3 July, 2018 07:56

Good morning, Legionnaires and veterans advocates, today is Tuesday, July 3, 2018, which is American Redneck Day, Disobedience Day, National Eat Beans Day and Stay Out of the Sun Day.

NOTE: National and Department Headquarters be closed tomorrow for the Independence Day holiday but back to work on Thursday. Hope you have a safe and happy Fourth of July!

Tomorrow in American Legion History:

· July 4, 1919: Issue 1, No. 1 of The American Legion Weekly magazine is published. The introductory column is written by Gen. John “Black Jack” Pershing. George A. White, one of the four officers who met with Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., in January to begin plans for the organization, is identified as founder of the publication. “The Legion is destined to be of tremendous value in fostering the ideals and purposes for which we fought,” Pershing writes in the original issue.

Today in History:

· 1863: On the third day of the Battle of Gettysburg, Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s last attempt at breaking the Union line ends in disastrous failure, bringing the most decisive battle of the American Civil War to an end.

· On this day in 1775, George Washington rides out in front of the American troops gathered at Cambridge common in Massachusetts and draws his sword, formally taking command of the Continental Army. Washington, a prominent Virginia planter and veteran of the French and Indian War, had been appointed commander in chief by the Continental Congress two weeks before. In agreeing to serve the American colonies in their war for independence, he declined to accept payment for his services beyond reimbursement of future expenses.

· 1890: Idaho, the last of the 50 states to be explored by whites, is admitted to the union.

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

· Stars & Stripes: Fears over North Korea’s nuclear intentions increase pressure on Trump to nail down details

· New York Times: Trump warns NATO allies to spend more on defense, or else

· Stars & Stripes: Former Army Europe boss: Pulling US troops from Germany would be a big win for Russia

· Fifth Domain: Does DoD know how to supply intel for cyber ops?

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Stars & Stripes:Fears over North Korea’s nuclear intentions increase pressure on Trump to nail down details

By KIM GAMEL | STARS AND STRIPES | Published: July 2, 2018

SEOUL, South Korea — Recent revelations suggesting that North Korea is pressing forward with its nuclear missile program increase pressure on the Trump administration to wrest concrete concessions and denuclearization timelines from the communist state.

A series of news reports, based on anonymous intelligence officials and satellite images, have added fodder to criticism that President Donald Trump gave away too much too soon in his unprecedented summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Skeptics say the North has no intention of giving up its hard-won gains in developing a nuclear weapon that could target the U.S. mainland and is trying to buy time to persuade Washington to ease punishing economic sanctions that have begun to bite.

The reports have emerged as the State Department announced that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo would arrive in the North Korean capital Pyongyang on Friday to resume negotiations three weeks after Trump met with the North Korean leader in Singapore.

In a sign the two sides are stepping up diplomacy, the U.S. ambassador to the Philippines, Sung Kim, led a delegation to the tense border area on Sunday in the highest-level meeting with the North since the June 12 summit.

U.S. officials “met with North Korean counterparts in Panmunjom to discuss next steps on the implementation” of the declaration, a U.S. Embassy official said.

“Our goal remains the final, fully-verified denuclearization of the DPRK, as agreed to by Chairman Kim in Singapore,” the official said in an emailed statement, which referred to the initials of North Korea’s official name: the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

The wording dropped the usual reference to the “complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization.”

South Korean media reported that the North Korean delegation to the hourlong talks was led by Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui.

Diplomatic gains have been marred by U.S. intelligence and satellite images suggesting that the North is moving ahead with its nuclear weapons programs despite Kim’s summit promise to work toward the “complete denuclearization” of the divided peninsula.

The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday that new satellite images show the North is completing a major expansion of a plant that makes solid-fuel ballistic missiles and re-entry vehicles for warheads that could potentially be used to strike the United States.

It cited images analyzed by the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, Calif., as showing that the North was finishing construction on the exterior of the Hamhung plant around the same time as the June 12 summit in Singapore.

U.S. intelligence officials also have obtained evidence that the North is considering ways to conceal the number of weapons it has and its secret production facilities, according to The Washington Post.

Sen. Susan Collins, a Maine Republican, called the report very troubling.

“North Korea has a long history of cheating on agreements that it’s made with previous administrations,” she said in an interview with CNN’s “State of the Union.”

