Categories for Defense

13,262. 2/7/2018

BUDGET/DEFENSE/MILITARY/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT: “The U.S. Department of Defense is planning a military parade at the request of President Donald Trump, White House and Pentagon officials said Tuesday [2-6-18].
After observing the Bastille Day celebrations in Paris last year, Mr. Trump said he wanted to hold a similar parade on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, perhaps to celebrate the Fourth of July.
The French parade last July, which also marked the centennial of the U.S. entry into World War I, featured more than 6,000 service members, tanks and planes overhead in an elaborate display of military might. French President Emmanuel Macron invited Mr. Trump to watch the parade beside him…
The Washington Post first reported the Mr. Trump had asked the Pentagon to arrange an event in the Bastille Day style. Pentagon officials said late Tuesday that plans were in their infancy…
The White House said the decision demonstrated Mr. Trump’s support for the military.”

-Julie Bykowicz, “Trump Asks Pentagon to Plan Military Parade,” The Wall Street Journal online, Feb. 7, 2018 08:31am

13,231. 2/6/2018

BUDGET/DEFENSE/GOP/HOUSE OF REPS: “House GOP leaders on Tuesday [2-6-18] are expected to bring up for a vote legislation that would fund the Defense Department for the rest of the fiscal year, but keep the rest of the government running only through March 23, setting up a showdown with the Senate.
With the government’s current funding set to expire at 12:01 a.m. Friday, House Republicans are preparing to approve a bill that stands little chance of passing the Senate. But House GOP lawmakers said Monday night their strategy was the only way they could secure enough votes to pass another short-term spending bill now—and that they expect the bill to change later in the week… The House bill would fund the government through March 23, boost spending for the Defense Department for the full fiscal year, which goes through September, and fund community health centers for two years, lawmakers said.
Adding the extra defense money helped win over conservative House Republicans, whose votes will be needed. Most House Democrats are expected to oppose the short-term spending bill until a fight over immigration has been resolved…
Senate Democrats support lifting military spending above limits established in the 2011 debt-limit fight, but they have pushed to secure an equal increase in spending for domestic programs in continuing negotiations over a two-year budget deal.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D, N.Y.) said earlier Monday that Democrats wouldn’t support a stopgap spending bill that only provides long-term funding for the military.”

-Kristina Peterson, “House GOP Plans Spending Vote to Fund Military,” The Wall Street Journal online, Feb. 6, 2018 05:30am

13,229. 2/5/2018

DEFENSE/INTELLIGENCE/NATIONAL SECURITY/STATE/TREASURY/TRUMP MEMORANDA: “SUBJECT: Delegation of Certain Functions and Authorities under Section 1238 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including section 301 of title 3, United States Code, I hereby delegate to the Secretary of Defense, in coordination with the Secretary of State, the Secretary of the Treasury, and the Director of National Intelligence, the functions and authorities vested in the President by section 1238 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018 (Public Law 115-91).
The delegations in this memorandum shall apply to any provisions of any future public law that are the same or substantially the same as the provision referenced in this memorandum.
The Secretary of Defense is authorized and directed to publish this memorandum in the Federal Register.”

-Donald Trump, “Presidential Memorandum on the Delegation of Certain Functions and Authorities under Section 1238 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018,” White House Office of the Press Secretary, Feb. 5, 2018

13,224. 2/5/2018

DEFENSE/GUANTANAMO/JAMES MATTIS: “Secretary of Defense James Mattis fired two top Guantanamo Bay officials on Monday [2-5-18] over a ‘loss of confidence,’ a senior defense official tells CNN… Crosson said that Mattis has appointed Jim Coyne, who currently serves as the general counsel at the Defense Logistics Agency, as the acting convening authority.
There are several hearings underway pertaining to inmates at the detention facility but the Pentagon said these personnel actions ‘do not impact ongoing (Office of the Convening Authority for Military Commissions) hearings and proceedings.’
The Pentagon said that Castle, in his capacity as acting general counsel, ‘appointed Mark Toole as Acting Legal Advisor to the Convening Authority for all military commissions except for the case of U.S. v. al-Nashiri, and appointed US Air Force Col. Matthew van Dalen as Acting Legal Advisor to the Convening Authority for the al-Nashiri commission.’…
Last week President Donald Trump signed a new executive order which called for the detention facility to be kept open and opened the door to sending new prisoners there. There is no indication at this time that the firings were related to the executive order.
The decision to keep the facility indefinitely open is a major reversal of his predecessor President Barack Obama’s policy who attempted to shutter the detention facility in his first year of office.”

