Trump sought other foreign help; Marines, amphibious again; US installs anti-drone defenses; China celebrates rule, shoots protestor; and just a bit more…

Trump, Barr sought foreign help in discrediting U.S. intelligence community, the Washington Post reported Monday: “Trump Attorney General William P. Barr has held private meetings overseas with foreign intelligence officials seeking their help in a Justice Department inquiry that President Trump hopes will discredit U.S. intelligence agencies’ examination of possible connections between Russia and members of the Trump campaign during the 2016 election, according to people familiar with the matter.” Barr made requests to officials from Britain and Italy, the Post reported, while…

Trump asked Australia’s prime minister to help, the New York Times reported Monday. In an echo of the handling of Trump’s July 25 call with Ukraine’s president, documentation of the “recent” call to Australia was hidden from White House and U.S. government staffers who normally would have access to presidential communications with foreign leaders. Read on, here.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was also on the Ukraine call, the Wall Street Journal reported Monday.


From Defense One

Allies Defend Kurt Volker, Diplomat Caught Up in Ukrainegate // Patrick Tucker: Former officials say that the characterization of Volker that has emerged in some press reports is untrue.

Why the Whistle Was Blown // Loren DeJonge Schulman, The Atlantic: The National Security Council’s procedures are a practical manifestation of values—and Trump’s disregard for NSC rules reflects his rejection of those values.

US to Deploy Anti-Drone Defenses Along U.S.-Mexico Border // Aaron Boyd, Nextgov: The manufacturer says its Titan system hijacks incoming drones’ control signals, then tells them to land or return to base.

How ‘National Security’ Took Over America // Dexter Fergie, The Atlantic: When the two-word phrase became a national obsession, it turned everything from trade rules to dating apps into a potential threat to the United States.

Welcome to this Tuesday edition of The D Brief from Bradley Peniston. If you’re not already subscribed, you can do that here. Happy birthday, Defense Intelligence Agency, founded this day in 1961.


Marine commandant: We’re going back to amphibious warfare. Gen. David Berger took command of the Marine Corps on July 7, and just ten days later issued his Commandant’s Planning Guidance. Writing at War on the Rocks, Dave Barno and Nora Bensahel say the 26-page document “lays out a striking new vision for the Corps — and jettisons a sizable number of long-held Marine articles of faith along the way.” Among Berger’s orders to the Corps: 

Return the service’s central focus to expeditionary operations from the sea, in anticipation of enemies who can contest Marines’ passage to the fight.Focus on China. Berger explicitly shifts focus and troops from the Mideast to the Indo-Pacific.

Gear up and train to fight differently, particularly in small teams. “Berger goes far beyond the other service chiefs in describing how existing doctrine, weapons, and operational concepts are no longer adequate for the wars of the future,” Barno and Bensahel write. There’s more, here.

Chinese police shoots protestor in Hong Kong as military parades in Beijing. Tanks rolled through central Beijing on Tuesday in a giant military parade that is part of the Chinese Communist Party’s celebration of 70 years of rule. Farther south, the Hong Kong democracy protestors aimed to upstage the party with demonstrations of their own. New York Times: “Hong Kong was transformed into a tear gas-engulfed battlefield on Tuesday as protesters clashed with riot police in nine districts across the territory, building bonfires and barricades and hurling firebombs and other objects in a direct challenge to Beijing’s rule.”

Police shot an 18-year-old protestor in the shoulder, apparently the first victim of police gunfire since the protests began months ago. The student remained conscious as he was taken to the hospital, a spokeswoman for the protestors said. More, here.

Speaking of China, naval watchers will want to read the Congressional Research Service’s “China Naval Modernization: Implications for

U.S. Navy Capabilities.” Get that, here.

Top House Armed Services Republican to leave Congress. Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, announced Monday that he would not seek re-election for a 23rd term. Thornberry spearheaded legislation that swept various security agencies into a new Department of Homeland Security, and later served as the chairman of the chamber’s armed services committee. More, here.

And lastly today: North Korea says it’s ready to resume nuke talks. Working-level discussions are set for Saturday, the WSJ reports.

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