Welcome to Defense and Military Times” all new Early Bird Brief, the mos comprehensive roundup of national and international headlines compiled by the world’s largest independent newsroom covering the global defense industry and military affairs. Please share your thoughts direectly with Early Bird Editor Oriana Pawlyk: opawlyk@militarytimes.com.

Today’s Top 5
    Iraqi leader arrives in Washington at turning point in ISIL battle
(Politico) Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi is visiting Washington Tuesday at a crucial moment in the war against the Islamic State. 
 
    Putin Lifts Ban on Russian Missile Sales to Iran
(New York Times) President Vladimir Putin on Monday approved the delivery of a sophisticated air defense missile system to Iran, potentially complicating negotiations on Tehran’s nuclear program and further straining ties with Washington. 
 
    VA whistleblowers allege continued attacks, failures
(Military Times) Last July, when Dr. Christian Head testified before Congress about improper record keeping at the Greater Los Angeles Veterans Affairs Health Care system, he also detailed what department whistleblowers typically face when they speak out: isolation, defamation, and aggressive attacks. 
 
    The sequestration monster myth
(Politico) Defense Secretary Ash Carter warns that sequestration will make the nation “less secure.” Sen. John McCain says it will set the military “on a far more dangerous course.” And Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey says it will prompt “a dramatic change in how we protect our nation.” There’s just one problem: The sequestration monster lurking around the corner isn’t really coming. 
 
    Best for Vets: Employers 2015 rankings are out

(Military Times) With the unemployment rate for the latest generation of veterans routinely running below 7 percent, companies across all industries have realized how vets can boost bottom lines – and they’re fighting to bring people like you onboard. 


 

Yemen
    Drone Strikes in Yemen Said to Set a Dangerous Precedent
(New York Times) An investigation of American drone strikes in Yemen concludes that the Obama administration has not followed its own rules to avoid civilian casualties and is setting a dangerous example for other countries that want to use unmanned aircraft against terrorists. 
 
    Saudi and Iranian leaders wage war of words as Yemen burns
(Washington Post) It’s been clear for quite some time that President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi has had little to no genuine support from within Yemen and is, in many ways, a Saudi puppet. 
 
    Embattled Yemen leader names new vice president
(Associated Press) Yemen’s President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, who fled the country in the face of a rebel advance last month, has tapped his former Prime Minister Khaled Bahah to be vice president in a move aimed at strengthening the embattled executive branch, an official close to Hadi said. 
 
    U.S. Moves to Stem Iran Arms Flow to Yemen

(Wall Street Journal) U.S. naval forces in the Red Sea this month boarded a freighter suspected of delivering Iranian weapons to Houthi rebels in Yemen, American military officials said. 


 
Islamic State
    New DoD map shows Islamic State losing territory
(Military Times) Islamic State militants have been steadily losing ground in Iraq since the summer, but it is still too early to say the Iraqi government and the U.S.-led coalition are winning the fight, a military official said. 
 
    Fallouja illustrates Iraq’s challenge in retaking cities from Islamic State
(Los Angeles Times) At the Nuaimiyah military base on the edge of long-troubled Fallouja, Iraqi soldiers often sleep outdoors, gambling that they will be better protected by sandbags than by flimsy, flammable huts as they endure a nightly cascade of mortar shells and fiery flares. 
 
    Iraq Eyes Small Steps For Big Gains Against Islamic State
(Foreign Policy) In putting the fight for Anbar before Mosul, Iraq seeks to win over suspicious Sunnis. To do so, Washington says Baghdad should also limit the role of Shiite militias backed by Iran. 
 
    IS Threatens To ‘Burn America’ In New Propaganda Video
(Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty) A new propaganda video released by the militant group Islamic State (IS) threatens to carry out 9/11-style attacks on the United States and warns that American citizens are not safe. 
 
    ISIL attacks Moroccan, South Korean embassies in Libya
(Al Jazeera America) The United States and European powers pressed Libya’s rival factions to set an “unconditional” cease-fire at talks restarting Monday, as two attacks on foreign embassies were linked to fighters from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). 
 
    US vets return to Mideast to battle past and present demons

(Associated Press) A decade after his first Iraq tour, former U.S. Marine Jamie Lane has returned to the battlefields of the Middle East to fight a still unvanquished enemy and wrestle with the demons of his past. 