“There’s no doubt that, in order to achieve that goal, we need verifiable, unimpeded, reliable inspections. And without those inspections, we can have no guarantee that North Korea is not cheating again.”

Other commercial satellite images reported last week by the monitoring website 38 North show that Pyongyang is rapidly upgrading its main nuclear complex at Yongbyon.

Given North Korea’s long history of deception, such reports are likely to raise more questions about exactly what was achieved at Singapore.

The U.S. administration insists it has a plan for rapid denuclearization of the North and has defended the diplomatic process, which has tamped down tensions after more than a year of missile and nuclear tests and saber rattling that raised fears of a new war.

The president — who tweeted after the summit that “there is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea” — said in an interview broadcast Sunday that he believes Kim is sincere, although he acknowledged a deal may not work out.

“I made a deal with him; I shook hands with him. I really believe he means it,” Trump told Fox News. “Now is it possible? Have I been in deals, have been in things where, people didn’t work out? It’s possible.”

National security adviser John Bolton, meanwhile, said that the North’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs could be dismantled within a year — a timeline that stands in contrast with the conclusions of many experts who say it would take several years even under the best of circumstances.

“I’m sure that the secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, will be discussing this with the North Koreans in the near future,” Bolton said Sunday on the CBS news program “Face the Nation.” “If they have the strategic decision already made to do that and they’re cooperative, we can move very quickly.”

Bolton also conceded that the speed of denuclearization depends on North Korea’s cooperation — which is a wild card.

John Delury, a Korea specialist at Seoul’s Yonsei University, pointed out that Kim didn’t make any specific promises during the summit.

“This is not like North Korea cheating or deceiving the U.S. because they’ve made no commitments. They didn’t even commit to freezing the program,” he said.

He pointed out that Kim has made a series of appearances in recent days focusing on economic ventures. The 30-something leader has declared his country a nuclear power, allowing it to move forward with development.

“We’re looking at the tail end of this major push on the nuclear missile program and economic development,” he said, adding it may also be an effort to increase leverage ahead of more detailed negotiations.

“It’s kind of like increasing the price tag,” he said. “It’s like when you’re about to sell your house, you do a flurry of renovations before the sellers come to take a look because you’re trying to jack up the price.”

Trump and Kim signed a four-point declaration after the summit, which included the denuclearization agreement, a commitment to establish new bilateral relations and joint efforts to build “a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula.”

They also agreed to the recovery of remains of thousands of U.S. servicemembers still missing from the 1950-53 Korean War and “the immediate repatriation of those already identified.”

No remains have been returned nearly three weeks after the summit, although the United Nations Command has moved coffins to the border among other preparations.

New York Times: Trump warns NATO allies to spend more on defense, or else

By Julie Hirschfeld Davis | July 2, 2018

WASHINGTON — President Trump has written sharply worded letters to the leaders of several NATO allies — including Germany, Belgium, Norway and Canada — taking them to task for spending too little on their own defense and warning that the United States is losing patience with what he said was their failure to meet security obligations shared by the alliance.

The letters, sent in June, are the latest sign of acrimony between Mr. Trump and American allies as he heads to a NATO summit meeting next week in Brussels that will be a closely watched test of the president’s commitment to the alliance. Mr. Trump has repeatedly questioned its value and has claimed that its members are taking advantage of the United States.

Mr. Trump’s criticism raised the prospect of another confrontation involving the president and American allies after a blowup by Mr. Trump at the Group of 7 gathering last month in Quebec, and increased concerns that far from projecting solidarity in the face of threats from Russia, the meeting will highlight divisions within the alliance. Such a result could play into the hands of President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, who is to meet with Mr. Trump in Helsinki, Finland, after the NATO meeting, and whose primary goal is sowing divisions within the alliance.

In his letters, the president hinted that after more than a year of public and private complaints that allies have not done enough to share the burden of collective defense, he may be considering a response, including adjusting the United States’ military presence around the world.

“As we discussed during your visit in April, there is growing frustration in the United States that some allies have not stepped up as promised,” Mr. Trump wrote to Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany in a particularly pointed letter, according to someone who saw it and shared excerpts with The New York Times. “The United States continues to devote more resources to the defense of Europe when the Continent’s economy, including Germany’s, are doing well and security challenges abound. This is no longer sustainable for us.”

“Growing frustration,” Mr. Trump wrote, “is not confined to our executive branch. The United States Congress is concerned, as well.”

