Today's D Brief: White supremacy a ‘transnational threat’; Vets face conspiracy charges; Troops describe Erbil attack; Pvt. Willie Mays; And a bit more.
The National Guard will pack up and leave D.C. in just under a month, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told reporters Friday in his first presser since taking over at the Pentagon.
“Our expected stay, it is March 12th,” Austin said. “My plan is to not keep them there one day longer than is necessary. Having said that, they know and understand that if our lawmakers need help, they need protection, [the National Guard soldiers] stand ready to provide that protection. But again, March 12th is what we're focused on now” because “we don't have an additional requirement or request from another federal agency to provide them support.”
At least 22 Americans face federal conspiracy charges related to the Jan. 6 failed insurrection, and eight of them are military veterans. The New York Times put the 22 accused together on Sunday in a short feature supported by several useful charts.
Why this matters: Prosecutors say the 22 alleged conspirators “plann[ed] their strategy ahead of time and in some cases help[ed] escalate a rally into an attack,” the Times writes.
Two militias seem to have played a significant role in the insurrection, too. Those would be the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers. “Of the more than 230 people charged so far, only 31 are known to have ties to a militant extremist group,” the Times reports. And 26 of those 31 are linked to the Oath Keepers or the Proud Boys, which echoes a takeaway from the Chicago Project on Security and Threats from the University of Chicago. More at the Times, here.
Newsflash: The UN says white supremacy is becoming a “transnational threat.” That’s what Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told the Human Rights Council today in Geneva.
“White supremacy and neo-Nazi movements are more than domestic terror threats. They are becoming a transnational threat,” Guterres said. “Today, these extremist movements represent the number one internal security threat in several countries,” he added. More from Reuters.
By the way: U.S. lawmakers will be looking into domestic terrorism trends on Wednesday afternoon in a hearing before the House Judiciary committee. Details here.
Also on Wednesday: President Biden’s pick to lead the CIA, William Burns, heads before the Senate Intelligence Committee for his confirmation hearing. That’s in the morning. More here.
From Defense One
Troops Describe Night of Fire From Shadowy Iraqi Militants // Katie Bo Williams: After the first rocket struck the Erbil base on Monday, “everything happened pretty quickly.” But U.S. officials still aren't sure who's responsible.
Biden Wants to Restore NATO. Macron Is Looking to Move On. // Kevin Baron: The two leaders appeared to talk past each other at this week’s Munich Security Conference.
The Day Private Willie Mays Threw Out My Dad // Tom Shoop: Two lives intersect in a story of baseball, military service, and American society in the Korean War era.
Antitrust Regulators Extend Review of Lockheed’s Proposed Purchase of Aerojet Rocketdyne // Marcus Weisgerber: The announcement comes the day after Raytheon’s CEO said his firm would challenge the deal.
Defense Business Brief // Marcus Weisgerber: Budget Day, maybe; Airbus bests Boeing; Roper’s next job, and more.
US Army Tests Autonomous Vehicle in Maryland // Brandi Vincent, Nextgov: Researchers aim to better understand how the self-moving machines respond to real-world challenges.
DOD’s Smart Warehouse-Enabling 5G Network Underway // Brandi Vincent, Nextgov: An initial demonstration should occur this summer, an official said.
Welcome to this Monday edition of The D Brief from Ben Watson with 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 1732, America’s first commander-in-chief, George Washington, was born at Bridges Creek, in modern-day Virginia.
Nearly 500,000 Americans have now died from COVID-19 complications, according to Johns Hopkins University. The White House announced this weekend that POTUS46 will address the country Monday evening at 6 p.m. ET in remembrance of the many thousands of lives lost to the ongoing pandemic so far.
The good news for Americans: “All major indicators of COVID-19 transmission in the United States continue to fall rapidly,” The Atlantic’s COVID Tracking Project reported Friday. However, “the total number of people hospitalized is still very high—hospitalizations have yet to fall far enough to reach even the peaks of the two previous surges, which both rose to roughly 60 thousand hospitalizations.”
Fort Hood soldiers are helping distribute water to imperiled communities across Texas, the commanding general of the base announced on Twitter Sunday.
That includes delivering water to prisons, CNN’s Barbara Starr reports this morning on Twitter.
Hundreds of people have been killed in Yemen after Iran-backed Houthis launched a recent offensive in the resource-rich province of Marib. Reuters reports “The death toll from the battles of the last three weeks are on a scale not seen since 2018, when Saudi-led coalition forces launched an offensive in the Red Sea coastal area to take Yemen’s biggest port of Hodeidah.”
Bigger picture: “The Houthis are clearly taking advantage of Saudi Arabia’s isolation after the election of Joe Biden... and its disintegrating coalition,” an unnamed diplomat told Reuters.
After police shot two dead on Saturday, thousands of people are still protesting across Myanmar everyday in opposition to the military coup carried out on Feb. 1. The Wall Street Journal today reminds us that the coup “abruptly ended Myanmar’s decadelong democratic shift and returned the country to military rule, with the hugely popular civilian politician Aung San Suu Kyi detained in her house and the commander-in-chief of the armed forces in absolute control.”
The UN again today called for the release of prisoners and an end to violence in Myanmar. More from Reuters here.
A day may come when the Navy’s carriers get a break, but it is not this day. USS Dwight D. Eisenhower sailed from Norfolk on Thursday on its second deployment in a year, Navy Times reports, responding to Pentagon orders and combatant commanders’ demands. “Sailors have expressed concerns about the mental health of the crew, as well as COVID mitigation measures and the material readiness of the ship. But the ship’s captain and strike group commander told Navy Times last month that the Ike is good to go.”
Ike set a U.S. record for continuous days at sea during its last deployment, which began in January 2020. A bit more, here.
And finally today: Not so fast on that Space Command HQs relocation. The late-Trump-era decision to move Space Command from Colorado to Alabama is now under investigation by the Defense Department’s inspector general, according to a DoDIG memo to the secretary of the Air Force.
Background: “The mid-January announcement that the Secretary of the Air Force had selected Redstone Arsenal as the future headquarters over five other candidates, including the Space Command’s current home, Colorado Springs, was greeted with cheers locally and complaints from members of Colorado’s congressional delegation,” Huntsville’s WHNT reports, with a copy of the memo.
Here’s what’s officially under the microscope:
- “The extent to which the Department of the Air Force complied with DoD and Air Force policies during the location selection process”;
- Whether officials “used objective and relevant scoring factors to rank the six candidate locations”;
- And if officials properly “calculated the cost and other scoring factors accurately and consistently among the six candidate locations.” Read on at WHNT, here.