-Barbara Starr and Ryan Browne, “Mattis fires two top Guantanamo officials,” CNN Politics, CNN.com, Feb. 5, 2018 7:36pm

13,197. 2/5/2018

DEFENSE/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT: “One of the Pentagon’s largest agencies can’t account for hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of spending, a leading accounting firm says in an internal audit obtained by POLITICO that arrives just as President Donald Trump is proposing a boost in the military budget.
Ernst & Young found that the Defense Logistics Agency failed to properly document more than $800 million in construction projects, just one of a series of examples where it lacks a paper trail for millions of dollars in property and equipment. Across the board, its financial management is so weak that its leaders and oversight bodies have no reliable way to track the huge sums it’s responsible for, the firm warned in its initial audit of the massive Pentagon purchasing agent.
The audit raises new questions about whether the Defense Department can responsibly manage its $700 billion annual budget — let alone the additional billions that Trump plans to propose this month. The department has never undergone a full audit despite a congressional mandate — and to some lawmakers, the messy state of the Defense Logistics Agency’s books indicates one may never even be possible.”

-Bryan Bender, “Exclusive: Massive Pentagon agency lost track of hundreds of millions of dollars,” Politico, Feb. 5, 2018 05:16am

13,096. 1/30/2018

DEFENSE/GUANTANAMO/TRUMP EXEC ORDERS: “By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, it is hereby ordered as follows:
Section 1. Findings. (a) Consistent with long-standing law of war principles and applicable law, the United States may detain certain persons captured in connection with an armed conflict for the duration of the conflict...
Sec. 2. Status of Detention Facilities at U.S. Naval Station Guantánamo Bay. (a) Section 3 of Executive Order 13492 of January 22, 2009 (Review and Disposition of Individuals Detained at the Guantánamo Bay Naval Base and Closure of Detention Facilities), ordering the closure of detention facilities at U.S. Naval Station Guantánamo Bay, is hereby revoked…
Sec. 3. Rules of Construction. (a) Nothing in this order shall prevent the Secretary of Defense from transferring any individual away from the U.S. Naval Station Guantánamo Bay when appropriate, including to effectuate an order affecting the disposition of that individual issued by a court or competent tribunal of the United States having lawful jurisdiction.”

-Donald Trump, “Presidential Executive Order on Protecting America Through Lawful Detention of Terrorists,” White House Office of the Press Secretary, Jan 30, 2018

13,077. 1/29/2018

DEFENSE/RUSSIA/TRADE DEALS/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT: “The Trump administration announced Monday [1-29-18] that it had decided against imposing any sanctions on countries that buy Russian military equipment, saying that a new law was already deterring billions of dollars in such purchases.
The law required that sanctions be imposed against large purchasers of Russian arms, but it granted exceptions for a variety of reasons. The administration explained the exceptions it was citing to members of Congress in a classified briefing on Monday… Defense deals are often years in the making, so last year’s law, called the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, is only just beginning to have an effect, an administration official said.
Congress overwhelmingly passed the law in response to intelligence that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election in the United States. But the legislation presented the Trump administration, which opposed its passage, with a conundrum because crucial American allies and partners, such as India, Turkey and some Eastern European members of NATO, continue to buy military equipment from Russia.
The administration’s rejection of sanctions on Monday disappointed critics, who worried about continued Russian influence.
Peter Harrell, a former sanctions official in the Obama administration, said that it was ‘clearly disappointing’ that the Trump administration refused to impose sanctions ‘on the same day that C.I.A. Director Mike Pompeo said that Russia will target the 2018 midterm elections.’ “

