WHY WAIT? House Democrats are already taking aim at President Trump’s proposed federal budget for fiscal year 2021, even before it is formally delivered to the U.S. Capitol this morning.
“Unfortunately, we expect this budget to include the same destructive and irrational cuts the President has floated in previous years,” said a statement from the Democrat-controlled House Budget Committee. “From attacks on health care and vital programs, to undermining investments in our national security and further destabilizing our long-term fiscal health.”
SPOILING FOR A FIGHT: Time was the Congress would brush off the President’s version of the budget as a fanciful wish list, and declare it dead on arrival. After all, as the old saw goes, “The president proposes, Congress disposes.”
Not this time. Citing what it called Trump’s “willingness to circumvent the legislative branch and force harmful policy changes through litigation, regulation, and administrative action,” the Budget Committee, chaired by Kentucky Democrat John Yarmuth, says it is on “high alert following the Trump Administration’s brazen attacks on Congress’ power of the purse and flagrant violations of the Impoundment Control Act.”
With Trump already planning more reprogramming of Pentagon funds to build more border wall, the committee says his proposed spending plan should be viewed “as a roadmap for what this Administration will try to pull off – with or without Congress.”
PLENTY TO FIGHT ABOUT: The Pentagon’s topline of $740 billion is already set under the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2019 signed into law by Trump six months ago, which puts in place a two-year budget plan covering 2020 and 2021.
What the Democrats fear is that Trump will honor the agreement on money for the military, while seeking deep cuts in non-defense spending, as he tries to find a way to bring the budget into balance over a 15 year period.
Yarmuth will brief reporters on his initial reaction to the budget at 3 p.m. today, and tomorrow the full committee will hear from acting OMB Director Russell Vought at 10 a.m.
NUKES GET BIG BOOST: Trump’s 2021 budget will propose $28.9 billion to modernize nuclear delivery systems and another $19.8 billion for the National Nuclear Security Administration, reports Axios, citing “people familiar with the budget request.”
The request is a nearly 20% increase over last year’s budget request, and priorities a program that would overhaul and replace America’s aging Cold War-era nuclear arsenals will new submarines, long-range bombers, and ground-based missiles.
MULLEN’S WARNING: Former Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen has written the House and Senate leaders of both parties urging full funding for the International Affairs Budget, which he argues “is essential to keeping America safe in a complicated and dangerous world.”
Today’s budget submission is expected to call for cutting America’s civilian footprint around the world by nearly a quarter.
“Resources to address urgent global challenges from pandemic threats to food insecurity … has paid off in lives saved, crises averted, and, in the long run, peace and prosperity achieved,” Mullen said in his letter.
At the bottom of the letter, Mullen added a handwritten postscript, “The more we cut the International Affairs Budget, the higher the risk for longer and deadlier military operations.”
OR WE’LL NEED MORE BULLETS: Mullen’s plea echoes the oft-cited quote from former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, who when he was still in uniform as U.S. Central Commander told Congress in 2013: “If you don’t fund the State Department fully, then I need to buy more ammunition ultimately.”
“So I think it’s a cost-benefit ratio,” Mattis said. “The more that we put into the State Department’s diplomacy, hopefully the less we have to put into a military budget as we deal with the outcome of an apparent American withdrawal from the international scene.”
Good Monday morning and welcome to Jamie McIntyre’s Daily on Defense, written and compiled by Washington Examiner National Security Senior Writer Jamie McIntyre (@jamiejmcintyre) and edited by Susan Katz Keating (@SKatzKeating). Email here with tips, suggestions, calendar items, and anything else. Sign up or read current and back issues at DailyonDefense.com. If signing up doesn’t work, shoot us an email and we’ll add you to our list. And be sure to follow us on Twitter: @dailyondefense.
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HAPPENING TODAY: Here’s the schedule for today’s press briefings on the FY 2021 defense budget. All five briefings will be conducted in the Pentagon briefing room, and streamed live on https://www.defense.gov
1:30 p.m. Defense Department — Acting Pentagon Comptroller Elaine McCusker and Vice Adm. Ron Boxall, director, Force Structure, Resources and Assessment, Joint Staff.
2:20 p.m. Army — Maj. Gen. Paul Chamberlain, director for Army budget for the assistant secretary of the Army for financial management and comptroller
3:10 p.m. Navy — Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Budget Rear Adm. Randy Crites.
