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– The Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chief will testify one day before the budget is published before the House Defense Appropriations Panel.
– The ex-officer who announced the Pentagon’s UFO program filed a complaint with the Inspector General to clarify his name.
– The Senate approved Christine Wormuth to be the first woman to serve as the army secretary before a procedural snafu disbanded it.
HAPPY THURSDAY AND WELCOME TO THE MORNING DEFENSE where we honor aviation pioneers Elmer Stone of the Coast Guard and Walter Hinton of the Navy who were part of the six-person crew who made the first transatlantic flight in a Curtiss NC flying boat 102 years ago today after departure from New York City to Lisbon. When Stone later decided to fly into a storm to search for the wreckage of an airship that was wrecked off Cape May, New Jersey, in 1933, he was asked why he was taking on such a dangerous mission. “It was the least I could do,” he replied. We are always looking for tips, pitches and feedback. Send us an email at [email protected]and follow @bryandbender, @morningdefense and @politicopro on Twitter.
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NOT SO FAST: Christine Wormuth, President Joe Biden’s candidate as Secretary of the Army, has to wait a little longer before starting work after a procedural snafu in the Senate late Wednesday.
Wormuth appeared to be earning the Senate seal of approval on Wednesday night when Senator Maria Cantwell received unanimous consent to endorse it. But Majority Leader Chuck Schumer later proceeded to “invalidate” this action without confirming it before the Senate adjourned the evening.
It’s not immediately clear why the Senate made a U-turn to Wormuth, which slipped through its Armed Forces affirmation hearing this month and was labeled a botch for the post by Republicans and Democrats. A Schumer spokesman did not immediately comment on the move.
Wormuth, a former head of Pentagon politics, was leading Biden’s transition team at the Department of Defense when Kathleen Hicks left to focus on her confirmation process as assistant secretary. If approved, she would be the first woman to serve as the army secretary.
Who Was Confirmed: Senators on Wednesday approved a tranche of military promotions, including Army General Paul LaCamera, to lead U.S. forces in the Korean peninsula.
MORE NOMINEES: Meanwhile, the Senate Armed Forces Committee will hold a confirmation hearing at 9:30 a.m. with Jill Hruby serving as Administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration. Frank Rose becomes deputy NNSA administrator; Christopher Maier becomes Deputy Minister of Defense for Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflicts; and Deborah Rosenblum as assistant secretary of defense for nuclear, chemical and biological defense programs.
AUSTIN FACES CONGRESS: Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin will testify on the budget with the Joint Chiefs Chairman General Mark Milley at 1:00 p.m. today before the House Defense Subcommittee. It will be Austin’s first appearance at Congress since taking the job in January.
The hearing is likely to be brief as the Biden government’s budget application for the 2022 budget has not yet been finalized by Friday. Still, Austin is likely to be pushed for plans to counter China and climate change and shift funding from older weapons to new technologies. He’s also likely to get an ear from Republicans who have complained that the government’s proposal for an essentially flat budget won’t cut it.
Related: Peace with Russia, China “frayed on the edge,” Milley tells the graduate cadets of Defense One.
Plus: Brown or Raymond? Milley suggests that Air Force Magazine will replace him as “next chairman”.
The Institute for National Security Studies at the National Defense University is hosting a lunchtime debate entitled “A New Approach to Industrial Policy”.
The House Armed Services Committee will hold a hearing on Army tactical wheeled vehicles at 3 p.m.
MORE CYBER WARRIORS: “President Joe Biden’s upcoming budget proposal, according to two people familiar with the proposal, will propose increasing the US Cyber Command’s main armed forces over the next two years as a series of cyberattacks hit the new administration,” so Martin from POLITICO Matishak and Lara Seligman report for professionals.
“Biden wants to increase the size of the Cyber Mission Force – a cadre of around 6,200 employees who have been eliminated from the military branches and divided into 133 teams – by around 600 people, or 10 percent,” they report. “The exact composition of the proposed teams remains unclear, said one of the respondents.”
The move would be the Cyber Mission Force’s first expansion since it was established in 2012.