-Gardiner Harris, “Trump Administration Won’t Impose Sanctions on Buyers of Russian Arms,” The New York Times online, Jan. 29, 2018

12,982. 1/23/2018

DEFENSE/NATIONAL SECURITY/TRUMP MEMORANDA: “Presidential Determination
No. 2018-04
MEMORANDUM FOR THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE
SUBJECT: Presidential Determination Pursuant to
Section 4533(a)(5) of the Defense Production
Act of 1950
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, including section 4533(a)(5) of the Defense Production Act of 1950 (the ‘Act’)(50 U.S.C. 4533(a)(5)), I hereby determine, pursuant to section 4533(a)(5) of the Act, that critical technology item shortfalls affecting thin-wall castings for military applications are critical to national defense.
Without Presidential action under this Act, the United States defense industrial base cannot reasonably be expected to adequately provide those capabilities or critical technology items in a timely manner. Further, purchases, purchase commitments, or other action pursuant to section 4533 of the Act are the most cost-effective, expedient, and practical alternative method for meeting the need for those capabilities or critical technology items.”

-Donald Trump, “Presidential Memorandum for the Secretary of Defense,” White House Office of the Press Secretary, Jan. 23, 2018

12,981. 1/23/2018

DEFENSE/NATIONAL SECURITY/TRUMP MEMORANDA: “Presidential Determination
No. 2018-03
MEMORANDUM FOR THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE
SUBJECT: Presidential Determination Pursuant to
Section 4533(a)(5) of the Defense Production
Act of 1950
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, including section 4533(a)(5) of the Defense Production Act of 1950 (the ‘Act’)(50 U.S.C. 4533(a)(5)), I hereby determine, pursuant to section 4533(a)(5) of the Act, that critical technology item shortfalls affecting domestic production of trusted advanced photomasks are critical to national defense.
Without Presidential action under this Act, the United States defense industrial base cannot reasonably be expected to adequately provide those capabilities or critical technology items in a timely manner. Further, purchases, purchase commitments, or other action pursuant to section 4533 of the Act are the most cost effective, expedient, and practical alternative method for meeting the need for those capabilities or critical technology items.”

-Donald Trump, “Presidential Memorandum for the Secretary of State,” White House Office of the Press Secretary, Jan. 23, 2018

12,891. 1/19/2018

CHINA/DEFENSE/JAMES MATTIS/MILITARY/RUSSIA: “The United States is switching its priority to countering Chinese and Russian military might after almost two decades of focusing on the fight against terrorism, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Friday [1-19-18], unveiling a national defense strategy that Pentagon officials say will provide a blueprint for years to come.
The new strategy echoes — on paper, if not in tone — a national security blueprint offered last month in which President Trump described rising threats to the United States from an emboldened Russia and China, as well as from what was described as rogue governments like North Korea and Iran.
But where Mr. Trump struck a campaign tone during the unveiling of his national security strategy, with references to building a wall along the southern border with Mexico, Mr. Mattis took a more sober route by sticking to the more traditional intellectual framework that has accompanied foreign policy doctrines of past administrations.
Drawing inspiration from Winston Churchill, who once said that the only thing harder than fighting with allies is fighting without them, Mr. Mattis said that the United States must strengthen its alliances with other powers.”

