikes in Sanaa trap civilians and halt aid, Reuters adds.
- DID U.S. MISSILE DEFENSE FAIL IN SAUDI ARABIA? Asks the NYT: "The official story was clear: Saudi forces shot down a ballistic missile fired by Yemen's Houthi rebel group last month at Saudi Arabia's capital, Riyadh. It was a victory for the Saudis and for the United States, which supplied the Patriot missile defense system.
"'Our system knocked the missile out of the air,' President Trump said the next day from Air Force One en route to Japan, one of the 14 countries that use the system. 'That's how good we are. Nobody makes what we make, and now we're selling it all over the world.'"
"But an analysis of photos and videos of the strike posted to social media suggests that story may be wrong."
IT'S TUESDAY 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.
HAPPENING TODAY - AEI TALKS MILITARY READINESS AND EARLY CHILDHOOD: The American Enterprise Institute hosts a discussion on links between military readiness and early childhood featuring Rep. Jack Bergman (R-Mich.), a retired Marine Corps lieutenant general.
THORNBERRY WANTS MORE DEFENSE FUNDING, he tells our colleague Connor O'Brien in a POLITICO Pro Q&A: "The annual defense policy bill has cleared Congress and awaits President Donald Trump's expected signature, but House Armed Services Chairman Mac Thornberry still wants more.
"The Texas Republican, along with other House and Senate Armed Services leaders, swiftly wrapped up a conference committee on the $700 billion National Defense Authorization Act H.R. 2810 (115) last month. It calls for a massive increase in defense spending, but doesn't provide any funding. Congressional leaders still need to hammer out a deal to increase strict caps on defense spending set by the 2011 Budget Control Act.
"As Republican leaders plot to avert a government shutdown when federal funding runs out Friday, Thornberry has put his colleagues on notice that he won't support more continuing spending resolutions without progress toward a budget deal and a final defense appropriations bill."
Meanwhile, Trump and Democrats restart talks to avert a government shutdown, report POLITICO's Sarah Ferris and Jennifer Scholtes.
And the House Freedom Caucus agrees to push for a Dec. 30 continuing spending resolution, though it wants the CR coupled with a full year's worth of defense spending, adds POLITICO's Bernie Becker, Sarah and Colin Wilhelm.
TOP DOC - CBO PEGS THE COSTS OF A TRUMP MILITARY BUILDUP, via your Morning D correspondent: The Congressional Budget Office estimates the costs of President Donald Trump's goals for the military would rise from $575 billion in fiscal 2018 to $688 billion in fiscal 2027. Three factors contributing to rising costs include projections for an approximately 10 percent increase in the number of service members, the growth of the Navy's fleet to 355 ships and the acquisition of new weapons, the CBO reported.
WAR REPORT - MATTIS URGES PAKISTAN TO 'REDOUBLE' ITS EFFORTS TO FIGHT TERRORISM, via The Washington Post: "Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, on his first visit to Pakistan in that role, called on its top military and civilian officials Monday to 'redouble' efforts to prevent Islamist militants from using the country as a refuge and a launchpad for attacks on Afghanistan and elsewhere.
"But Mattis seemed to tone down the sharp language he has used in congressional hearings and other settings to accuse Pakistan of harboring Afghan Taliban fighters. Instead, he adopted a milder, more diplomatic approach aimed at finding 'common ground.'"
- SYRIA SAYS IT SHOOTS DOWN ISRAELI MISSILES NEAR DAMASCUS, via the AP: "Syrian air defense units shot down three Israeli missiles that were targeting a military post near the capital, Damascus, only days after the Jewish state hit a military position nearby, Syria's state news agency SANA reported on Tuesday. There was no Israeli comment on the incident.
"SANA did not say whether some of the missiles hit the target and did not give any word on casualties. It said the attack occurred around midnight on Monday. The attack comes three days after Syria said Israel fired several surface-to-surface missiles at a military post near Damascus, causing material damage but no casualties."
Earlier, Israel warns Syria about what it says are Iran's plans to establish military bases there, via The Wall Street Journal.
And the Trump administration pushes back against the narrative of an imminent Syrian victory in the civil war, writes The Washington Post.
** A message from the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition: Some say Washington is broken, but that's not the whole story. In recent years, Congress has passed significant pieces of bipartisan legislation on global development - advancing America's interests around the world. Watch the 15 members of Congress who helped make it all happen - they might even get a little wild. http://bit.ly/2BGuSxy **
SOUTH KOREA AND U.S. KICK-OFF JOINT AERIAL DRILL, Reuters writes: "South Korea and the United States launched large-scale joint aerial drills on Monday, officials said, a week after North Korea said it had tested its most advanced missile as part of a weapons programme that has raised global tensions.
"The annual U.S.-South Korean drill, called Vigilant Ace, will run until Friday, with six F-22 Raptor stealth fighters to be deployed among the more than 230 aircraft taking part. The exercises have been condemned as a provocation by the isolated North. F-35 fighters will also join the drill, which will also include the largest number of 5th generation fighters to take part, according to a South Korea-based U.S. Air Force spokesman."
