Trump shakes up NSC; Immigration ban roils airports, world capitals; US special operator KIA in Yemen; How much has F-35’s cost shrunk?; and just a bit more...

Trump elevates controversial aide over military, intel community chiefs in top national-security leaders group. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Director of National Intelligence will meet with the National Security Council’s principals committee only when summoned, according to an order signed by President Trump on Saturday. (White House chief of staff Reince Priebus walked that back a bit on Sunday, saying, “They’re included as attendees any time that they want to be included.”) Taking their place as a permanent member of the top inter-agency group for discussing national security is Stephen Bannon, the presidential advisor who is (as the New York Times writes) “a former Navy surface warfare officer, admiral’s aide, investment banker, Hollywood producer and Breitbart News firebrand” and who in the latter job (as Foreign Policy chairman David Rothkopf writes) purveyed “racist, misogynist and Islamophobic perspectives.” Bannon was executive chairman of Breitbart, a conservative site popular with white nationalists.

The order drew howls of protest from current and former national-security leaders. Sen. John McCain called it a “radical departure from any National Security Council in history.”

Former defense secretary Robert Gates, who served both Republican and Democratic presidents, “told ABC’s This Week on Sunday that the relegation for the defense chiefs was a ‘big mistake’: ‘Under the law, only two statutory advisers to the National Security Council and that’s the director of central intelligence, or the DNI, and the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff,’ Gates said.” That’s from The Guardian, here.

“This is stone cold crazy,” said Amb. Susan Rice, the most recent national security advisor to Obama, in a Twitter flurry.

NPR’s Phil Ewing: “What does it all mean, in practical terms? It's too soon to say. Former national security council staffers say their day-to-day meetings and process were not governed by whatever formal instruction issued by their respective presidents. Political staffers from the White House have attended meetings in the past.” More, here.

Chaos after a campaign promise, airport protests, and Capitol Hill push-back dominated the weekend narrative, as U.S. officials worked feverishly to carry out Trump’s early-Saturday order to ban travelers from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen from entering the country, even with a valid visa or approved refugee application.

As hundreds were detained in the U.S.’s international airports and thousands gathered in protest, a hurriedly-filed lawsuit led a federal judge in New York to halt at least some deportations temporarily as border officials sought clarity. DHS initially defended the ban, but a terse statement from Secretary John Kelly appeared to relax the ban on green-card holders. CBS News rolls up some of the official requests for clarity or need for “adjustments,” including from House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul, R-Texas, here.

The broader implications for the counterterrorism war? Trump’s immigration actions “redefine America’s most lethal enemy in terms far broader than his post-9/11 predecessors,” the Washington Post’s Greg Jaffe reported Saturday, calling it “a vast departure for a country that has often struggled over the past 15 years to say whether it is at war and precisely who it is fighting.” To the White House, Jaffe writes, “America is locked in a world war for its very survival, and the enemies in this wide-ranging battle are not only radical Islamist terrorists but a chaotic, violent and angry Muslim world.”

That, he writes, marks a sharp contrast with “former presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama [who] had defined the enemy in significantly narrower terms while in office, eager to avoid any moves that might make it appear as if the United States was at war with Islam.” However, the moves fall in line with “the somewhat dystopian vision of [President Trump’s] closest advisers,” Steve Bannon and Mike Flynn—both of whom have written and spoken at length about such issues for years. More from WaPo, here.  

Did the White House move too quickly with the travel ban? Lawfare blog’s Benjamin Wittes says yes, and goes further: “In the rational pursuit of security objectives, you don’t marginalize your expert security agencies and fail to vet your ideas through a normal interagency process. You don’t target the wrong people in nutty ways when you’re rationally pursuing real security objectives. When do you do these things? You do these things when you’re elevating the symbolic politics of bashing Islam over any actual security interest.” Read on here.