-Helene Cooper, “Military Shifts Focus to Threats by Russia and China, Not Terrorism,” The New York Times online, Jan. 19, 2018

12,745. 1/15/2018

CHINA/DEFENSE/FOREIGN POLICY/MILITARY/NATIONAL SECURITY/NUCLEAR/RUSSIA: “The Pentagon is planning to develop two new sea-based nuclear weapons to respond to Russia and China’s growing military capabilities, according to a sweeping Defense Department review of nuclear strategy.
The planned move has ignited a broad debate over future U.S. nuclear strategy at a time when the nation also faces the threat of proliferation, in particular from North Korea’s efforts to expand its arsenal of nuclear weapons and develop long-range missiles capable of delivering them.
Supporters of the Pentagon’s plan say it is time for the U.S. to update its nuclear forces to deal with changing threats some three decades after the end of the Cold War. Critics worry that the Pentagon’s search for more flexible nuclear options could lower the threshold for their use.
One weapon, which experts say could be deployed in about two years, is a ‘low yield’ warhead for the Trident missile, which currently is deployed with more powerful warheads on the Navy’s submarines that carry ballistic missiles.
The U.S. also would pursue the development of a new nuclear-tipped sea-launched cruise missile, reintroducing a system that was retired from the American arsenal in 2010.
The development of the two weapons is among a broad range of recommendations in the Pentagon’s Nuclear Posture Review, a major reassessment of the U.S. nuclear strategy and programs that was commissioned about a year ago by President Donald Trump.”

-Michael R. Gordon, “U.S. Plans New Nuclear Weapons,” The Wall Street Journal online, Jan. 15, 2018 07:37pm

12,334. 12/22/2017

DEFENSE/TAXES/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT: “Will be signing the biggest ever Tax Cut and Reform Bill in 30 minutes in Oval Office. Will also be signing a much needed 4 billion dollar missile defense bill.”

-Donald Trump, Twitter.com, Dec. 22, 2017 10:07am

12,303. 12/21/2017

DEFENSE/JAMES MATTIS/MILITARY: “Defense Secretary Jim Mattis left Washington Wednesday [12-20-17] on an unannounced trip to visit U.S. troops for the holidays, officials said.
Mr. Mattis will visit American forces stationed at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; Camp Lejeune, N.C.; Ft. Bragg, N.C.; and the Mayport naval base in Jacksonville, Fla., Defense officials said. He is being accompanied by one member of the media, although the trip wasn’t disclosed by the Pentagon until officials received questions about it.
While visits by high ranking U.S. officials to combat zones often are kept under wraps for security reasons, Pentagon press secretary Dana White didn’t say why this trip wasn’t announced previously.”

-Gordon Lubold, “Defense Secretary to Visit Troops for Holidays,” The Wall Street Journal online, Dec. 21, 2017 07:30am

12,243. 12/19/2017

BUDGET/DEFENSE/HEALTHCARE/OBAMACARE(ACA): “The U.S. Congress is struggling through another contentious week as infighting over defense spending, healthcare and other matters complicates the drive to pass a temporary spending bill by midnight on Friday [12-22-17] to avert a partial government shutdown.
In a week when President Donald Trump and his fellow Republicans in Congress are hoping to celebrate the passage of tax overhaul legislation, many in the party showed little appetite for a government shutdown at week’s end.
But they sounded resigned to having to navigate through some drama over a package that includes so many disparate components, which could make for a messy process…
The last time government agencies had to shut down because Washington could not pay its bills was in October 2013.
Leading Republicans in the Senate and House of Representatives expressed optimism that a funding bill, coupled with a large new disaster aid package, would pass by Friday’s deadline.
But some were predicting that lawmakers would bump right up against the cutoff.
The House could vote as soon as Wednesday on legislation that extends most funding for domestic programs through Jan. 19. Democrats are likely to mainly oppose the bill, arguing that their priorities are being ignored.”

-Richard Cowan, “Congress faces tricky path to avoid government shutdown,” Reuters, Dec. 19, 2017 07:03am

12,125. 12/13/2017

DEFENSE/IRAN/SAUDI ARABIA/YEMEN: “The Trump administration will present evidence Thursday [12-14-17] of what it says is proof that Iran has provided missiles to Houthi rebels in Yemen, missiles like those the rebels have recently fired into Saudi Arabia, three defense officials told CNN Wednesday.
The evidence, including missile components, is expected to be presented to reporters at Defense Intelligence Agency headquarters at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling in Washington, according to the officials.
US military officials have previously said that Iran has supplied missiles to Houthi rebels including a missile that was fired into Saudi Arabia that targeted the capital Riyadh in November…
The US provides aerial refueling support to aircraft from the Saudi-led coalition fighting the Houthis in Yemen. The US military also provides what it calls limited intelligence sharing to help Saudi Arabia defend itself from cross border attacks.”