 
Russia-Ukraine
    US paratroops convoy to western Ukraine for training mission
(Stars & Stripes) U.S. paratroopers have arrived in Ukraine for Operation Fearless Guardian, a six-month effort to train Ukraine’s newly established national guard force. 
 
    Fighting picks up in war-torn eastern Ukraine
(Associated Press) Fighting has picked up in eastern Ukraine, after more than a month of relative calm, as diplomats gathered in Berlin Monday to discuss the Ukraine crisis. 
 
    Russia, Ukraine agree on withdrawal of smaller caliber arms in effort to implement Minsk plan

(Associated Press) Russia and Ukraine agreed Monday to call for the pullback of smaller caliber weapons from the front lines in eastern Ukraine as part of a fresh push to end the region’s yearlong conflict. 


 
Congress
    2016 pay and benefits forecast is cloudy
(Military Times) Lawmakers have been debating next year’s defense budget plans for months already, but the return of Congress to Capitol Hill this week marks the start of serious talks about next year’s defense authorization bill and how it might affect military personnel policies. 
 
    Iran Bill Sets Up Political Tests
(Defense News) Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker is slated to tee up a bill Tuesday that will put members on the spot about a potential deal over Iran’s nuclear program.
 
    Marco Rubio Announces 2016 Presidential Bid
(New York Times) Senator Marco Rubio of Florida announced on Monday that he is running for president, declaring that he is the best person to lead the United States into “another American century.” 
 
    O’Rourke: Explore options before troop cuts
(El Paso Inc) U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, a Democrat whose district includes El Paso and Fort Bliss, is among the few lawmakers who think it’s time for the Pentagon to launch another round of Base Realignment and Closure, or BRAC. 
 
    Defense hearings: Iran showdown and NDAA prep
(Military Times) Congress returns to work this week to a host of appropriations and authorization hearings, but the Iran nuclear deal debate in the Senate is likely to command the most attention. 
 
    GOP: Obama war request is dead

(The Hill) President Obama’s proposal for the use of military force against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is dead in the House, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy declared on Monday.


 
Industry
    ULA Unveils Vulcan Launch Vehicle
(Defense News) The United Launch Alliance’s next generation launch vehicle will feature a reusable main engine and a redesigned second stage, the company announced Monday. 
 
    Firms propose service-based helicopter training for U.S. military
(Reuters) AgustaWestland, the helicopter unit of Italy’s Finmeccanica SpA, Bristow Group, Doss Aviation and Rockwell Collins Inc on Monday proposed a new service-based system for training U.S. military pilots using AgustaWestland’s AW119 single-engine helicopter. 
 
    Navy contracts with Textron for 2 more landing craft
(Associated Press) A New Orleans company has received a contract form the Navy for construction of two more new hovercraft. 
 
    Interview: ULA’s Tory Bruno
(Defense News) For the last decade, the United Launch Alliance (ULA) has had a monopoly on military space launch under the Air Force’s Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle contract. Now the company finds itself at a crossroads, caught between a government cutoff of the Russian-made RD-180 engine used in ULA’s Atlas V vehicle and a burst of competition from SpaceX, which expects to be certified to carry military launch missions by June. 
 
    Airbus Helicopters Inc names new chief executive
(IHS Jane’s 360) Chris Emerson, currently the head of marketing for Airbus, will take over as chief executive of Airbus Helicopters Inc on 1 June, the company announced on 10 April. Airbus Helicopters Inc is the US subsidiary of Airbus that focuses on helicopter sales in the United States. 
 
    Commercial Space Eyes Greater Share
(Defense News) For years, commercial space providers have pushed the Pentagon for a bigger piece of the military space pie. If recent comments from top USAF officials are an indication, they may finally get their chance. 
 
    Solar war games set to test green power resilience for NATO
(Bloomberg) Starting in June, defense companies including Thales and Multicon Solar will join NATO to test the military’s ability to use renewable power in combat and humanitarian operations. 
 
    Report: BAE May Seek To Appoint Foreign CEO
(Defense News) BAE Systems has sought approval from the British government to appoint a foreign chief executive, according to media reports here. 
 
