March 8, 2013 - NS/FR Weekly Update

National Security
1. Budget Cuts Threaten Defense Industrial Base, Official Says
Large and sudden U.S. spending cuts and an unstable budget environment promise long-term damage to a critical segment of the defense industrial base, the Defense Department’s top maintenance official recently told a congressional panel.
John Johns, deputy assistant secretary of defense for maintenance policy and programs, testified last week before the House Armed Services readiness subcommittee, along with officials from industry professional associations.
During the hearing, the panel sought to assess the viability of the defense sustainment industrial base and implications for military readiness given two major fiscal constraints: the nation’s budget crisis and many months of Defense Department funding through a continuing resolution that freezes fiscal year 2013 spending to fiscal 2012 levels.
“The combined potential shortfalls and cuts are so large, we anticipate reductions, delays and cancellations in work orders within our public depots and shipyards, and on contracts with the private sector,” Johns told the lawmakers.
For example, in the Navy, “70 percent of ship maintenance in private yards in the third and fourth quarter will be canceled,” he said. “That's 25 ship availabilities and potentially two carrier refuelings, and complex overhauls on the aviation side -- 320 airplanes, approximately 10 percent of the fleet and over 1,200 engines and modules.”
Read more:
Resolution No. 55: Protecting the Defense Budget
Resolution No. 63: Rebuild America’s Defense Industrial Base

2. Hagel, Barak Discuss Syria, Iran
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak held talks at the Pentagon today on issues including Syria and Iran, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said.
Hagel and Barak agreed that the United States-Israeli defense relationship has never been stronger, Little said, and that both nations will continue their close cooperation.
The two leaders also discussed the range of shared security interests including the need for the Syrian regime to maintain control over chemical and biological weapons in their country, Little said, noting the leaders pledged to continue U.S.-Israel contingency planning to counter that potential threat.
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3. Cyber Command Adapts to Understand Cyber Battlespace
Cyberspace is defined as a collection of computer networks that use a variety of wired and wireless connections, a multitude of protocols, and devices ranging from supercomputers to laptops to embedded computer systems designed for specific control functions in larger systems.
“The challenge we have is that the Internet was never designed for military command and control, … yet we’ve adapted it to do that,” he said.
“What we’re working through right now is taking forces dedicated to the cyber mission and fundamentally defining a unit of action or unit of employment to do our mission, then realigning our forces,” Williams said. “You need to be able to say, ‘What kind of cyber units do I need and how many do I need?’ If you can’t do that, then you really can’t [plan] and you can’t understand where you’re taking risk.”
“We need that same type of thing to do our planning for cyberspace,” the general said, adding that the closest thing he’s seen to a workable system for cyberspace is called Plan X, an effort announced in May by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.
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Foreign Relations
1. North Korea threatened the United States on Thursday with a preemptive nuclear strike
The White House said North Korea's threats would only lead to Pyongyang's further international isolation and declared that the United States was "fully capable" of defending against any North Korean missile attack.
“Since the United States is about to ignite a nuclear war, we will be exercising our right to preemptive nuclear attack against the headquarters of the aggressor in order to protect our supreme interest," the North's foreign ministry spokesman said in a statement carried by the official KCNA news agency.
North Korea conducted a third nuclear test on February 12, in defiance of U.N. resolutions, and declared it had achieved progress in securing a functioning atomic arsenal. It is widely believed that the North does not have the capacity for a nuclear strike against the mainland of the United States.
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2. Africom Commander Outlines Diverse Challenges Ahead
Somalia and Mali represent different stages of the challenges for U.S. Africa Command, Army Gen. Carter F. Ham told the Senate Armed Services Committee yesterday.
Along with allies in East Africa, Africom developed a strategy that has seriously weakened the terror group al-Shabaab, Ham said. “Somalia still faces significant political, economic and security challenges, but the Somali people now have something they haven't had for a very long time: hope for a better future,” he added. “And I'm proud that we've played a role in that.”
“The loss of four Americans in Libya and three more in Algeria underscores the threat presented by this growing network,” Ham said.
“I'm convinced that if left unchecked,” Ham added, “this network will develop into one that poses a greater and more imminent threat to U.S. interests.”
“I don’t think we yet understand what effect this uncertainty may have in the recruiting and retention of our civilian workforce, and perhaps even more importantly, on the recruiting and retention of what I think is the crown jewel in all of this, and that's the sustainment of the incredibly talented all-volunteer force we have,” he said. “I think there are a lot more unknowns right now than knowns.”
Resolution No. 82: Policy on Africa
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3. POW/MIA Update – Recently Accounted For:
• Cpl. James R. Hare, U.S. Army, 2nd Infantry Division, was lost on February 13, 1951, near the South Korean town of Hoengsong. He was accounted for on Feb. 9, 2013.
• Pfc. Bobby L. Byars, U.S. Army, 31st Regimental Combat Team (RCT), was lost on December 12, 1950 near the Chosin Reservoir near Sinhung-ri, South Hamgyong Province, in North Korea. He was accounted for on Feb. 12, 2013.

John Stovall, Director
National Security / Foreign Relations Division