Today's D Brief: Milley warns on Israel-Gaza fighting; LCS decommissionings; Is JEDI dead?; UFOs go mainstream; And a bit more...
Milley issues warning on Israel-Gaza fighting. “My assessment is that you risk broader destabilization and you risk a whole series of negative consequences if the fighting continues,” Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters as he flew to Brussels for discussions with NATO allies. “So in my view, I think de-escalation is a smart course of action at this point for all parties concerned.” (Reuters)
Fighting enters its second week. Washington Post: “The Israeli military said 62 fighter jets dropped 110 “guided armaments” overnight and early Tuesday on targets in Gaza, including Hamas commanders, rocket launchpads, and the militant group’s tunnel network in the territory. Palestinian militants targeted nearby Israeli towns and cities with rockets and large-caliber mortars, the armed groups said in statements Tuesday.”
Mapping the deaths. In the Occupied Territories, at least 212 people have been killed in the Gaza Strip by Israeli airstrikes and another 20 in the West Bank in clashes with Israeli security forces. In Israel, 10 people were killed by Hamas rocket attacks and another two died in civil unrest, the New York Times reports. “On Saturday, an Israeli airstrike destroyed a well-known tower that housed some of the world’s leading news media organizations, including The Associated Press and Al Jazeera. The strikes have destroyed 132 buildings in Gaza and left 2,500 people homeless, according to Palestinian officials.”
White House calls for a cease-fire. Joe Biden’s first public call for a cessation of hostilities came on Monday after a phone call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, during which the U.S. president “reiterated his firm support for Israel’s right to defend itself against indiscriminate rocket attacks.” More from WaPo, including reports of back-channel pressure on the Israeli government, here.
From Defense One
Documents Show Trump Officials Used Secret Terrorism Unit to Question Lawyers at the Border // Dara Lind, ProPublica: Newly disclosed records show that conspiracy theories were used to justify interrogating immigration lawyers with a special terrorism unit.
The ‘Rule of Thirds’ Is Bunk // Seamus Daniels: The military services’ shares of overall defense spending have always fluctuated with strategy and need.
If the Pentagon Drops JEDI, Then What? // Mila Jasper: DOD says the contract’s enterprise capabilities are still needed. But there are new cloud technologies that could fill the bill.
The Next Big Gasoline Shortage Is Coming / Zeynep Tufekci: If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that we cannot ignore the warning signs for future catastrophes.
Welcome to this Tuesday edition of The D Brief from Bradley Peniston with Jennifer Hlad. And if you’re not already subscribed to The D Brief, you can do that here. OTD1974: India detonates its first successful nuclear weapon.
Fighting resumes in Afghanistan after 3-day Eid ceasefire. Reuters rounds up five places where Taliban and government forces are fighting.
Afghan interpreters and other former U.S. employees are terrified. Once the U.S. leaves, they fear reprisals by the Taliban. AP, here.
U.S., Canada sanction Myanmar civilian coup leaders. Reuters: “The move appeared to be the first time Washington has targeted civilian officials who are working with the junta, although some of them are retired military officers.” The junta took power on Feb. 1.
If Biden and Putin meet next month, they’ll probably do so in Switzerland, Russian daily Kommersant reports. Reuters: “Biden, who in March said he thought Putin was a ‘killer,’ prompting Moscow to recall its ambassador to Washington for consultations, has said he would like to hold talks with Putin during a planned trip to Europe next month.” Moscow says it’s thinking about it. Read on, here.
Speaking of Putin, companies linked to the Wagner mercenary group “are snapping up oil and gas leases—with an eye to pumping influence, not oil,” Foreign Policy reports.
Lead littoral combat ships to be retired. USNI News reports that the U.S. Navy plans to decommission USS Independence (LCS-2) on July 31 after 13 years in service and USS Freedom (LCS-1) on Sept. 30 after 11 years of service. The retirements were proposed last year, when Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday “said it would cost about $2.5 billion to update the first four LCSs to the configurations of other ships in the class,” USNI reported.
Speaking on Tuesday, May 18:
- Army Gen. Paul LaCamera appears before the Senate Armed Services Committee at 9:30 a.m. The committee will consider his nomination to be commander of United Nations Command, Republic of Korea-U.S. Combined Forces Command, and U.S. Forces Korea.
- Gen. David Berger, the commandant of the Marine Corps, discusses “The Marine Corps and the future of warfare” at 10 a.m. during a Brookings Institution virtual event. Register at brookings.edu.
- Jennifer Miller, the acting assistant secretary of the Air Force for installations, environment, and energy; Brig. Gen. William Kale, the Air Force director of civil engineers; Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force JoAnne Bass; and Chief Master Sgt. of the Space Force Roger Towberman testify at 10 a.m. at a virtual House Appropriations subcommittee hearing on Air Force quality of life and installations.
- Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby speaks to journalists in the Pentagon briefing room at 10:30 a.m.
- Gen. Richard Clarke, head of U.S. Special Operations Command, delivers a keynote at 11:45 a.m. for the National Defense Industrial Association’s virtual Special Operations Forces Industry Conference. Register at sofic.org.
- Lt. Gen. Stephen Fogarty, head of Army Cyber Command will deliver at keynote at 1:30 p.m. and Jeffrey Jones, deputy chief information officer for the Joint Staff will speak at 2:15 p.m. during AFCEA TechNet Augusta. Register at afcea.org.
- Jesse Salazar, the deputy assistant defense secretary for industrial policy, and Rear Adm. William Chase, deputy principal cyber advisor to the defense secretary and director of the Protecting Critical Technology Task Force, will testify at 2:30 p.m. during a Senate Armed Services Committee subcommittee hearing on defense industrial base cybersecurity.
- Gen. Steve Lyons, head of U.S. Transportation Command, testifies at 4 p.m. at a House Armed Services joint subcommittee hearing on “Posture and Readiness of the Mobility Enterprise.”
Lastly today: UFO reports go mainstream. That’s the Washington Post’s judgement after the venerable 60 Minutes interviewed a Navy pilot who said he’d seen unidentified flying objects “Every day for at least a couple years.” Read and watch.
Coming soon: “In the next six weeks, a report is due that is required to make public everything the government knows about UFOs.”