-Ryan Browne, “US to present evidence Iran is providing missiles to Yemen rebels,” CNN Politics, CNN.com, Dec. 13, 2017 01:21pm

12,073. 12/10/2017

DEFENSE/FOREIGN POLICY/SOMALIA/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT: “Amid its escalating campaign of drone strikes in Somalia, the Pentagon has presented the White House with an operational plan that envisions at least two more years of combat against Islamist militants there, according to American officials familiar with internal deliberations.
The proposed plan for Somalia would be the first under new rules quietly signed by President Trump in October for counterterrorism operations outside conventional war zones. The American military has carried out about 30 airstrikes in Somalia this year, twice as many as in 2016. Nearly all have come since June, including a Nov. 21 bombing that killed over 100 suspected militants at a Shabab training camp.
In a sign that the Defense Department does not envision a quick end to the deepening war in Somalia against the Shabab and the Islamic State, the proposed plan is said to include an exemption to a rule in Mr. Trump’s guidelines requiring annual vetting by staff from other agencies — including diplomats and intelligence officials — of operational plans for certain countries.
Instead, the Pentagon wants to wait 24 months before reviewing how the Somalia plan is working, according to the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive matters. Moreover, they said, the Defense Department wants to conduct that review internally, without involvement from other agencies — a request that would further a Trump-era pattern of giving the Pentagon greater latitude and autonomy.”

-Charlie Savage and Eric Schmitt, “Pentagon Foresees at Least Two More Years of Combat in Somalia,” The New York Times online, Dec. 10, 2017

11,606. 11/16/2017

DEFENSE: “The Defense Department’s official Twitter account retweeted a message Thursday [11-16-17] calling for three politicians, including President Trump, to step away from politics amid sexual assault allegations, but quickly deleted it and said it was a mistake.
The tweet, by a person using the handle ‘Proud Resister,’ stated that Trump and Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) should resign from their jobs and that Republican Roy Moore of Alabama should step aside from running for the Senate. It also blamed the Republican Party for ‘making sexual assault a partisan issue,’ adding: ‘It’s a crime as is your hypocrisy.’
The Pentagon’s main account retweeted the message to its 5.2 million followers, but quickly reversed course.
Dana White, a Pentagon spokeswoman appointed by the Trump administration, and Army Col. Rob Manning, a military spokesman, said that ‘an authorized operator’ of the Pentagon’s Twitter account ‘erroneously retweeted content that would not be endorsed by the Department of Defense.’ The same individual noticed the error ‘and immediately deleted it,’ they said.”

-Dan Lamothe, “A ‘proud resister’ called for Trump and Franken to resign and Moore to bow out. The Pentagon retweeted it.,” The Washington Post online, Nov. 16, 2017 3:30pm

11,556. 11/14/2017

DEFENSE/MILITARY/NATIONAL SECURITY/NUCLEAR/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT: “U.S. senators on Tuesday [11-14-17] took a rare look at the decades-old presidential authority to launch a nuclear strike, posing questions at a hearing about the process President Donald Trump would follow if he were to order such an attack…
Three former government and military officials who were questioned by the committee said the president has sole authority to decide whether to use a nuclear weapon, but that decision is guided by strict protocols and includes consultation with the Secretary of Defense and military officials.
Much of the questioning centered around what the president would have to do to launch a pre-emptive—rather than retaliatory—strike. Some senators said some such strikes would amount to a declaration of war and that the president should consult with Congress before undertaking such action.
But these and other scenarios opened the door to many legal, constitutional and practical questions…
Several senators asked what restraints, if any, exist on the president’s ability to carry out a nuclear-first strike. The former officials said that there are legal guidelines determining when the use of a nuclear weapon is appropriate, but that the decision falls to the president…
Some Republican senators expressed concerns that publicly questioning when the president can strike and under what authority could lead allies to question if the U.S. has the political will to follow through on its nuclear commitments and might lead adversaries, such as North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, to miscalculate amid the uncertainty…
Mr. Corker, who organized the hearing, has since stepped up his criticism of Mr. Trump’s foreign policy since announcing that he won’t seek re-election. Last month, he said Mr. Trump’s threats to other countries could spark ‘World War III.’ “