4 p.m. Air Force — Deputy Assistant Secretary for Budget, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Financial Management and Comptroller Maj. Gen. John Pletcher.
4:50 p.m. Missile Defense Agency — Vice Adm. Jon Hill, director, Missile Defense Agency; and Michelle C. Atkinson, director for operations, Missile Defense Agency.
SNEAK ATTACK KILLS US SPECIAL FORCES: Two U.S. Army Green Berets were killed and six other American troops wounded Saturday in Afghanistan, when an attacker dressed as a member of the Afghan security forces opened fire on U.S. special operations troops as leaving a compound in eastern Afghanistan.
“Upon completing a key-leader engagement at the district center, current reports indicate an individual in an Afghan uniform opened fire on the combined U.S. and Afghan force with a machine gun,” said Col. Sonny Leggett, a spokesman for U.S. Forces-Afghanistan, in a statement provided to the Washington Examiner. “We are still collecting information and the cause or motive behind the attack is unknown at this time,” he said.
The Afghanistan Ministry of Defense reported that one member of the Afghan National Army was also killed and three others wounded in the attack, which is now under investigation by both the U.S. and Afghanistan.
“Incidents such as this fail to have negative effects on the friendship and spirit of cooperation and between the ANDSF and U.S Military forces,” said the MoD in a statement “We will continue our fight against terrorism together.”
SOLDIERS ID’D: The Pentagon has identified the fallen troops as Sgt. 1st Class Javier Jaguar Gutierrez, 28, of San Antonio, Texas; and Sgt. 1st Class Antonio Rey Rodriguez, 28, of Las Cruces, New Mexico. Both were Green Berets assigned to 3rd Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne), Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, and both received posthumous promotions.
Last year in Afghanistan 23 U.S. troops died, 21 in combat and two in what was described by the Pentagon as “non-combat incidents,” according to a count by the Washington Examiner. So far this year four U.S. troops have died — two in the incident Saturday, and two 82nd Airborne soldiers who were killed Jan. 11, when a roadside bomb struck their vehicle while on patrol.
WELCOME BACK COL. VINDMAN: Defense Secretary Mark Esper says Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, will be protected from any retaliation, despite his unceremonious dismissal from his assignment as Ukraine expert on the National Security Council.
“We welcome back all of our servicemembers, wherever they serve, to any assignment they’re given,” Esper said at Pentagon news conference Friday. “And as I said, we protect all of our persons — servicemembers from retribution or anything — anything like that.”
‘INSUBORDINATE, PROBLEMS WITH JUDGMENT’: Trump took to twitter Saturday to defend his decision to send Vindman and his twin brother packing, after Vindman testified against Trump in the House impeachment inquiry.
“Actually, I don’t know him, never spoke to him, or met him (I don’t believe!) but, he was very insubordinate, reported contents of my “perfect” calls incorrectly,” Trump tweeted, adding that Vindman “was given a horrendous report by his superior, the man he reported to, who publicly stated that Vindman had problems with judgement, adhering to the chain of command and leaking information. In other words, ‘OUT.’”
THE REACTION: Democrats immediately rushed to Vindman’s defense portraying him as an American hero who was being punished for telling the truth under oath.
“Once again, President Trump is trying to run our country like it’s the mob – with a cult-like allegiance to an individual based on fear, and an aversion to the rules outlined in law,” said Rep. Adam Smith, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. “Vindman should return to his Army service with his head held high,” Smith said in a statement. “He is the embodiment of the Army’s core values of loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity, and personal courage.”
“Presidents have the power to make personnel decisions, but President Trump’s personal insecurities and vindictiveness are making our nation less secure,” said Sen. Jack Reed, ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. “Our uniformed military officers, diplomatic personnel, and civilians who serve on the National Security Council and in the Executive Branch work for the President, but they also have a duty to serve the best interests of the nation. They must speak up when they see someone do wrong, even if that person is their boss. Especially if that person is their boss.”
“This is a petulant president who continues to purge national security professionals. He’s on his sixth national security advisor in three years,” said Reed. “This is a dangerous moment for our democracy and the non-partisan institutions charged with defending it and upholding the law.”
— Science Applications International Corp has agreed to acquire Unisys Federal, in an all-cash transaction valued at $1.2 billion. It is the second large acquisition by the Reston, Va-based SAIC which a year ago completed a $2.5 billion merger with Engility Holdings, Inc.