A U.S. F-22 Raptor has a problem after landing during joint war games in South Korea, reports Stars and Stripes.
Meanwhile, the Chinese air force holds drills in 'new routes and areas' near Korean peninsula, adds the South China Morning Post.
- FOR YOUR RADAR - U.N. POLITICAL CHIEF HEADS TO NORTH KOREA, reports the AP: "The U.N. political chief is heading to North Korea on a rare four-day visit at the invitation of the government for a wide-ranging discussion on policy issues 'of mutual interest and concern.'
"U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said that Undersecretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman will arrive in Pyongyang on Tuesday from Beijing, where he met with Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Li Baodong on Monday."
Last week, a commercial airline crew saw North Korea's test ICBM "blow up and fall apart" near Japan, reports The Washington Post.
And Japan wants missiles with enough range to strike North Korea, sources tell Reuters.
HYTEN: MISSILE WARNING SATELLITES TIMELINE IS 'RIDICULOUS,' he says via Defense News: "The U.S. Air Force's current schedule for its next-generation missile warning satellites would field an early capability in fiscal 2029, but the head of U.S. Strategic Command called such a timeline 'ridiculous and says industry can do it faster.
"The Air Force released a combined sources-sought notification and request for information on Nov. 14 for a follow-on to the Space Based Infrared System, or SBIRS, which provides early-warning capability to the nation's missile defense system...
"'My requirement from the war fighter is not the same thing we've been buying [but] delivered in 2029,' Hyten said during a panel on warfare in space. 'My requirement is an agile, good-enough capability that should be delivered significantly in advance of that 2029 date, and I have talked to enough people in industry where I know that that is possible.'"
The Army knows it's vulnerable to a space attack. And here's what it wants to do about it, writes Defense One.
MAKING MOVES - TRUMP RETAPS EX-NASA CHIEF FOR NEW PENTAGON POST: The president tapped Michael Griffin, a former NASA administrator in the George W. Bush administration, to be undersecretary of Defense for research and engineering effective Feb. 1. Earlier, Trump had announced his intent to nominate Griffin to be principal deputy undersecretary of Defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, but the new position will open with the split of that office.
Most recently, Griffin had been chairman and CEO of the Schafer Corporation.
- AND ARMY NAMES NEW C3T PEO, reports Defense News: "The Army announced [Monday] a new leader at the Program Executive Office - Command, Control and Communications (Tactical): Maj. Gen. David Bassett will take over as the head of PEO C3T as of Jan. 31.
"There, he will oversee the service's networks for soldiers on the move from their home station, en route to a mission, in operations or on deployment. Bassett heads to Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland - PEO C3T headquarters - from Warren, Michigan, where he has served as program executive officer for Ground Combat Systems since September 2013."
- CIA Director Mike Pompeo says Trump's tweets can actually "help us": Defense News
- The Supreme Court lets the president fully impose the latest travel ban: POLITICO
- U.S. microwave weapons could fry North Korean missile controls: NBC News
- Elite terrorist interrogation team withers under Trump: POLITICO
- Republican Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Jerry Moran of Kansas push a VA health care reform bill: POLITICO Pro
- Former House Veterans' Affairs ranking Democrat Corrine Brown of Florida is sentenced to five years in federal prison for her conviction on corruption charges: POLITICO
- Former deputy White House national security adviser K.T. McFarland's testimony about Russia contacts is questioned: NYT
- Five strongmen, and the fate of the Arab Spring: NYT
- Egyptian security forces kill five suspected militants in a raid: Reuters
- U.S. weapons pour into Lebanon amid turmoil: Al-Monitor
- The State Department warns of violence ahead of Trump's expected Jerusalem decision: POLITICO
- A target glitch foils a test for a U.S.-Israel Arrow-3 missile interceptor: Defense News
- Somalia's peacekeeping mission could be hurt by cut in force size: Reuters
- UAE and Saudi Arabia form a new group, separate from GCC: AP
- A NATO-EU deal could quicken U.S. Army convoys in Europe: Stars and Stripes
- A top NATO general says the best way to counter Russian fake news is to harden networks, be transparent and use evidence whenever possible to sway public opinion: POLITICO Pro
- The high military rate of sexually transmitted disease defies treatment and education efforts: Stars and Stripes
- A top Marine general says he failed to report a colonel's misconduct in Australia: Marine Corps Times
- A defense contractor is sentenced to five years for defrauding the federal government of more than $15 million: Military Times
** A message from the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition: Some say Washington is broken, but that's not the whole story. In recent years, Congress has passed significant pieces of bipartisan legislation on global development - from food security to rights for women and girls to energy infrastructure - advancing America's security and economic interests around the world.
Watch the story from Senators Collins and Cardin and Reps. Royce and Yoho plus 11 more of their colleagues who helped make it all happen.
They might even get a little wild.
Watch: http://bit.ly/2BGuSxy **
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