Today's D Brief: Too close to call; HASC, SASC races; Cyber ops; UK sees “severe” terror risk; And a bit more.

Too close to call: The world must wait a bit longer before learning whether American President Donald Trump or former Vice President Joe Biden has won the 2020 U.S. presidential election. Millions of votes are still being counted in multiple states, including Nevada, Arizona, Wisconsin, Michigan and Georgia. While we await those tallies, here are a few of the major headlines from this historic and uncertain morning:

And here are a few headlines from the past 12 hours of uncertainty and suspense:

  • “Trump falsely asserts fraud, claims a victory” (WaPo)
  • “Biden Urges Patience as Trump Threatens Court Action” (NYTs)
  • “New York Retailers Brace for Possible Unrest Over Election Outcome” (WSJ)

The big question: Can Trump still win? “Yes, but it’s becoming harder,” says Nate Silver of the “538” election blog. 

Otherwise, there are several major Senate races that have already been decided, and the outcomes featuring incumbents in U.S. national security policy include: 

  • Kentucky, where Republican Sen. Maj. Leader Mitch McConnell was re-elected;
  • South Carolina, where Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham retains his seat;
  • Oklahoma, where Sen. James Inhofe, the 85-year-old Senate Armed Services Committee chairman won;
  • Colorado, where Republican Cory Gardner of the Foreign Relations committee lost to Democratic challenger John Hickenlooper;
  • Rhode Island, where Sen. Jack Reed, ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, was re-elected;
  • Arizona, where GOP Sen. Martha McSally lost to Democratic challenger Mark Kelly;
  • New Hampshire, where SASC’s Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen defeated Republican challenger Corky Messner;
  • Virginia, whose Democratic Sen. Mark Warner, vice chairman of the Select Committee on Intelligence, won his re-election over Daniel Gade, a retired Army lieutenant colonel;
  • Alabama, where SASC’s Democratic Sen. Doug Jones was defeated by Republican Tommy Tuberville;
  • Iowa, where incumbent GOP Sen. Joni Ernst, who chairs the Emerging Threats Subcommittee, won another term;
  • Idaho, where Republican Sen. Jim Risch, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, was re-elected;
  • Arkansas, where Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., who had no Democratic challenger, won;
  • And Texas, where GOP Sen. John Cornyn, a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, defeated former Air Force pilot Mary Hegar. 

And on the House side, notable national security races include:

  • Washington, where Democratic Rep. Adam Smith, who chairs the House Armed Services Committee, won;
  • Michigan, where Democratic Rep. Elissa Slotkin was re-elected; 
  • Ohio, where GOP Rep. Mike Turner of the Strategic Forces Subcommittee was re-elected;
  • Virginia, whose GOP Rep. Rob Wittman of the Seapower Subcommittee won another term;
  • New York, where Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik of the Intelligence and Emerging Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee, was re-elected on Tuesday;
  • New Jersey, whose Democratic Rep. Donald Norcross of the Tactical Air and Land Forces committee won re-election;
  • New Jersey also retains Rep. Mikie Sherrill, a Democrat on the Armed Services committee;
  • Maryland, where HASC Vice Chairman, Democratic Rep. Anthony Brown, was re-elected;
  • Missouri, where Republican Rep. Vicky Hartzler, ranking member of the Tactical Air and Land Forces Subcommittee, was re-elected;
  • Colorado, whose Republican Rep. Doug Lamborn of the House Readiness Subcommittee was re-elected; 
  • Colorado also re-elected Democratic Rep. Jason Crow, who sits on the Armed Services committee;
  • California, where Democratic Rep. Jackie Speier, who chairs the Military Personnel Subcommittee, won another term;
  • And Texas, where Republican Rep. Kay Granger was re-elected Tuesday — and where former Trump doctor, Ronnie Jackson, won a GOP seat in the House. Jackson will replace HASC ranking member Rep. Mac Thornberry.

The power politics big picture: In terms of Senate control, “Democrats had a disappointing election night as Republicans swatted down an onslaught of challengers and fought to retain their majority,” the Associated Press reports. That outcome is now expected to “force a rethinking of Democratic Party strategy, messaging and approach from the Trump era.” Reuters expands on what we know from Senate races so far, here.

From Defense One

No Clear Winner As Presidential Vote-Counting Continues Into Wednesday // Katie Bo Williams, Government Executive: Several senators with national-security posts win re-election.