The moves are designed to position the company leading provider of cloud migration services for the federal government, as the Pentagon is expanding cloud computing technology, said SAIC chief executive Nazzic Keene in a recent interview.
— Raytheon is partnering with U.S. Air Force on a prototype system to manage the massive amounts of satellite data, as part of a $197 million contract to upgrade the service’s missile-warning architecture, the company has announced.
“The U.S. has more than 350 satellites in space right now, doing everything from monitoring weather patterns, providing GPS signals, collecting intelligence and relaying communications,” said Ted Glusko, vice president for C2, Space and Intelligence at Raytheon. “We need to make sure we’re able to make use of all the information those satellites are collecting.”
“The Future Operationally Resilient Ground Evolution Mission Data Processing Application Framework — FORGE MDPAF for short — will process Overhead Persistent Infrared satellite data from both the U.S. Air Force’s evolving Space Based Infrared System constellation and the future Next Gen OPIR constellation, as well as be capable of processing data from other civil and environmental sensors,” said Raytheon in announcing the contract.
Washington Examiner: ‘It depends’: Buttigieg and Biden demur on Soleimani killing
Washington Examiner: Some troops deployed amid Iran tensions are coming back to US, families told
Washington Examiner: ‘End that son of a bitch’: Philippine president says he will scrap military pact with US
Military.com: Esper Presses Congress to Bulk Up Next Military Budget
Bloomberg: U.S. Navy’s Ship Spending Plan Cut by $4 Billion in Trump Budget
Military.com: Navy Sets Date For Crucial Hypersonic Weapons Flight Test
Defense News: The U.S. Navy’s Vaunted Deployment Plan Is Showing Cracks Everywhere
Washington Post: Afghan forces are claiming victory in some Taliban-controlled areas. Civilians say they’re still in danger.
AP: Iran again fails to put satellite into orbit amid US worries
Breaking Defense: Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne To Fly DoD Sats By Year End
AP: Air Force suicides surged last year to highest in 3 decades
Washington Post: Trump administration considers suspending humanitarian assistance to Yemen amid new rebel restrictions
Washington Post: Trump ramps up border-wall construction ahead of 2020 vote
Task & Purpose: Here’s why budget day at the Pentagon is better than sex
MONDAY| FEBRUARY 10
8 a.m. 210 Cannon — The White House Office of Management and Budget officially delivers President Trump’s FY 2021 federal budget request to the House Budget Committee. https://budget.house.gov/
8 a.m. 7525 Colshire Drive, McLean, Va. — Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association Army Cloud and Data Colloquium, with Army CIO Lt. Gen. Bruce Crawford; Army Deputy CIO Greg Garcia, chief data officer of the Army; Priya Raman, chief data analytics officer at Microsoft, and Air Force Deputy CIO Bill Marion. https://www.afcea.org/calendar/event
1:30 p.m. Pentagon Briefing Room 2E973 — The Department of Defense conducts five separate briefings on the president’s FY 2021 defense budget, with acting Pentagon Comptroller Elaine McCusker; Vice Adm. Ron Boxall, director, Force Structure, Resources and Assessment; Joint Staff; Maj. Gen. Paul Chamberlain, director for Army budget; Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Budget Rear Adm. Randy Crites; Air Force Deputy Assistant Secretary for Budget, Maj. Gen. John Pletcher; Vice Adm. Jon Hill, director, Missile Defense Agency; and Michelle Atkinson, director for operations, Missile Defense Agency. Live stream at https://www.defense.gov
1 p.m. 1030 15th St. N.W. — Atlantic Council discussion on “Forging the Army’s Future,” focusing on “reinventing innovation in the Army,” with Gen. John Murray, commanding general of the U.S. Army Futures Command. https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/event
4 p.m. 1521 16th St. N.W. — The Institute of World Politics lecture “Influencing a Wired World with Cyber Intelligence,” with Peter Debbins, area studies and hybrid warfare instructor for the U.S. European Command and NATO. https://www.iwp.edu/events
TUESDAY | FEBRUARY 11
8 a.m. 2168 Rayburn — Amphibious Warship Industrial Base Coalition Congressional forum on the importance of the U.S. Navy’s amphibious warships, with Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger; Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wisc; Rep. Rob Wittman R-Va.; Rep. Gil Cisneros D-Calif.; Rep. Jack Bergman, R-Mich; moderated by retired Rear Adm. Sam Perez. https://amphibiouswarship.org/congressional-forum