But this is what you wanted: a recent Quinnipiac poll dated one week before the inauguration showed 48 percent approval for "suspending" immigration. Dig into the results for yourself, here.

The terrorists respond: In the past, “jihadists would have to argue to lengths that Obama, Bush, and others held anti-Islam agendas and hated the religion — not just radical terrorists. Trump, however, makes that argument a lot easier for them to sell to their followers,” said Rita Katz, founder of the SITE Intelligence Group, told WaPo in a report on jihadi reax, here.

Here’s how the ban was received by at least one officer at CENTCOM: “For ISIL it’s is like a 100 CIVCAS events. We'll never be able to 'countermessage' this,” one O-5 told Micah Zenko of the Council on Foreign Relations.

And the ban was not too kindly received in Iraq, too, this weekend—prompting the parliament in Baghdad (like the leadership of Iran) to pursue similar, if not 100 percent reciprocal, measures. Reuters rolls up some of the recent international uproar, here.

One more noteworthy international response: “Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his country welcomed those fleeing war and persecution, even as Canadian airlines said they would turn back U.S.-bound passengers to comply with an immigration ban on people from seven Muslim-majority countries,” Reuters reported.

"To those fleeing persecution, terror & war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith. Diversity is our strength #WelcomeToCanada," Trudeau tweeted on Saturday.

Roughly 24 hours later, Trudeau took to the airwaves to tell his fellow countrymen a “terrorist attack on Muslims” occurred at a mosque in Quebec City, killing six people and wounding eight others. Police arrested two suspects, but aren’t saying much more on the situation just yet. Reuters has the latest, here.


From Defense One

The Price of an F-35 Was Already Falling. Can Trump Drive it Lower? // Marcus Weisgerber: Defense One analyzed the changing cost of the JSF since the first production orders were placed in 2007. Here's what we found.

Everything I Need to Know about Russia's Internet Interference I Learned Through College Pranks // U.S. Army Aviator Crispin Burke: It's not terribly difficult to inject fake news into conversation.

We Conservatives Warned You, Trump Will Not Get Better. Here's What You Can Do. // Eliot A. Cohen: To my friends thinking of serving this administration, either you stand up for your principles and decent behavior, or you go down as a coward or opportunist.

Trump Wants DHS to Hire 15,000 for Border Security? Not So Fast // GovExec’s Eric Katz: The proposed surge would provide assets some agency officials have long requested. It would also enable Trump to fulfill a campaign promise—but it comes with challenges.

5 Things to Know Before the US Reduces Its Role at the UN // The Council on Foreign Relations’ Stewart M. Patrick: Trump's hyper-nationalist, 'America First' agenda will play well with his populist base. But it signals a reckless abdication of U.S. global leadership.

Cyber Commission Remains Bullish Trump Team Will Take Some Recommendations // Joseph Marks, NextGov: The cyber review, ordered by Obama, may have a future under the new president, even if Obama doesn't get credit.

Trump Has Made an Enemy Out of a Friend // Ambassador Jorge Guajardo: The U.S. is not talking to Mexico, a neighbor, trade partner and trusted ally because of a campaign promise few took seriously.

Welcome to Monday’s edition of The D Brief by Ben Watson and Bradley Peniston. On this day in 1912, American historian Barbara Tuchman—author of “The Guns of August” and “The Proud Tower”—was born in New York City. (Enjoy the D Brief? Send your friends this link: http://get.defenseone.com/d-brief/. And let us know your news: the-d-brief@defenseone.com.)


Deadly USSOF raid followed by reported drone strikes in Yemen. America’s newly escalated war in Yemen cost a special operations soldier his life while three other SOF were wounded and an Osprey was damaged beyond repair in a dawn raid Sunday on an al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula hideout in a southern region of central Yemen's al-Bayda province, CENTCOM announced this weekend.