Robocalls Told at Least 800,000 Swing State Residents to ‘Stay Home’; on Election Day. The FBI Is Investigating. / Jack Gillum, Jeremy B. Merrill: A firm that tracks robocalls said more than 3 million calls were made on Nov. 3, which contained a cryptic message instructing people to “stay safe and stay home.” The tactics join other efforts to confuse voters this election cycle.

A Quiet Day At The Polls For Most Americans // Katie Bo Williams: Security experts still fear late-night violence and clashes in the days to come, but so far, the worst-case scenario has not come to pass.

Great Power Competition Comes Home to America // Maj. Shane Praiswater and Bradley Bowman: Our leaders’ efforts to heal divisions among our fellow citizens are key to national defense.

Welcome to this post election-day edition of The D Brief from Ben Watson, Marcus Weisgerber and Bradley Peniston. Send us tips from your community right here. And if you’re not already subscribed to The D Brief, you can do that here. On this day in 1952, the National Security Agency was formally established when Defense Secretary Robert Lovett changed the name of the Armed Forces Security Agency to the NSA. 

A quiet night on the cyber front. “Pretty vanilla,” said a senior official with the Cyber Infrastructure Security Agency, or CISA, on a call with reporters late Tuesday evening. “Just another Tuesday on the Internet.”
U.S. Cyber Command and the NSA have been executing cyber operations to prevent more interference, the agencies’ chief Gen. Paul Nakasone told reporters Tuesday. An anonymous official told the Washington Post that one target was “Iranian hackers working for the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps,” who “launched an operation two weeks ago posing as a far-right group to send threatening emails to American voters and also posted a video aimed at driving down confidence in the voting process.”
Nakasone: Less foreign targeting of this U.S. election than in 2018. “I just don’t see the levels that we had seen,” he said. Still, there are more foreign actors with the capability to interfere, “so we have broadened our partnerships and our operations,” he said. WaPo, here.
A spattering of technical disruptions across the country had no material effect on voting, even if they did pose an inconvenience to some voters, CISA officials said. In Franklin County, Ohio, a glitch in electronic pollbooks — lists of voter information — forced a quick move to paper backups, resulting in a slight delay, Defense One’s Katie Bo Williams and Patrick Tucker reported.
Misleading robocalls told more than 800,000 people in Nebraska, Iowa, Michigan, North Carolina, Kansas, and Virginia to “stay safe and stay home,”  ProPublica reported. CISA officials said such calls were an expected occurrence during every election and local officials were quick to counter the misleading information. The FBI and the New York Attorney General’s office are investigating. Read on, here.
But CISA officials were hesitant to sound an all-clear. “As votes are counted in an unusual election that saw historic levels of mail-in voting, the coming days and even months will be a ‘prime landscape for disinfo,’ said one official. In short, the threat has shifted away from disrupting the actual electoral process to manipulating perceptions of the process.” Read, here.

National Guard troops in at least 16 states remain on alert in case they are called to deal with civil unrest, The Hill reported Tuesday.

The U.S. Postal Service rebuffed a court order to look for more than 300,000 missing ballots in 15 states. “U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan of the District of Columbia on Tuesday had given the mail agency until 3:30 p.m. to conduct the ‘all clear’ checks to ensure that any found ballots could be delivered before polls closed,” the Post wrote.
USPS: No can do. Lawyers for the agency told the court around 5 p.m. that complying with the order would have disrupted postal inspections already in progress.
“300,523 ballots nationwide had received incoming scans at postal processing plants but not exit scans, leaving voting rights advocates worried that hundreds of thousands of votes could be trapped in the mail system.” Context: All this follows various orders by the Trump-appointed postmaster general that have slowed mail service ahead of an election that featured an unprecedented number of mail-in ballots. Read on, here.

In non-election news, ISIS claimed responsibility for an attack in Vienna on Tuesday that killed four people. “Austrian officials have identified the attacker as Kujtim Fejzulai, a dual citizen of Austria and North Macedonia, who had been sentenced to 22 months in jail in April 2019 for attempting to travel to Syria to join Islamic State,” Reuters reported. The shooter had opened fire on a crowded strip with bars and bustling nightlife before police shot and killed him. More here.
Related: The UK just elevated its terrorism threat level to “severe.” That decision follows the recent extremist violence in France and Vienna over the past several weeks. More from Reuters, here.

And finally today: The satirical news site The Onion offers some levity for everyone eagerly awaiting closure this morning. Their headline: “Poll: 94% Of Nation Would Rather Live In Authoritarian Dictatorship Than Wait 10 More Minutes For Results.” Tiny bit more to that joke over here.