8 a.m. 400 Courthouse Sq., Alex., Va.— Access Intelligence LLC’s ExchangeMonitor Publications and Forums 2020 Nuclear Deterrence Summit, with Charles Verdon, deputy administrator for defense programs at the National Nuclear Security Administration; NNSA Administrator Lisa Gordon-Hagerty (via video); James McConnell, associate administrator for safety, infrastructure and operations at NNSA. https://www.deterrencesummit.com/
9 a.m. 1616 Rhode Island Ave. N.W. — Center for Strategic and International Studies discussion on “People’s Republic of China (PRC) Interference in Taiwan’s Elections,” with Taiwan Minister without Portfolio Audrey Tang. http://www.csis.org
9:30 a.m. G50, Dirksen — Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on “United States strategy in Afghanistan,” with retired Gen. Jack Keane, chairman, Institute for the Study of War, and former Army Vice Chief of Staff; Colin Jackson, professor, strategy and policy department, Naval War College, former deputy assistant secretary of defense for Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Central Asia; retired Army Brig. Gen. Kimberly Field, executive director, Albritton Center for Grand Strategy, Bush School of Government and Public Service, former senior adviser to the commander, Operation Resolute Support. https://www.armed-services.senate.gov/hearings
11 a.m. 1740 Massachusetts Ave. N.W. — Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies hosts SAIS Philip Merrill Center for Strategic Studies and Duke University’s Program in American Grand Strategy 2020 conference on civil-military relations, “Reflections on Civil-Military Relations: Crises, Comparisons, & Paradoxes.” https://www.eventbrite.com
12 p.m. 1740 Massachusetts Ave. N.W. — Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies 2020 Conference on Civil-Military Relations. https://sais.jhu.edu/campus-events
2 p.m. 2118 Rayburn — House Armed Services Subcommittee on Intelligence and Emerging Threats and Capabilities hearing on “Reviewing Department of Defense Strategy, Policy, and Programs for Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction for Fiscal Year 2021,” with Al Shaffer, deputy undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment and acting assistant secretary of defense for nuclear, chemical and biological defense programs; Theresa Whelan, principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for homeland defense and global security; Vice Adm. Timothy Szymanski, deputy commander, U.S. Special Operations Command, and Vayl Oxford, director, Defense Threat Reduction Agency. https://armedservices.house.gov/hearings
2:30 p.m. 2212 Rayburn — House Armed Services Subcommittee on Military Personnel hearing:on “Alarming Incidents of White Supremacy in the Military — How to Stop It?” with Heidi Beirich, co-founder and chief strategy officer Global Project Against Hate and Extremism; Mark Pitcavage, senior research fellow, Center on Extremism Anti-Defamation League; Lecia Brooks, chief workplace transformation officer Southern Poverty Law Center; Garry Reid, director for Defense Intelligence Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence; Stephanie Miller, director, Accessions Policy Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness; Joe Ethridge, chief, criminal intelligence division U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command; Christopher McMahon, executive assistant director, National Security Directorate Naval Criminal Investigative Service; and Robert Grabosky, deputy director, AFOSI Law Enforcement U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations. https://armedservices.house.gov/hearings
6 p.m. 1030 15th St. N.W. — Atlantic Council discussion “The View from the West Wing,” with national security adviser, Robert O’Brien; and Frederick Kempe, president and CEO of the Atlantic Council. https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/event
WEDNESDAY | FEBRUARY 12
All Day Brussels, Belgium — Defense Secretary Mark Esper attends meeting of the North Atlantic Council at the level of Defense Ministers at the NATO Headquarters, chaired by the NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg https://www.nato.int
9:30 a.m. 1501 Lee Hwy. Arl, — Air Force Association’s Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies discussion on “An Operational Assessment of the U.S. Air Force, with Lt. Gen. Mark Kelly, Air Force deputy chief of staff for operations. Register at http://events.r20.constantcontact.com
10 a.m. 210 Cannon — House Budget Committee hearing lon President Trump’s FY 2021 budget request, with Russell Vought, acting director of the Office of Management and Budget. https://budget.house.gov/legislation/hearings
