1. Defense Budget
After years of not preparing for mandated sequestration spending cuts, the Pentagon is now incorporating different levels of budget reductions in its future planning.
US Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, in a May 29 memo to senior defense officials, told the services to prepare for three different scenarios for fiscal 2015: one that reflects President Barack
Obama's fiscal 2014 budget proposal, a second that is 5 percent less and a third that is 10 percent less. "[W]e do need to develop options in the event that fiscal realities differ from the funding level in the President's budget," Carter said.
The 10 percent cut would reflect the impact of full sequestration, which is roughly a $500 billion reduction over a 10-year period beginning in 2013. while the 5 percent reduction reflects roughly half.
In April, the Pentagon sent Congress a budget proposal for fiscal 2014 that was $52 billion above the sequestration spending cap. At the time, Pentagon officials said the White House had not directed them to plan for sequestration.
Now the services are being asked "to develop options" for reductions to the 2014 budget proposal as well.
The first is a 10 percent across-the-board cut and the second is a 10 percent reduction to DoD's $527 billion requested top line that allows flexibility to move money around accounts.
Carter also told officials that DoD might have to prepare for a 5 percent budget cut in 2014.
For the past two months, DoD has been conducting the Strategic Choices Management Review (SCMR), which was designed to factor in defense wide budget cuts at three levels — $100 billion, $300 billion and $500 billion — over the next decade. The review has been proceeding on schedule.
The SCMR project is designed to look at ways to modify DoD's military strategy to accommodate various levels of budget cuts.
As DoD looks to make these types of budget cuts, four Washington think tanks — the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA), Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), Center for New American Security (CNAS) and American Enterprise Institute (AEI) — have recommended areas to cut, while looking to maintain DoD's existing military strategy.
Using a scoring tool developed by CSBA, teams from each think tank made trade-offs among different capabilities to meet spending targets.
To achieve similar budget cut levels described in Carter's memo, each team called for large-scale personnel cuts to meet spending caps at the half and full sequestration levels.
Under full sequestration, each team made significant cuts to readiness; under half sequestration, all of the teams restored or significantly reduced those cuts.
Each team supported reductions in the military's air capabilities, specifically calling for broad reductions of non-stealthy fighter and attack aircraft. Aside from AEI, the other three think tanks called for plus-ups of stealthy unmanned aircraft.
Under full sequestration, three of the four think tanks called for reductions to the Air Force's bomber inventory. But three of four also said that could allow a plus-up for a new stealthy bomber.
All recommended cuts to the Navy's fleet of carriers, cruisers and destroyers under full sequestration.
CNAS, CSIS and CSBA also called for increasing spending on space and cyber activities.
Related Resolution: No. 55: Protecting the Defense Budget http://archive.legion.org/bitstream/handle/123456789/2316/2012F055.pdf?s... 
2. Cyber Threat
The devastatingly destructive potential of cyber attacks has become the security challenge of our age, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told U.S. troops here yesterday.
Hagel stopped in Hawaii on the first leg of a trip that also will take him to Singapore and Brussels, Belgium. The secretary stood in a hangar at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam with an F-22 Raptor fighter jet behind him and about 200 service members in front, representing the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, National Guard and Coast Guard.
Hagel thanked the troops for their service, offered a few remarks and took their questions, one of which centered on cyber security. The secretary noted cyber is "one of the very few items" pegged to receive more money in the current budget request now before Congress.
"Cyber warfare capabilities: we are increasing that part of the budget significantly," he said, noting that means the department can devote more people and more sophisticated approaches to defending U.S. networks and information.
Hagel said interconnected cyber efforts across government also will grow. U.S law enforcement agencies, the National Security Agency, U.S. Cyber Command and the Department of Homeland Security all work together on the issue, he noted. He added that allied contributions also are key to the fight.
"We live in a world -- and you all know this -- where one country's just not big enough ... [or] wealthy enough to handle it all," he said. "Can't do it -- especially cyber."
Cyber attacks are a fundamentally different threat because, with no shots fired, they potentially can disrupt utilities, banking, business and military networks, yet remain essentially untraceable to a country or an agent of origin, the secretary noted.
"Cyber is one of those quiet, deadly, insidious unknowns you can't see," Hagel added. "It's in the ether -- it's not one big navy sailing into a port, or one big army crossing a border, or squadrons of fighter planes. ... This is a very difficult, but real and dangerous, threat. There is no higher priority for our country than this issue."
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3. Officials Reaffirm DOD's Commitment to Fighting Sexual Assault
At an open house marking the Defense Department's launch of a new peer-support service for sexual assault victims, senior Pentagon officials today reaffirmed the department's commitment to eradicating sexual assault in the military.
The Defense Department has joined with a private organization to launch the DOD Safe Help Room -- a private online chat room for service members and military families to seek help following an assault. The new service gives victims and survivors access to chats with their peers, through an agreement with the nonprofit Rape, Incest and Abuse National Network.
"Sexual assault is a crime DOD will not tolerate," said Jessica L. Wright, acting undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness and a 35-year military veteran. "Our service members sign up to protect the United States, and they have to feel safe within our ranks. "I know what it's like to be asked to do risky things, and we don't want to put our service members at risk as they're doing [their jobs]."