    Committee Eyes Draft Legislation To Block CALCM Demilitarization
(Inside the Air Force) A plan to demilitarize the AGM-86C/D Conventional Air-Launched Cruise Missile faces another congressional roadblock, this time because of a directed energy weapon known as CHAMP — which destroys electronic equipment with blasts of high-powered microwave energy. 
 
    India Rethinking Rafale Fighter Deal

(Aviation Week) India is rethinking its long-delayed 126-aircraft Medium-Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) deal, and may opt to scrap the fighter purchase in favor of government-to-government sale. 


 
Veterans
    VA building projects riddled with mistakes and cost overruns
(Washington Post) The hospital construction woes are the latest in a long line of troubles that the Department of Veterans Affairs faces, from accusations of retaliation against whistleblowers to a backlog of compensation benefits to reports that wait-times for appointments in some parts of the country still haven’t improved. Wait-times range from 30 days to more than six months. 
 
    Dallas veteran who sent word of Third Reich’s fall celebrates life’s victories
(Dallas Morning News) The World War II veteran – who celebrated his birthday Sunday at the Frontiers of Flight Museum – was part of Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower’s communication staff in Europe. As a Teletype operator, Andrews said he never had a shot fired at him during a war that killed more than 400,000 Americans. 
 
    VA backs solar project after concerns from Congress
(Stars & Stripes) The $8.2 million solar panels were planned to provide energy to the John L. McClellan Memorial Veterans Hospital and were nearly completed in 2013. But contract issues have since held up the project, and the VA is now moving the panels to build a parking garage. 
 
    Vet Affairs exec who misled Ayotte appointed to Tomah scandal review panel
(Washington Examiner) Deborah Amdur, director of the Department of Veterans Affairs’ White River Junction, Vt., hospital was appointed by Secretary Bob McDonald to a special internal panel investigating why the agency’s Tomah, Wisc., facility prescribed so many opiate drugs that it became known as “Candy Land.” 
 
    Chicago company employs only veterans, shows how work is a mission
(Chicago Tribune) Having admittedly no idea what he was doing, Doyle launched a silk-screening business called Rags of Honor, a company that would be staffed entirely by veterans. 
 
    White House proposes tapping VA efficiency fund to pay for troubled Aurora project
(Colorado Public Radio) The VA wants to fund the completion of the hospital by taking money from a $5 billion fund created to address problems with wait times, according to Adam Bozzi, spokesman for U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet. 
 
    Warrior pose: Yoga catching on as therapy for veterans’ PTSD
(Washington Post) Army Lt. Col. John Thurman lost 26 co-workers in the Sept. 11, 2001, attack on the Pentagon. He endured severe smoke inhalation while trapped in the building for 25 minutes. 
 
    Man says mysterious Civil War photo was really teenage hoax
(Associated Press) For three decades, the stained and blurry photograph presented a great mystery to Civil War historians. 
 
    On the front lines of PTSD research
(Milwaukee Journal Sentinel) Picture a trauma victim, someone who has endured a gunshot wound, a car crash or an industrial accident, a person whose body is broken and is rushed into surgery to be mended by physicians racing against the clock. 
 
    ‘Marching Home’: Veterans of Civil War had similar struggles to today’s soldiers

(Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) In “Marching Home: Union Veterans and Their Unending Civil War,” historian Brian Matthew Jordan describes in poignant detail the problems many Union veterans faced as they tried to adjust to civilian life: bouts of depression, suicides, alcoholism, joblessness, estrangement from wives and families and, at times, contempt from their civilian neighbors. 


 
Defense Department & National Security
    Pentagon Seeks Sensors That Last for Years
(DefenseOne) The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, today announced a program called Near Zero Power RF and Sensor Operations, or N-ZERO, which will build a network of sensors that can determine what to pay attention to and when. 
 
    Kendall: DoD Tech Needs Private Sector
(Defense News) The US Department of Defense needs to do a better job of engaging Silicon Valley in its acquisition process if the US is to maintain its military technology superiority, Pentagon acquisition head Frank Kendall said Monday. 
 
    How the NSA Is Using the Cloud To Thwart the Next Snowden
(NextGov) In a post-Snowden world, is it really a good idea to have analysts swimming around in one vast ocean of NSA secrets and data? 
 
