August 18, 2019

$738B for DoD Not Enough, Says GOP

DoD

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Budget deal gives a big funding boost to defense, reports Military Times, but not as much as congressional Republicans wanted. The nearly $1.4 trillion spending plan — which would prevent a government shutdown this fall and do away with the final two years of budget caps known as sequestration — includes about $738 billion in military funding for fiscal 2020, a 3 percent increase from current year levels, reports Defense News.

The Senate voted 90 to 8 to confirm Mark Esper, President Donald Trump’s DefSec nominee, giving the Pentagon a permanent leader for the first time in nearly seven months, reports Politico.

South Korea fires warning shots at Russia warplanes, reports The Associated Press. Three Russian military planes initially entered South Korea’s air defense identification zone off its east coast before one of them entered the country’s territorial sky, the South’s defense ministry said.

About 3 million more people to get military shopping benefits in 2020, reports Military Times. Starting Jan. 1, all service-connected disabled veterans, Purple Heart recipients, former prisoners of war, and primary veteran caregivers will be eligible to shop at commissaries and exchanges.

White House officials are pushing for a permanent cease-fire between Taliban troops and Afghanistan security forces. Hopeful that Pakistan can help make it happen, Military Times reports, Pakistan leader’s visit to the White House is seen as key step in the Afghanistan mission.

As US officials continue talks with the Taliban to negotiate a peace deal and withdraw American troops from the country, President Trump says he has a plan to win the Afghanistan war in 10 days, reports Military Times.

Internal report exposes cocaine abuse and lax testing, inside SEAL Team 10, reports Navy Times. Before they were caught last year, several SEAL Team 10 special warfare operators snorted cocaine or spiked their booze with the banned substance, often defeating military drug tests they termed “a joke,” according to the report.

The US Air Force’s top general does not rule out the possibility that US F-35s could operate from Turkey, Defense News reports, despite an ongoing feud between Washington and Ankara about Turkey’s purchase of a Russian air-defense system, he said in an exclusive July 20 interview.

Britain announced plans this week to develop and deploy a Europe-led mission to protect vital shipping in the Strait of Hormuz in response to Iran’s seizure of a British-flagged tanker in the waterway, reports Military Times.

Public confidence in the military is high, among the most trusted institutions in the US, especially among older generations, reports Military Times.

If confirmed as DefSec, Mark Esper plans to reform the DoD’s Fourth Estate, the 27 agencies that provide business tasks for the war fighter. The Fourth Estate encompasses organizations in the Pentagon which are not formal part of military departments. The list includes the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Defense Information Systems Agency, the Missile Defense Agency, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, and the National Reconnaissance Office. A September 2018 report from the Government Accountability Office estimated that 27 agencies included in the Fourth Estate have an annual budget of at least $106 billion.

The Navy plans to commission its new littoral combat ship Indianapolis at a northwestern Indiana port this fall, reports Navy Times.

These Marines are becoming crack shots thanks to robot targets that move like humans, reports Military.com. At 2nd Marine Division in North Carolina, troops who have spent their careers shooting at static bull’s-eyes on paper are being forced to adapt to a new kind of target — one that can charge at them, move in unexpected directions, respond when engaged, and even shout at them in a foreign language.

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