From the newest private to the secretary of defense and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff "and everybody in between," Wright said, we've locked arms against this crime, and we will work diligently to eradicate it from our ranks."
Eliminating sexual assault from the military will require a culture change, said Army Maj. Gen. Gary S. Patton, director of the Defense Department's sexual assault prevention and response office, known as SAPRO. A society that doesn't tolerate sexual assault is one where people are treated with dignity and respect, and where victims know they'll be treated with privacy and sensitivity, the general said. "And offenders will know they will be found and held accountable as appropriate," he added.
Patton said "assessing ourselves" is a priority in combating sexual assault, to ensure that programs and policies work. "SAPRO and RAINN are working together in prevention, investigation, accountability, victim support and assessment," he said.
"We see ourselves as a national leader in sexual assault, its prevention and response," Patton said. "Part of being a national leader is innovation, and the innovation you see today with the mobile app, the safe help room -- the first of its kind with a peer-to-peer, secure venue where victims of sexual assault -- can chat in a closely moderated and very professional chat room."
At today's event, RAINN's Kimberly "Toni" Korol-Evans received the 2013 award for Safe Helpline Operator of the Year for her work with DOD victims and survivors.
Wright told the audience of victim advocates, judge advocates general and sexual assault response coordinators that the work they do for sexual assault victims and survivors is noble.
"What you really do is save lives, through your compassion and concern. The Safe Helpline and the chat room are safe, secure and private, and that's what these victims of this horrendous crime need as they go through this support system," she added.
The advocates help to turn survivors around so they can lead a prosperous life after they've gone through such a tragic, emotional and physical violent act, Wright said.
Resolution No. 9: Secretary of Defense Directive for a Zero-Tolerance Policy on Sexual
1. U.S. – Mexico Border Security
On May 2, President Obama traveled to Mexico City to meet with President Enrique Pena Nieto. The Presidents reaffirmed their commitment to improving the lives of all citizens in both our countries, building upon our deep ties, and working with mutual respect and mutual responsibility across a broad range of issues. These include our economic relationship, clean energy, and climate change, building a 21ST century border, education, and our security cooperation. In this context, President Obama emphasized our co-responsibility for the violence associated with the illicit flows of drugs, guns and cash. Merida Initiative
When President Bush announced the Merida Initiative in 2007, it was a partnership among the governments of the United States, Mexico, and the countries of Central America. Its goal was to confront the violent transnational gangs and organized crime syndicates that plague the entire region and directly undermine U.S. security interests. In time, we broadened our focus to include the Caribbean under the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI) and we strengthened our Central America efforts through the Central America Regional Security Initiative (CARSI). We are focusing on ways to improve citizen safety throughout the hemisphere—something consistently ranked high among societal concerns in all countries of the region. Our efforts to advance security, the rule of law, and social and economic development in Colombia continue.
In this comprehensive, whole-of-government approach, we have developed a consistent strategic vision, with a series of supporting documents through which we implement our security engagement in the Western Hemisphere. The National Drug Control Strategy, coordinated by the Office of National Drug Control Policy, serves as the United States government's multiyear interagency strategy to address narcotics. The essential core of this strategy, as well as that of the National Strategy to Combat Transnational Organized Crime, is to enhance the citizen security apparatuses of our partners throughout the hemisphere in a coordinated effort to institutionalize the rule of law agencies and offices, while empowering average citizens to collaborate with police, prosecutors, and judges, as well as teachers, community activists, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and human rights advocates. Our principal mechanisms for implementing this strategic vision are the four mutually reinforcing rule of law, citizen security initiatives: the Colombian Strategic Development Initiative, the Merida Initiative, CARSI, and CBSI.
We have grounded our initiatives in this common strategic vision and coordinated through interagency meetings and working groups that ensure comprehensive and coherent planning and implementation. One coordination mechanism we employ is the Executive Committee for citizen security in the Western Hemisphere, which I chair. This interagency group includes all interagency stakeholders in each of the initiatives. I bring us together quarterly to discuss lessons learned, opportunities for enhanced implementation, and opportunities for coordination across the initiatives. Sub-regional groups meet more frequently to work on planning and coordination issues. I should add that while I have only held this position since last year, it was through the foresight and constructive contribution of the U.S. Congress that this senior-level coordinating role was envisioned in 2010.
The Merida Initiative, now exclusive to Mexico and the United States, is based on the recognition that our countries share responsibility for combating transnational criminal networks and protecting our citizens from the crime, corruption, and violence they generate. We have based this initiative on mutual respect, and it reflects our understanding of the tremendous benefits derived from this collaboration. In other words, neither country can "solve" the problem of transnational criminal organization trafficking and crime alone. We have forged strong partnerships to improve civilian security in affected areas to fight drug trafficking, organized crime, corruption, illicit arms trafficking, money laundering, and demand for drugs on both sides of the border.