    Military kids get to experience deployment

(USA Today) A special program called KUDO (Kids Understanding Deployment Operations) helps military kids understand what their parents go through during deployment. 


 
Army
    ‘Army West Point’: New logo highlights sports rebrand
(Army Times) “Black Knights” stays, but the Black Knight goes when it comes to Army athletics. 
 
    British invasion: Huge paratrooper jump today over Bragg  
(Army Times) More than 2,100 American and British paratroopers will jump into Fort Bragg, North Carolina, on Monday for the start of a massive exercise that marks the next step forward in a unique relationship between the two nations’ airborne units. 
 
    Behind the scenes at Best Ranger, the Army competition for elite soldiers
(Washington Post) Best Ranger includes 26 events on average, and has competitors doing everything from crawling through the mud to leaping from helicopters into water. 
 
    Command, CSM and key billet slates announced
(Army Times) Several hundred field-grade officers and senior NCOs of the Regular Army have been slated for brigade and battalion command, command sergeant major and key billet duties beginning in fiscal 2016. 
 
    Inside the Army’s effort to train and assess women for Ranger School
(Washington Post) Forty-four U.S. soldiers lined up here in formation before dawn Saturday with one more major requirement left before they could attend the Army’s elite Ranger School: A six-mile road march while hauling a rifle and 45 pounds of combat gear. It was one last test of wills through the winding hills and humidity of western Georgia. 
 
    Fort Bragg works to end problems uncovered after colonel’s death in parachute jump

(Fayetteville Observer) In practice, an Army report found that jumpmasters on Fort Bragg often felt intimidated by those higher in rank, leading to preferential treatment for higher ranking soldiers in the 18th Airborne Corps and the 82nd Airborne Division. 

 
Navy
    Naval aviation progress comes in fits, starts
(Navy Times) The Navy is in the midst of sweeping changes in aviation, particularly in the future carrier air wing. 
 
    BMD mission demands outstrip fleet’s capabilities
(Navy Times) Missile defense ships are in short supply. 
 
    PEO LCS Looking at 2016 Deployment of Anti-Sub Package Ahead of Reaching IOC
(USNI News) The Program Executive Officer for Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) hopes to send a version of the anti-submarine warfare (ASW) mission package out to sea before officially reaching initial operational capability, as earlier testing showed “phenomenal” capability compared to current systems. 
 
    Navy Frigate Requirements Will Be Finalized Soon, Will Inform Decision on Hull Downselect
(USNI News) The program office is also working with the Navy’s Surface Warfare Directorate, Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren, Program Executive Office for Integrated Warfare Systems and more to refine the frigate requirements and clearly document them. 
 
    Fleet boss targets better training, predictable cruises
(Navy Times) The fleet’s top officer wants to boost training to fight sophisticated opponents and delivermore predictable and shorter ship deployments. 
 
    USS Fort Worth Successfully Tested Overseas Maintenance Outside of Singapore Hub

(USNI News) The second Freedom-class Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) has proven so much more reliable than the first that the Navy has been able to experiment with a new expeditionary maintenance model to extend the reach of the ship. 


 
Navy League Sea-Air-Space Exposition
    CNO: Virtual reality training should be for all hands
(Navy Times) The Navy’s top officer said it’s time to bring simulators and virtual reality training to the whole fleet by bringing it to the waterfront. 
 
    Navy Further Extending Life of Already-Extended LCACs Until Replacement Delivers in 2017
(USNI News) The Navy is further extending the life of Landing Craft Air Cushions (LCACs) that have already gone through their Service Life Extension Programs (SLEPs), with the oldest craft set for retirement this year and the replacement not ready for its first delivery until 2017. 
 
    Dunford: Marine Corps Must Strike Readiness Balance
(National Defense) With budgets getting tighter, the Marine Corps is struggling to keep its forces ready for unexpected contingencies, the service’s commandant said April 13. 
 
    New Tech Will Allow Navy To Target with Jamming Pods
(DefenseOne) Electronic warfare pods and faster modems will allow the Navy’s EA-18 Growler to pinpoint insurgents using mobile phones and other communications gear. 
 