10:15 a.m. 419 Dirksen — Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on U.S.-Libya Policy, with testimony from David Schenker, assistant Secretary Of State, Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs; and Christopher Robinson, deputy assistant Secretary of State, Bureau Of European And Eurasian Affairs. https://www.foreign.senate.gov/hearings
2:30 p.m. 2212 Rayburn — House Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness hearing on “Land Based Ranges: Building Military Readiness While Protecting Natural and Cultural Resources,” with Jordan Gillis, principal deputy assistant secretary of the Army for energy, installations, and environment; Todd Mellon, principal deputy assistant secretary of the Navy for energy, installations, and environment; and Jennifer Miller, principal deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force for energy installations, and environment. https://armedservices.house.gov/hearings
3 p.m. 1030 15th St. N.W. — Atlantic Council discussion on a new report, “What do we Know About Cyber Escalation?: Observations from Simulations and Surveys,” with Erica Borghard, assistant professor in the U.S. Military Academy’s Army Cyber Institute; Aaron Brantly, assistant professor in Virginia Tech’s Center for National Security and Technology; Benjamin Jensen, professor of strategic studies at Marine Corps University; and Brandon Valeriano, senior fellow at the Cato Institute. https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/event
3:30 p.m. —1030 15th St. N.W. — Atlantic Council discussion on “Everything You Know About Ukraine is Wrong,” with Yevhen Hlibovytsky, partner at Pro Mova; and Melinda Haring, deputy director of the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center. https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/event
8 p.m. EST University of Texas at San Antonio — Council on Foreign Relations Election 2020 U.S. Foreign Policy Forum, with former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson; former national security adviser Stephen Hadley; former Assistant Defense Secretary for International Security Affairs Mary Beth Long;; Margaret Talev, White House and politics editor at Axios; and Richard Haass, president of CFR. Livestream at https://www.cfr.org/event
THURSDAY | FEBRUARY 13
All Day Brussels, Belgium — Day two of NATO Defense ministerial at NATO Headquarters, with U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. https://www.nato.int
9 a.m. — Access Intelligence LLC’s ExchangeMonitor Publications and Forums Nuclear Deterrence Summit, with Alan Shaffer, deputy defense undersecretary for acquisition and sustainment; and Dimitri Kusnezov, deputy energy undersecretary for artificial intelligence. https://www.deterrencesummit.com
9:30 a.m. G50, Dirksen — Senate Armed Services Committee hears testimony from U.S. Northern Commander Gen. Terrence O’Shaughnessy and U.S. Strategic Commander Adm. Charles Richard on the defense authorization request for Fiscal Year 2021 and the future years defense program. https://www.armed-services.senate.gov/hearings
11:40 a.m. 1700 Army Navy Dr., Arl.— Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association luncheon discussion, with Paul Puckett, director of the Army’s Enterprise Cloud Management Office; Army Col. Elizabeth “Liz” Casley, chief of staff at the Army Futures Command’s Network Cross Functional Team; and Anthony Robbins, president of AFCEA Washington, D.C. and vice president for the North America public sector at NVIDIA https://dcevents.afceachapters.org/february2020
12 p.m. 1203 Van Munching Hall, College Park, Md. — University of Maryland’s Center for International and Security Studies forum on “Innovation and Its Discontents: National Models of Military Innovation and the Dual-Use Conundrum,” with Amy Nelson, research fellow at the National Defense University’s Center for the Study of Weapons of Mass Destruction. https://cissm.umd.edu/events
FRIDAY | FEBRUARY 14
All Day, Munich, Germany — Defense Secretary Mark Esper attends the 56th Munich Security Conference will take place at Hotel Bayerischer Hof Friday through Saturday. https://securityconference.org/en/msc-2020
12:30 p.m. 14th and F Sts. N.W. — National Press Club newsmaker luncheon address with Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy. https://www.press.org/events/headliners
WEDNESDAY | MARCH 4
9 a.m. 1300 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W. — McAleese Defense Programs Conference. Register at firstname.lastname@example.org
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“Budget day is a smorgasbord of figures that have little bearing on reality because lawmakers will end up rewriting the budget to reward their constituents. Defense officials also spend hours speaking in tongues by using arcane acronyms like ‘POM.’”
Jeff Schogol, defense reporter for Task & Purpose, previewing budget day at the Pentagon.