The four pillars that the United States and Mexico agreed to in 2010, and that presidents Obama and Pena Nieto confirmed as recently as President Obama's recent trip to Mexico City remain our flexible organizing construct:
1) Disrupting the operational capacity of organized criminal groups;
2) Institutionalizing reforms to sustain rule of law and respect for human rights;
3) Creating a 21st century border; and
4) Building strong and resilient communities.
Under these pillars, we are accelerating our efforts to support more capable institutions – especially police, justice systems, and civil society organizations; expanding our border focus beyond interdiction of contraband to include facilitation of legitimate trade and travel; and cooperating in building strong communities resistant to the influence of organized crime, with a focus on the youth population.
The U.S. government promotes respect for human rights through our Merida Initiative and other programming in Mexico. The Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement (INL) trains Mexican state and municipal police officers and state prosecutors on gender-based violence. INL also supported a Department of Justice project to provide training and technical assistance to law enforcement, prosecutors, and judges to combat violence against women and children. The Department of Defense includes modules on human rights in all mobile training events conducted through USNORTHCOM which address issues such as torture and the appropriate use of lethal force. They also bring Mexican officers to the United States for specialized training on human rights and use staff Judge Advocates to teach classes in Mexico on human rights and the Law of Armed Conflict. In 2012, USAID launched a distance-education Master's degree program on human rights and security in partnership with the Mexican Federal Police, and the first 300 students are about to graduate. USAID is poised to launch an on-line certificate course in human rights expected to reach 590 federal police and is in the process of developing human rights training videos for the federal police.
2. Iranian Sanctions
If U.S. and European nuclear negotiators hoped a more tractable government would emerge in Iran after presidential elections in June, those hopes have faded. Election authorities have disqualified two maverick candidates; the remaining eight are in the conservative camp of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Under Khamenei, Iran has shown limited interest in multilateral negotiations to restrict its nuclear program. Meanwhile, according to a new International Atomic Energy Agency report, the country has expanded its capacity to produce enriched uranium and plutonium, both of which can fuel bombs.
Seen in that context, legislation being considered by the U.S. House of Representatives to increase already strong sanctions on Iran might seem prudent and appropriate. Promoting the measure before the Foreign Affairs Committee he leads, the bill's sponsor, Republican Ed Royce of California, rightly argued that preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons is of the highest priority. Royce also said, "We have to play every card and pull every lever we have."
Yes, piling sanction on top of sanction has increased the cost to Iran of pursuing its nuclear program in violation of its IAEA obligations. Targeted sanctions have slowed Iran's nuclear progress. Punitive sanctions, like the ones before the House, have damaged its economy.
Yet Iran isn't going to unilaterally change its nuclear policies in the mere hope that doing so will bring some sanctions relief. A sanctions strategy will work only if Iran can be promised the penalties will end if its policies change.
Most U.S. sanctions on Iran are executive orders, which the president can lift. Those few mandated by Congress, however, can be reversed only by new congressional action. That limits the ability of U.S. negotiators to offer sanctions relief in return for Iranian concessions. Royce's bill, which tightens existing sanctions on Iran's oil exports and limits its access to foreign currency reserves abroad, would add to that complication.
Members of the Foreign Affairs Committee, who unanimously recommended the bill for the House's consideration, seem to think more sanctions will provoke more concessions. The opposite may be true. Ayatollah Khamenei already appears convinced that regime change is the goal of U.S. sanctions and is thus wary of nuclear diplomacy. The Royce bill may only deepen his skepticism and stiffen his resistance.
Before running that risk, the U.S. should, with its allies, test whether it can induce changes in Iran's behavior by using existing penalties, such as United Nations Security Council restrictions on Iranian banking, a European Union oil embargo and an almost complete economic embargo by the U.S., including sanctions on companies that do business with Iran.
In recent talks, Iran appeared to consider limiting its stockpiles of 20 percent enriched uranium, suspending production of the stuff at its fortified facility at Fordow and accepting tougher IAEA monitoring of enrichment sites. In the end, it decided not to do so. Its refusal was no great surprise: The benefits it stood to get -- relaxation of a ban on trade in precious metals and an easing of an embargo on its petrochemical products -- were hardly commensurate.
Once a new president is installed in Tehran, the negotiators from China, France, Germany, Russia, the U.K. and U.S. ought to propose an action-for-action road map, laying out all the sanctions they would lift in exchange for all the nuclear concessions they want from Iran.
The Westerners should state from the outset that once Iran is in full compliance, they will accept its limited right to enrich uranium. A right to enrich is a sine qua non for Iran, and its absence has been a stumbling block. Once that's removed, the two sides can negotiate the order and magnitude of reciprocal actions.
If that diplomacy fails, greater penalties -- including limits on Iran's access to foreign-currency assets abroad -- may be required to encourage Iran's assent. Still, only as a last resort should Congress force the president's hand. As the negotiator-in-chief, he needs to retain the power to turn the stick of sanctions into the carrot of relief.
Army Pvt. William Yawney, 105th Infantry Regiment (IR), 27th Infantry Division, was lost at the Mariana Islands. His remains were recovered in September 2011 and were accounted for on May 20, 2013.
Director, National Security / Foreign Relations Division