    Under Budget Pressure, Sea Services Find Ways to Cut Costs
(National Defense) Greater use of 3D virtual reality and simulations as substitutes for live training also are viewed as money savers. 
 
    Coast Guard Sees Combatting Crime Networks as Key to Hemispheric Security
(Seapower) The U.S. Coast Guard says it’s not enough to seize thousands of pounds of cocaine at sea or even arrest the people transporting illegal drugs by boat. Instead, it’s crucial to defeat the transnational organized crime (TOC) networks behind the illicit commerce in narcotics and people, according to the Coast Guard’s Western Hemisphere Strategy. 
 
    Navy to Deploy First Underwater Drones from Submarines

(Military.com) The deployment will include the use of the Remus 600 Unmanned Underwater Vehicles, or UUVs, performing undersea missions in strategic locations around the globe, Rear Adm. Joseph Tofalo, told Military.com at the Navy League’s Sea Air Space annual symposium at National Harbor, Md. 


 
Air Force
    No help for overworked airmen
(Air Force Times) Reeling from personnel cuts that have left the Air Force in an anorexic state, fewer airmen are doing more work while also juggling professional military education, computer-based training and other requirements that have little to do with their core jobs. 
 
    GAO: Boeing needs to prove KC-46’s ability
(Air Force Times) The Air Force must be confident of the refueling capabilities of its KC-46 next-generation tanker before approving a full production schedule, the Government Accountability Office said in a new report to Congress. 
 
    North Carolina university to work on Air Force drone systems
(News & Record) For nearly three decades, North Carolina A&T State University engineering professor Abdollah Homaifar has worked with robots, drones and other unmanned vehicles. 
 
    Interview: Deborah Lee James
(Defense News) As this year’s National Space Symposium kicks off in Colorado Springs, Colorado, expect much of the focus to be on the ongoing fight for military space launch. With SpaceX expecting certification by June and legacy launch provider United Launch Alliance (ULA) preparing to unveil a new launch vehicle design, the competition between the two companies remains fierce. 
 
    Spencer: Bystanders must step in to stop sexual assault
(Air Force Times) The Air Force has made considerable progress in tackling sexual assault, Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Larry Spencer said – but much more remains to be done. 
 
    U. of Minnesota Duluth students compete to keep servicemembers cool

(Duluth News Tribune) The prototype, called Special Operations Heat Regulation or “SOHR,” has been a year in the making as part of the U.S. Air Force Research Lab’s Student Challenge, meant to tap into engineering students’ solutions to real-world military equipment problems. 


 
Marine Corps
    Marines set for new mission in troubled Central America
(Marine Corps Times) About 250 Marines are preparing to form the U.S. military’s first rapid-response task force to be based in Central America, where they’ll train with local forces battling drug cartels and stand ready to help in the event of hurricanes and other natural disasters.  
 
    Camp Lejeune Marine dies in car accident
(Marine Corps Times) A North Carolina-based Marine was killed in a single-vehicle accident early Friday morning. 
 
    Marine’s widow sues over jail death
(San Diego Union-Tribune) The widow of a Camp Pendleton Marine who committed suicide in the Vista jail is claiming in a lawsuit that the staff was warned that her husband was likely to harm himself but failed to properly monitor him. 
 
    Blue Angels’ first female pilot takes flight
(CBS News) U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Katie Higgins is the first female pilot in the team’s 69-year history. 
 
    Marine shot in back in training accident has ‘a long way to go’ in recovery

(Gloucester (Mass.) Daily Times) Cary’s family members and friends are continuing to coordinate a GoFundMe account aimed at raising money to cover his and his family’s travel expenses and some medical supply costs. 


 
National Guard
    Alaska Air National Guard rescues hikers from glacier

(Air Force Times) The Alaska Air National Guard battled bad weather, low visibility and difficult terrain to finally rescue three hikers on Friday after they had spent five days stranded atop a glacier. 


 
Afghanistan/Pakistan
    Afghanistan rolls out armed MD 530F helos
(IHS Jane’s 360) The Afghan Air Force (AAF) has rolled out into service its newly delivered armed MD Helicopters Inc (MDHI) MD 530F helicopters, the US Department of Defense (DoD) revealed on 10 April. 
 
