The D Brief: US to end combat role in Iraq; Warfighting concept ‘failed miserably’; Austin vows to help Taiwan; VA to require staff vaccinations; And a bit more...

Pentagon revising its joint warfighting concept. A brutal loss in a wargaming exercise last October convinced the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. John Hyten to scrap the joint warfighting concept that had guided U.S. military operations for decades, Defense One’s Tara Copp reports.

“Without overstating the issue, it failed miserably,” Hyten told an audience Monday at a National Defense Industrial Association event. “An aggressive red team that had been studying the United States for the last 20 years just ran rings around us. They knew exactly what we're going to do before we did it.” 

Among the game’s lessons: first, the U.S. doctrine of massing forces is a recipe for 21st-century defeat; second, the networks that define modern American warfare disappeared almost instantly once combat began.

In response, the Joint Chiefs have since October been shifting the U.S. military to a new concept of warfighting operations they call “Expanded Maneuver.” Hyten wants the U.S. military to be ready to fight under the new operating concept by 2030, using many of today’s weapons, aircraft, and ships.

Earlier this month, Hyten released four directives to the services: one each for contested logistics; joint fires; Joint All-Domain Command and Control, or JADC2; and information advantage. On Monday, he revealed new details about these “functional battles.” Read more about them, here.

From Defense One

VA Mandates Vaccines for Health Care Workers // Courtney Bublé: “It’s the best way to keep veterans safe, especially as the Delta variant spreads across the country,” said VA Secretary Denis McDonough.

‘We Will Not Flinch’: Austin Promises US Will Continue to Bolster Taiwan’s Self-Defense // Tara Copp: In Singapore, defense secretary chides Beijing for “aggression...coercion...genocide” but says he wants a “constructive, stable relationship with China.”

‘It Failed Miserably’: After Wargaming Loss, Joint Chiefs Are Overhauling How the US Military Will Fight // Tara Copp: In a fake battle for Taiwan, U.S. forces lost network access almost immediately. Hyten has issued four directives to help change that.

US Will End Combat Mission In Iraq, Biden Says // Tara Copp and Jacqueline Feldscher: US needs to 'divert more of our body on threats in China and Russia,' says Joint Chiefs Vice Chairman Gen. Hyten

Lockheed Loses $225M on Secret Project, Lowers F-35 Production Forecast // Marcus Weisgerber: Company will press ahead on aeronautics project in hopes of turning it into a profitable production program.

Welcome to this Tuesday edition of The D Brief from Bradley Peniston and Jennifer Hlad. If you’re not already subscribed to The D Brief, you can do that here. On this day in 1942, Allied forces halted the Axis drive on Egypt at the first Battle of El Alamein.

The U.S. will continue to help Taiwan defend itself, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told an audience in Singapore, the first stop of an Asia trip that will include stops in Vietnam and the Philippines. “We will not flinch when our interests are threatened, yet we do not seek confrontation,” Austin said.

Austin declined to say whether he agrees with former Indo-Pacific Command chief Adm. Phil Davidson’s belief that China is likely to attempt to seize Taiwan as early as 2027. But, Austin said, “We’ll stay focused on helping Taiwan to defend itself or having the capabilities to defend itself going forward.”  Defense One’s Copp has more, here

Read: Joint statement from Austin and Singapore’s defense minister: 

Elsewhere in the region: Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman visited China this week, marking what the Washington Post called “a small thaw in tense relations.” 

Food for thought: CBSA report says a “neighborhood watch” approach by U.S. allies and partners could keep a close and deterring eye on China. Read, here

Inside China’s largest detention center. AP journalists recently received the first onsite look at Urumqi No. 3 Detention Center in Dabancheng, which they estimate could hold 10,000 or more people. “Satellite imagery shows that new buildings stretching almost a mile long were added to the Dabancheng detention facility in 2019,” AP reported. “This site suggests that China still holds and plans to hold vast numbers of Uyghurs and other mostly Muslim minorities in detention.” 

The prison is part of Beijing’s reaction to “a series of knifings and bombings by a small number of extremist Uyghurs native to Xinjiang,” AP reported.

Chinese officials long denied such prisons existed, then said all the occupants had “graduated.” But AP reporting shows that “some like this one were simply converted into prisons or pre-trial detention facilities. Many new facilities have also been built, including a new 85-acre detention center down the road from No. 3 in Dabancheng that went up over 2019, satellite imagery shows.” Read on, here.

And back in the U.S.: “A bipartisan group of House lawmakers is introducing a measure to trigger a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in China, over allegations that the country is committing genocide against its Uyghur and other Turkic Muslim minority groups,” ABC News reports.

North and South Korea are talking again. New York Times: “North and South Korea on Tuesday reopened ​military and other diplomatic communication hotlines after a hiatus of nearly 14 months, as the North said it wanted to improve ties “as early as possible” amid a deepening economic crisis.”

Kendall confirmed as Air Force Secretary. Frank Kendall’s nomination seemed on track after a breezy May 25 hearing. But then a senator from Michigan, angered that the Air Force decided not to put an F-35 training center in the state, held up Kendall’s confirmation until he promised to keep A-10s flying at Selfridge AFB. Air Force Magazine has more, here.

Kendall was the last defense undersecretary for acquisition, technology, and logistics; after he left in 2016, Congress divided the job into two: acquisition and sustainment. 

VA healthcare workers required to get COVID-19 vaccine.“The Veterans Affairs Department announced on Monday it will require all frontline healthcare workers to get vaccinated, making it the first federal agency to issue any sort of coronavirus vaccine mandate,” GovExec’s Courtney Bublé reported Monday. 

Lastly today: Was war in Afghanistan a mistake? Almost half of Americans say yes, according to a new poll from Gallup. The Hill: “The poll, conducted between July 6 and July 21, was the second time in history that fewer than half of Americans said U.S. involvement in Afghanistan was not a mistake, according to Gallup.”