-Felicia Schwartz, “Senators Pose Questions About Trump’s Nuclear Attack Authority,” The Wall Street Journal online, Nov. 14, 2017 06:36pm

11,370. 11/6/2017

DEFENSE/FDA: “The Defense Department — and not FDA — would have the power to approve drugs and medical devices under the defense policy bill that’s being hammered out by a conference committee, alarming congressional staff and Health and Human Services officials who say it would undermine medical safety and potentially put soldiers at risk.
Section 732 of the Senate’s version of the National Defense Authorization Act creates a new regulatory structure that would allow the Pentagon to sign off on unapproved devices and drugs for emergency use on military personnel and others in harm’s way. The bill is in conference committee with final language expected as early as this week.
FDA currently has sole authority to authorize drugs and devices for emergency use…
The language states that the Defense Department would be able to approve ’emergency uses for medical products to reduce deaths and severity of injuries caused by agents of war.’ For instance, the Defense Department could approve the use of freeze-dried plasma, which the department has repeatedly said can save the lives of military personnel who have suffered blood loss on the battlefield. While a small number of elite soldiers currently are deployed with access to freeze-dried plasma, the product is still awaiting full FDA approval, which isn’t expected until 2020.”

-Dan Diamond, “‘Unprecedented’ Pentagon health committee could undermine FDA,” Politico, Nov. 6, 2017 01:09pm

11,186. 10/29/2017

DEFENSE/JAMES MATTIS/MILITARY/REX TILLERSON/STATE: “U.S. lawmakers will grill top Trump administration officials on Monday [10-30-17] about a new authorization for the use of military force in the campaign against Islamic State and other militant groups, Congress’ most significant step in years toward taking back control of its constitutional right to authorize war.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis will testify before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee at a hearing on the administration’s view of a new Authorization for the Use of Military Force, known by the acronym AUMF.
Republican and Democratic members of Congress have been arguing for years that Congress ceded too much authority over the deployment of U.S. forces to the White House after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. They are also divided over how much control they should exert over the Pentagon. Repeated efforts to write and pass a new AUMF have failed…
Under the Constitution, Congress, not the president, has the right to declare war.”

-Patricia Zengerle, “As militant threats shift, U.S. Senate revives war authorization debate,” Reuters, Oct. 29, 2017 10:05pm

11,142. 10/27/2017

DEFENSE/JAMES MATTIS/NORTH KOREA: “Defense Secretary Jim Mattis denounced North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un’s regime as a threat to regional security during a visit to the demilitarized zone that divides the two Koreas, even as he reaffirmed the U.S.’s commitment to diplomacy.
‘North Korean provocations continue to threaten regional and global security despite unanimous condemnation by the United Nations Security Council,’ Mr. Mattis said in prepared remarks as he overlooked North Korea with Seoul’s defense minister at his side.
Mr. Mattis, making his first trip to the DMZ as defense secretary, reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to South Korea’s security. He also said that Washington’s goal ‘is not war, but rather the complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.’…
The trip by Mr. Mattis, who is also scheduled to meet with South Korean President Moon Jae-in at the presidential office on Friday, comes two weeks ahead of President Donald Trump’s trip to the region, where he is expected to visit the newly constructed $11 billion U.S. military base at Pyeongtaek, south of Seoul.”