    Taliban fighters kill 18 Afghan soldiers, beheading eight

(BBC) At least 18 Afghan soldiers have been killed – eight of them beheaded – by Taliban fighters in a major attack in north-east Afghanistan, officials say. 


 
Middle East
    Florida Ex-Senator Pursues Claims of Saudi Ties to Sept. 11 Attacks
(New York Times) The episode could have been a chapter from the thriller written by former Senator Bob Graham of Florida about a shadowy Saudi role in the Sept. 11 attacks. 
 
    Al Qaeda branches eulogize slain Egyptian jihadist
(Long War Journal) Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) have both published eulogies commemorating Hammam Attiyah, an Egyptian who led Ajnad Misr (the Soldiers of Egypt) until his demise earlier this month. 
 
    Iran Says Open To Joint Operations With Afghanistan, Pakistan

(Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty) Iran says it is ready to conduct joint counterterrorism operations with eastern neighbors Afghanistan and Pakistan. 


 
Europe
    Examining the power Russia’s S-300 missile system will give Iran
(Washington Post) The missiles can target aircraft and missiles flying more than 16 miles high, according to specifications published by the American Federation of Scientists. 
 
    Gazprom Warns Europe Over Price of Natural Gas
(New York Times) The head of Gazprom, the Russian energy giant, warned European customers on Monday that if their countries angled for a single price for natural gas, it would most likely be at the higher end of the range they now pay. 
 
    UN Chief Considers 1915 Slaughters Of Armenians ‘Atrocity Crimes’
(Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty) A spokesman for Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has said the UN chief considers the mass killing of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire 100 years ago “atrocity crimes.” 
 
    Influx of Migrants Across Mediterranean Nears Record Levels

(New York Times) With spring barely arrived, the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean is already approaching last year’s record levels after a startling weekend in which more than 5,600 people were rescued from a small armada of smugglers’ wooden and rubber boats. 


 
Asia-Pacific
    Beijing May Have Been Spying on India’s Defense Industry for a Decade
(Quartz) Cyber security firm FireEye said the hackers targeted data on military operations in multiple countries China has territorial disputes with in the South China Sea. 
 
    Former US envoy for North Korea nominated for Thailand ambassadorship
(Bloomberg) President Barack Obama has nominated a former U.S. envoy for North Korea policy, Glyn Davies, as ambassador to Thailand. 
 
    India Makes it Official: The ‘Mother of All Defense Deals’ Is Dead
(The Diplomat) India’s $20 billion medium multi-role combat aircraft tender is no more. 
 
    North Korea’s Foreign Minister Makes Rare Visit to India
(The Diplomat) North Korea’s foreign minister is in New Delhi to discuss the country’s nuclear program and request assistance. 
 
    China releases five women’s rights activists after global uproar
(Washington Post) The detentions had caused outrage and threatened to cast a shadow over President Xi’s September U.S. trip. 
 
    China’s Growing Cyberwar Capabilities

(The Diplomat) A recent attack on GitHub highlights China’s growing expertise – and aggression – in cyberspace. 


 
Africa
    800,000 children forced from homes in Boko Haram violence
(Associated Press) The children’s drawings show men with guns, a coffin, a car exploding. One picture has stick-like figures of eight siblings missed by their teenage sister. 
 
    Voting Opens in Sudan, but Many Are Resigned to Bashir’s Re-election
(New York Times) Amid widespread public apathy and calls for a boycott from opposition groups, polling stations in Sudan opened on Monday for an election that many believe is guaranteed to give President Omar Hassan al-Bashir another five years in office. 
 
    Report: 11 US Ebola treatment centers treated only 28 patients

(Stars & Stripes) Nine of the centers have never seen a single patient, The New York Times reported. 


 
The Americas
    Former Blackwater guards to get lengthy prison sentences for Iraq shootings
(Associated Press) A federal judge sentenced former Blackwater security guard Nicholas Slatten to life in prison and three others to 30-year terms for their roles in a 2007 shooting that killed 14 Iraqi civilians and wounded 17 others. 
 
    Stung by Pope’s Remarks on Armenian Genocide, Turkish Minister Insults Argentina
(New York Times) The latest outraged response came from Volkan Bozkir, Turkey’s minister for European affairs, who significantly upped the ante on his colleagues by suggesting that Argentines as whole, and not just the pope, had been brainwashed by rich and powerful Armenians in their midst. 
 
