Oct. 4, 2013 - NS/FR Weekly Update

1. Intel Chief: Shutdown Threatens National Security
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and General Keith Alexander, the director of the National Security Agency attended a Senate Intelligence hearing last Thursday to provide a warning that the combination of the government shutdown and previous sequestration spending cuts "seriously damages" the U.S. government's ability to protect its citizens.
"This is not just a Beltway issue. This affects our global capability to support the military, to support diplomacy, to support our policymakers," Clapper said Wednesday while testifying during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. "The danger here, of course, [is] that this will accumulate over time. The damage will be insidious, so each day that goes by the jeopardy increases."
Clapper also warned lawmakers that the financial climate - the worst he's seen in 50 years, he indicated -- has posed a substantial challenge to intelligence community's ability to attract talented employees.
"This is a dreamland for a foreign intelligence service to recruit, particularly as our employees -- already many of whom [are] subject to furloughs driven by sequestration -- are going to have, I believe, even greater financial challenges. So we're spending our time setting up counseling services for employees to help them manage their finances," he said.
"The brain drain is hard to measure... we lose truly qualified people," Davis said. "A good contracting officer who understands the process, good people like this can walk across the street and make more money." Those consequences are another byproduct of the shutdown that are difficult to measure, but important to consider, he said.
Watch the full video of Intelligence Director Clapper’s testimony at:

2. U.S. – South Korea Announce ‘Tailored Deterrence’ Strategy
The United States and South Korea today agreed to establish “a bilateral strategy for tailored deterrence against … North Korean nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction,” Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said during a press conference on Wednesday.
Hagel and his counterpart, South Korean Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin, spoke to reporters after the 45th Security Consultative Meeting in the South Korean Ministry of Defense building this morning. The annual meeting brings together military and foreign affairs officials from the two nations to discuss alliance, peninsular, regional and global issues.
The tailored deterrence agreement will create a strategic, policy-level framework within the alliance for deterring specific threats, Hagel said, “and help us work together more seamlessly to maximize the effects of our deterrence.”
Kim noted both sides have agreed on the need for a “more future-oriented and comprehensive strategic alliance.”
In a joint communiqué issued after the meeting, Hagel and Kim condemned North Korea’s December 2012 long-range missile launch and its February 2013 nuclear test, and “urged North Korea to abandon all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner and to cease … its nuclear programs immediately, including its nuclear activities at Yongbyon, uranium enrichment and construction of a light water reactor.”
Read more at:

3. TRICARE Not Affected By Government Shutdown At This Time
Statement from TRICARE:
"We know that those who rely on the Military Health System (MHS) are concerned about how the government shutdown might impact their health care.
While we can’t predict the exact consequences of a shutdown on every part of our MHS, we will likely see some impact on the delivery of health care services within our military hospitals and clinics. Inpatient, acute and emergency outpatient care in our medical and dental facilities will continue, as will private sector care under TRICARE. Local hospital and clinic commanders will need to implement the required adjustments to available medical services while ensuring that the quality of care and safety of patients remain intact. Patients should contact their hospital or clinic to confirm previously scheduled routine appointments. Patients needing to schedule new routine appointments might experience delays.
For specific questions about benefits contact your regional office using this link:

4. POW/MIA update
The identification of Army 2nd Lt. Vernal J. Bird,13 Bombardment squadron, was officially announced on September 25, 2013. Lt. Bird was the pilot of an A-20G Havoc aircraft on an attack mission over the island of New Guinea on March 22, 1944. Other airmen in the formation saw Bird’s aircraft lagging behind, and reported the last known location of the aircraft was “about half way down the run over Boram Airstrip.” Bird’s aircraft did not return to base and attempts to locate the aircraft, both during and after the war, were unsuccessful.

John Stovall
Director, National Security / Foreign Relations Division