“Recent inquiries across the Defense Ministry have shown that the original 133 teams in the CMF are not enough,” said Cyber Command General Paul Nakasone, who also heads the National Security Agency, to Congress in March. “The strategic environment has changed since the original CMF was named in 2012. Additional forces will ensure that USCYBERCOM can fulfill its responsibilities as both an assisted and a support command.”
TODAY: AFCEA’s Spring Intelligence Symposium will hear from Nakasone at 11:45 am
“DISINFORMATION CAMPAIGN”: The former Pentagon official who went public on reports of UFOs has filed a complaint with the agency’s inspector general alleging a coordinated campaign to discredit his appearance – including accusing a top official of targeting people threaten that he is “crazy” “According to documents checked by POLITICO, your Morning D correspondent for professionals reports.
Lue Elizondo, a counterintelligence specialist employed in 2008 for a Pentagon program investigating reports of “unmanned aerial phenomena”, filed the 64-page complaint with the independent watchdog on May 3 and has met several times, according to investigators legal team.
The allegation that the government is trying to discredit him comes weeks before the director of national intelligence and the Pentagon are expected to present Congress with an unclassified report on UFOs and the government’s strategy for investigating such encounters. The report is expected to include detailed accounting records of the agencies, staff and monitoring systems that collect and analyze the data.
“What he says is that there are certain individuals in the Department of Defense who actually attacked and publicly lied about him, using the color of the authority of their offices to belittle and discredit him and his ability to search and to get disrupted employment in the world, “said Daniel Sheehan, Elizondo’s attorney. “And also threatens his security check.”
FOR YOUR RADAR: “Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin will deliver the keynote address for an upcoming event at the Pentagon recognizing Pride Month,” Washington Blade reports.
“The event, scheduled for June 9th in the Pentagon Auditorium, is coordinated by DOD Pride, the Defense Department’s affinity group for civil and military LGBTQ workers. A defense official familiar with the event said Austin would deliver the keynote address at the event. Lisa Lawrence, a Pentagon spokeswoman, emailed the Washington Blade to confirm that the secretary will be there. “
“HIS CIVILITY WAS AN EXAMPLE FOR ALL US”: We were saddened to hear Tuesday from Virginias John Warner, former Secretary of the Navy and Republican chairman of the Senate Armed Forces Committee. For decades he was a force to be reckoned with in military affairs and a beacon of bipartisan cooperation. It was a pleasure to report over the years. And he told a good thread to the end of his long and eventful life in public service.
“He built bridges across party lines to find solutions to crucial national challenges,” said former Democratic Senator Sam Nunn, a chairman of the Armed Forces Committee. “John’s word was his bond. His courtesy was a role model for all of us, and his integrity was beyond dispute. “
Warner, a World War II and Korea veteran, was among a number of GOP security veterans who endorsed Biden as president last year.
He also recently raised concerns about placing too many retired generals in civil political office. “Men who have worked their way up this way really had to ingratiate themselves,” he told Morning D. in December. “You have to pay attention to the old axiom: ‘You scratch my back and I scratch yours. ‘ That applies to [their relationships with] Civilians and often defense companies. “
Audrey Schaffer, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Space Policy, is now Director of Space Policy on the National Security Council.
David Turkovic, former assistant secretary of defense for legislative affairs, is the new director of industrial policy for the Aerospace Industries Association.
The only US aircraft carrier in the Asia-Pacific region helping with the withdrawal of Afghan troops: The Wall Street Journal
– Wasted Dollars and Unfulfilled Requests: The Case for Fixing Pentagon Procurement by Rep. Adam Smith: Defense News
– Leahy swears the same ear tag split is done when Republicans “want”: POLITICO Pro
– Southern Poverty Law Center adds 64 military-affiliated sites to Confederate Monuments List: Military.com
– Despite the promise of transparency, Pentagon still won’t go into precise details on the number of combat troops: Military.com
– Australia is considering China port lease near US outpost: The Wall Street Journal
– The Russian Navy’s surveillance ship operates quietly off Hawaii: USNI News
– Creating a DC National Guard Rapid Reaction Force is a bad idea: Military Times
– Iran needs the nuclear deal to keep Russia and China in check: foreign affairs
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