    NASA plans Va. launch of rocket carrying student experiments
(Associated Press) NASA says the Terrier-Improved Malemute suborbital sounding rocket will carry experiments developed by undergraduate students at Virginia Tech, the University of Colorado, Northwest Nazarene University, the University of Puerto Rico and the University of Nebraska. 
 
    Starting up in Cuba, but not connected

(Washington Post) Raúl Castro’s limited opening for private business has been good for Cubans in physical trades such as shoe repair and plumbing, but the country’s digital laborers are still largely disconnected. 


 
Commentary and Analysis
    This Week, House Will Spend A Low-Profile $96 Billion On Military Wish Lists of Unneeded Weapons
(Charles Tiefer in Forbes) Where is this below-the-radar funding? Excuse a bit of background. The spending cap (policed by “sequestration” across-the-board cuts), inherited from the clash of 2011, sets military spending this year at $523 billion. 
 
    US Hospitals Could Save Billions If They Took This Lesson from the VA
(Kathleen Carey in Quartz) Most hospitals don’t have good ways of measuring the complex costs associated with an individual patient’s stay in the hospital. The VA is one surprising exception. 
 
    4 Reasons I Am Resigning My Commission As A Naval Officer
(Anna Granville, Task & Purpose) I love the Navy, it has been an honor to serve, but I want this incredible organization to be better. 
 
    Editorial: Dangerously overworked
(Air Force Times) “Do more with less” has become the 21st century mantra as technology, coupled with a sluggish economy, has led to personnel cutbacks across industry. And the military. Today, the Air Force is operating with 50,000 fewer airmen than 10 years ago. 
 
    How the US and India Can Collaborate in Afghanistan
(Jack Detsch, The Diplomat) A new CFR memo calls for an inclusive American policy in the country. Executing that plan could prove tricky. 
 
    Why An “Economic” Approach to Foreign Policy Fails
(Adam Elkus in War On The Rocks) New York University business professor Daniel Altman has a beef with U.S. foreign policy. It’s wasteful, inefficient, and haphazard. 
 
    Setting the record straight on Vietnam War’s end (I): Some false assumptions
(Arnold R. Isaacs in Foreign Policy) Who lost the Vietnam war? Forty years after the event, the facts on that question have been increasingly challenged by a series of myths. 
 
    Wounded Warriors, Wounded Nation
(Emmet Meagher in Cicero Magazine) We as a nation find ourselves caught and confused in a tunneled maze of violence with no way out, waging what has been aptly called a “forever war.” Reluctantly, we suspect that Euripides got it right when he put these words into the mouth of war-weary Hecuba, queen mother of Troy: “No more can be hoped for, by anyone in any life, than to elude ruin one day at a time.” 
 
    A Global Consensus on Cyber Security Is Gaining Momentum
(Camino Kavanagh in Council on Foreign Relations) Here’s what to look for in two meetings that will explore how states with limited capacity can draw upon technologically sophisticated countries. 
 
    Now the Czechs Have an Oligarch Problem, Too
(Ola Cichowlas and Andrew Foxall in Foreign Policy) How the rise of a powerful businessman threatens to undermine democratic institutions in the heart of Europe. 
 
    5 Feelings Of Self-Doubt That Make Success After The Military More Difficult
(Chad Storlie in Task & Purpose) You can end up being your own worst enemy; don’t let these insecurities hold you back. 
 
    Don’t Write Taiwan’s Air Force Off Just Yet
(Michal Thim and Liao Yen-Fan, The Diplomat) Taiwan needs anti-access strategy, but it also needs an air force to complement it. 
 
    Focusing Like a Laser Beam on Directed Energ
(Jason Ellis in War On The Rocks) Advocates have long argued that directed energy weapons – including high energy lasers, high power microwaves, and other radiofrequency technologies – may carry substantial operational advantages for U.S. forces. 
 
    3 Things Military Wives And Husbands Can Do To Secure Their Finances
(Emma Johnson in Forbes) Despite the many health, income and retirement benefits afforded veterans, the immediate families of enlisted soldiers’ spouses are especially vulnerable financially. 
 
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