NBC News: “Yemeni security and tribal officials told the Associated Press the assault, in central Bayda province, killed three senior al Qaeda leaders. They say the Sunday attack killed Abdul-Raouf al-Dhahab, Sultan al-Dhahab, and Seif al-Nims. The al-Dhahab family is considered an ally of al Qaeda. In addition, the officials said some two dozen men had been killed or wounded in the raid, and that U.S. forces captured and departed with at least two men.”

The raid yielded “important intelligence that will assist the U.S. in preventing terrorism against its citizens and people around the world,” President Trump said in a statement.

And the reported drone strikes that occurred this morning and are said to have “killed two men believed to be al Qaeda militants in central Yemen, local officials said early on Monday,” Reuters reports. “The officials said the pilotless plane targeted a vehicle traveling in Baihan in the province of Shabwa, in which two suspected al Qaeda members were traveling. Both men were killed, they said.”

Worth noting: “Defense officials told NBC News that the U.S. was not tracking a specific plot involving the militants targeted in the operation, but that al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula was actively trying to carrying out attacks against targets world-wide. They added that the U.S. military has been focusing more on the group recently, and that can be expected to continue.” More here and from the New York Times, which has the most details, here.

Jordan’s King Abdullah is slated to become the first Muslim leader to visit the White House today, although Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reports “it remains uncertain if he will hold talks with President Donald Trump.” The White House’s daily schedule says VP Mike Pence will speak with the King before having lunch with the president later in the day.

Trump and Saudi King Salman have reportedly agreed to “support safe zones” in both Syria and Yemen, the White House announced this weekend. Curiously, Reuters writes, “The Saudi Press Agency, in an initial readout of the call, made no specific mention of safe zones, but said the two leaders had affirmed the ‘depth and durability of the strategic relationship" between the two countries.’” However, the agency later said "the custodian of the Two Holy Mosques had confirmed his support and backing for setting up safe zones in Syria,” but there was no mention of such zones in Yemen. More from Reuters, here.

In other world leader talks this weekend, Trump spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday. Said the White House: “The call lasted approximately one hour and ranged in topics from mutual cooperation in defeating ISIS to efforts in working together to achieve more peace throughout the world including Syria. The positive call was a significant start to improving the relationship between the United States and Russia that is in need of repair. Both President Trump and President Putin are hopeful that after today's call the two sides can move quickly to tackle terrorism and other important issues of mutual concern.”  

The Kremlin read-out mentions Ukraine—something the White House made no mention of. As well, neither mentioned the U.S.  intelligence community’s report on alleged election meddling. And the Kremlin statement also hinted at "resumption of normal economic relations."

In Ukraine, Kiev’s troops are dealing with “the deadliest outbreak of fighting in the east of the country since mid-December,” Reuters reports. “The rebels began attacking government positions in the eastern frontline town of Avdiyivka on Sunday, Ukrainian officials said. Five soldiers were killed and nine wounded on Sunday and two more were killed on Monday, they said...The separatist website DAN said on Monday shelling by Ukrainian troops had killed one female civilian and wounded three others in the rebel-held town of Makiyivka, south of Avdiyivka. The reports could not be independently verified. On Sunday the separatists said one of their fighters had been killed during heavy Ukrainian shelling of their positions.” More here.

Lastly today: Two men in the U.K.—a reverend and an activist—“entered the BAE Systems site in Warton, Lancashire, on Sunday morning with the intention of disarming planes” that were intended for Saudi Arabia, Sky News reported, with no elaboration on how they attempted to disarm the aircraft. In a statement, one of them said, “Stopping or even delaying Saudi Arabia having more planes with which to bomb Yemen would save innocent lives and prevent war crimes." For a bit more on the matter of U.S. and U.K. arms to support KSA’s war in Yemen, read here.

CORRECTION: Due to an editing error, an earlier version of this D Brief characterized Trump aide Stephen Bannon as a white nationalist. Bannon is former executive chairman of Breitbart, which is popular with many in the white nationalist movement.

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.