-Gordon Lubold and Johnathan Cheng, “Defense Secretary Mattis Denounces North Korea on Visit to DMZ,” The Wall Street Journal online, Oct. 27, 2017 01:13am

11,023. 10/22/2017

DEFENSE/JAMES MATTIS/NATIONAL SECURITY/NORTH KOREA: “Defense Secretary Jim Mattis arrived here to meet with regional counterparts as the U.S. attempts to coordinate efforts to counter North Korean belligerence.
The Pentagon chief is scheduled to meet Monday with Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera, Philippine Defense Minister Delfin Lorenzana and South Korean Defense Minister Song Young-moo during a gathering of defense ministers of Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
Mr. Mattis has plans to meet with officials from other Asean nations as well, including India, Indonesia and Malaysia. They will discuss ‘the regional security crisis caused by the reckless DPRK, North Korea provocations’ among other issues, Mr. Mattis told reporters on a plane Monday…
President Donald Trump has countered North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s launches and belligerent remarks with his own fiery rhetoric, threatening a massive military response. But Mr. Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson have maintained that diplomatic options remain the best approach to resolve the crisis.
In addition to meeting with the Japanese and South Korean defense ministers individually, Mr. Mattis will also hold a trilateral discussion during the Asean meeting, he said.”

-Gordon Lubold, “Mattis to Discuss North Korean Threat With Southeast Asian Defense Officials,” The Wall Street Journal online, Oct. 22, 2017 07:15pm

10,997. 10/20/2017

CRISIS/DEFENSE/TRUMP EXEC ORDERS:‘Presidential Executive Order Amending Executive Order 13223’
Section 1. Amendment to Executive Order 13223. Section 1 of Executive Order 13223 is amended by adding at the end: ‘The authorities available for use during a national emergency under sections 688 and 690 of title 10, United States Code, are also invoked and made available, according to their terms, to the Secretary concerned, subject in the case of the Secretaries of the Army, Navy, and Air Force, to the direction of the Secretary of Defense.’ “

-Donald Trump, “Presidential Executive Order Amending Executive Order 13223,” White House Office of the Press Secretary, Oct 20, 2017

10,805. 10/12/2017

DEFENSE/MILITARY/NUCLEAR/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT: “The Pentagon has no current plans to increase the size of the U.S. nuclear arsenal.
In fact, it can barely sustain the existing force, which is decades old and is in some respects almost decrepit.
The arsenal is far from being in the ‘perfect shape’ that President Donald Trump said Wednesday [10-11-17] he wants to see under his watch.
That is why the government is planning to spend hundreds of billions of dollars on a top-to-bottom ‘modernization,’ or replacement of the three major categories of nuclear weapons – as well as their command and control systems – in coming decades.
Trump denied that he has called for a big increase in nuclear weapons. He said he thinks the U.S. already has enough.”

-Robert Burns, “The Pentagon has no plans to increase nuclear arsenal, and can barely sustain what it has,” Business Insider, Oct. 12, 2017

10,615. 10/4/2017

BUDGET/CRISIS/DEFENSE/MILITARY: “The extended deployment of military cargo jets and Navy ships to help with Hurricane Maria and Hurricane Irma relief efforts is causing military planners to scramble and recalculate future deployments all the way from Afghanistan to the Korean Peninsula, according to several defense officials familiar with discussions underway inside the Defense Department.
Due to security concerns, officials refused to discuss specific changes in deployment timelines or the units involved, but sketched out how they could impact overseas deployments into 2018.
Defense Secretary James Mattis spoke about the challenge publicly for the first time Tuesday [10-3-17], testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee that the military will stay in Puerto Rico as long as needed: ‘We are ready to go even to the point that it’s going to impact the deployments, perhaps, of some of these troops overseas next year because we’ve interrupted their preparation.’ “

-Barbara Starr, “Hurricane deployments stretch US military thin,” CNN Politics, CNN.com, Oct. 4, 2017 07:54pm