Today's D Brief: G7 Summit; Mideast vs. Pacific needs; SecNav, others confirmed; 5G experiments; And a bit more.
Today is day one of the G7 Summit, hosted this year at the coastal British county of Cornwall. The White House’s goals for the summit include President Biden’s intention to “reinforce our commitment to multilateralism, work to advance key U.S. policy priorities on public health, economic recovery, and inclusive growth, and demonstrate solidarity and shared values among major democracies.”
On the G7 docket today: “a global minimum tax of at least 15% on corporations, following an agreement reached a week ago by their finance ministers” to eliminate tax havens, the Associated Press previews. Climate change is also expected to animate Group of Seven discussions this weekend.
The latest from Cornwall: “Leaders Will Pledge to Donate 1 Billion Covid Vaccine Doses,” via the New York Times.
- FWIW, here’s a fun fact about this year’s G7 host: Britain's Queen Elizabeth II “has met every sitting [U.S.] president since Dwight Eisenhower, with the exception of Lyndon Johnson, giving her unequaled experience of successive occupants of the Oval Office,” the Wall Street Journal reports. (And for the record, that’s 13 presidents since 1952 that the Queen has met whilst donning the crown.)
Looking ahead to next week, Biden plans to meet with NATO officials as well as his Turkish counterpart, President Recep Erdogan, in Brussels on Monday. Tuesday finds him meeting with EU leaders. And on Wednesday, he travels to Geneva for scheduled talks with his Russian counterpart.
ICYMI: Turkey’s defense minister this week floated the likely withdrawal of Turkish troops who’ve long been assigned to providing security at Afghanistan’s main airport in Kabul — unless, that is, Ankara could somehow obtain “Political, financial and logistic support,” Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said Monday, without elaborating.
Why that matters more than you might think: “Officials say no other country or company can quickly or readily replicate the security service,” according to the Journal, “and Turkey’s departure could force embassies and international organizations to close, threatening the disbursement of billions of dollars in aid that keeps the Afghan government and military running.”
Ring, ring: U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin called up Turkish Defense Minister Akar on Thursday. According to the Pentagon’s terse readout, the two men “discuss[ed] bilateral cooperation and regional issues,” and Austin “reaffirmed the longstanding U.S.-Turkey defense relationship and said he looked forward to seeing the Minister at the June 14 NATO Summit in Brussels.”
According to the Taliban, Turkey should go ahead and remove its troops from Afghanistan now. And other than being a “part of NATO forces in the past 20 years,” Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen told Reuters, "Turkey is a great Islamic country. Afghanistan has had historical relations with it. We hope to have close and good relations with them as a new Islamic government is established in the country in future.”
From Defense One
If China Is the No. 1 Threat, Why Doesn’t the 2022 Budget Reflect It? // Tara Copp: The Middle East will continue to demand resources even as troops withdraw from Afghanistan.
What 5G Will Actually Do for the U.S. Military // Patrick Tucker: Lots of sensors, lots of data, open up the possibilities of energy conservation, better security, robot teaming, and much more, military experiments show.
F-35 Supply Chain Recovering From COVID Slowdown, Lockheed’s New JSF Chief Says // Marcus Weisgerber, Government Executive Media Group: 2021 deliveries could return almost to the level once planned for 2020.
The Naval Brief // Caitlin M. Kenney: Drone refuels fighter jet; LCS fixes; Nuke missile, canceled; and more
Welcome to this Friday edition of The D Brief from Ben Watson with Bradley Peniston. If you’re not already subscribed to The D Brief, you can do that here. On this day in 1963, U.S. President John F. Kennedy addressed the nation on radio and TV to pitch what would later become the Civil Rights Act of 1964 — the same day racist Alabama Gov. George Wallace unsuccessfully tried to block two Black students from registering for classes because Wallace campaigned on a promise of stopping desegregation across the state. Kennedy responded by federalizing Alabama’s National Guard, and four hours later, the Guard commander told Governor Wallace, “Sir, it is my sad duty to ask you to step aside under the orders of the President of the United States.” Wallace did so. Less than six months later, Kennedy would be shot and killed; Lyndon Johnson shepherded the Civil Rights Act into law the following July.
The U.S. military's Middle East operations are expected to pull assets away from the Pacific, according to the latest budget request. What's going on: “For the last decade, combatant commanders for the Middle East and Asia-Pacific have found themselves competing for warships, aircraft, and surveillance assets. Decisions often favored U.S. Central Command and its need to counter Iranian-backed militias, the Taliban, ISIS, and a proliferating roster of insurgent groups. This budget year was supposed to mark the turning point,” Defense One’s Tara Copp reports. However, “the 2022 budget request shows that despite withdrawal in Afghanistan, war operations in the Middle East will continue to demand resources that might have flowed to Indo-Pacific Command.” Copp tracks several budget lines that bear that out, even as Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is pressing his department to bear down on China. Continue reading, here.
The first Hispanic person to command a U.S. Navy Aegis ship could soon be the service’s next secretary. Politico today updates weeks-long speculation to report that Cuban-born Carlos Del Toro completed his vetting process and will indeed get the nod from President Joe Biden, a nomination that could make him the second Latino to serve as the Navy’s top civilian.
POTUS44’s top weapons buyer, Frank Kendall, moved one step closer to becoming POTUS46’s first Air Force secretary. His nomination advanced along with several others out of the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday.
Other nominees who advanced with an affirmative vote from SASC Thursday include:
- Heidi Shyu to become the Defense Department’s next under secretary for research and engineering;
- Susanna Blume as director of the Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation office;
- Jill Hruby for the next administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration;
- Frank Rose as the NNSA’s principal deputy administrator;
- Deborah Rosenblum as the Pentagon’s assistant secretary for nuclear, chemical and biological defense programs;
- And Christopher Maier as assistant secretary for special operations and low-intensity conflict.
The NSA’s Gen. Nakasone is testifying this morning on Capitol Hill alongside the Defense Intelligence Agency’s Lt. Gen. Scott Berrier and Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security Ronald Moultrie. That’s happening at 11 a.m. ET before the House Armed Services Committee’s Subcommittee on Intelligence and Special Operations. Details and livestream here.
Also before noon: “Tear down that wall!” The Reagan Institute is hosting a virtual event for the 34th anniversary of President Ronald Reagan’s famous 1987 Berlin Wall speech today at 11 a.m. ET. The speech’s author, Peter Robinson, will join former National Security Advisor retired Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster in a panel discussion. Details and livestream here.
Take a closer look at how the U.S. military is experimenting with 5G cellular networking in a new interview with Marine Corps Lt. Col. Brandon Newell, the director of the Navy’s SoCal Tech Bridge. Newell leads what he calls a 5G living lab, according to Defense One’s Patrick Tucker, who spoke to Newell ahead of this month’s Defense One Tech Summit — from June 21-26.
Newell is looking at how 5G cellular connectivity across a base could enable self-driving cars, greater energy efficiency on base, and even better teaming between drones and ground robots. His next big date is June 23, when officials at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar will hold a demonstration to show how this new connectivity could shape future logistics and resupply. Read on, here.
And don’t forget to register for our Tech Summit, which begins in about two weeks. Details and registration here.
Have a safe weekend, everyone. And we’ll see you again on Monday!