The president’s complaint is that many NATO allies are not living up to the commitment they made at their Wales summit meeting in 2014 to spend 2 percent of their gross domestic product on national defense. American presidents have long complained about the lack of burden-sharing by NATO member countries, but Mr. Trump has taken that criticism much further, claiming that some of the United States’ closest allies are essentially deadbeats who have failed to pay debts to the organization, a fundamental misunderstanding of how it functions.

The Trump administration has already reportedly been analyzing a large-scale withdrawal of American forces from Germany, after Mr. Trump expressed surprise that 35,000 active-duty troops are stationed there and complained that NATO countries were not contributing enough to the alliance.

In the letter, Mr. Trump told Ms. Merkel that Germany also deserves blame for the failure of other NATO countries to spend enough: “Continued German underspending on defense undermines the security of the alliance and provides validation for other allies that also do not plan to meet their military spending commitments, because others see you as a role model.”

In language that is echoed in his letters to the leaders of other countries — including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada, Prime Minister Erna Solberg of Norway and Prime Minister Charles Michel of Belgium — Mr. Trump said he understands the “domestic political pressure” brought to bear by opponents of boosting military expenditures, noting that he has expended “considerable political capital to increase our own military spending.”

“It will, however, become increasingly difficult to justify to American citizens why some countries do not share NATO’s collective security burden while American soldiers continue to sacrifice their lives overseas or come home gravely wounded,” Mr. Trump wrote to Ms. Merkel.

Mr. Michel reacted tartly last week to the letter, telling reporters at a European Union summit meeting in Brussels that he was “not very impressed” by it, according to a report by Deutsche Welle.

Mr. Trump has long complained about the alliance and routinely grouses that the United States is treated shabbily by multilateral organizations of which it is a member, be it the World Trade Organization or the North Atlantic alliance. But in Europe, the letters to NATO allies have been greeted with some degree of alarm because of their suggestion that Mr. Trump is prepared to impose consequences on the allies — as he has done in an escalating tariff fight with European trading partners — if they do not do what he is asking.

“Trump still seems to think that NATO is like a club that you owe dues to, or some sort of protection racket where the U.S. is doing all the work protecting all these deadbeat Europeans while they’re sitting around on vacation, and now he is suggesting there are consequences,” said Derek Chollet, a former Defense Department official who is the executive vice president for security and defense policy at the German Marshall Fund of the United States.

“Europeans have been watching Donald Trump begin to implement his rhetoric on trade in ways that are very combative,” he said, “and they’re starting to contemplate whether he would do this regarding security issues, as well.”

Mr. Trump’s letter to Mr. Trudeau was reported last month by iPolitics in Canada, and the existence of others was reported last week by Foreign Policy. It was not clear precisely how many Mr. Trump wrote, and the White House would not comment on presidential correspondence. But two diplomatic sources said they believed at least a dozen were sent, including to Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain.

A White House official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to discuss the matter, said that Mr. Trump is committed to the NATO alliance and expects allies to shoulder “their fair share of our common defense burden, and to do more in areas that most affect them.”

John R. Bolton, Mr. Trump’s national security adviser, said Sunday that it was NATO members who refused to spend more on defense — not the president — who were responsible for undercutting the alliance.

“The president wants a strong NATO,” Mr. Bolton said in an interview on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “If you think Russia’s a threat, ask yourself this question: Why is Germany spending less than 1.2 percent of its G.N.P.? When people talk about undermining the NATO alliance, you should look at those who are carrying out steps that make NATO less effective militarily.”

But for diplomats hoping fervently to avoid another high-profile summit meeting collapse with Mr. Trump as the instigator, the letters were concerning.

“Europeans, like many folks in our Defense Department, think that there are many good things that could come out of this summit if only they can keep it from going off the rails,” Mr. Chollet said. “They are hoping to survive without irreparable damage, and so the fact that you have all these storm clouds surrounding NATO and Trump is really worrisome.”

Mr. Trump’s disparagement of Europe and the alliance has become almost routine, leaving some veteran diplomats aghast. Last week, Jim Melville, the United States ambassador to Estonia, told friends and colleagues that he would resign at the end of this month after more than 30 years in the Foreign Service, in part because of the president’s language.

“For the President to say the E.U. was ‘set up to take advantage of the United States, to attack our piggy bank,’ or that ‘NATO is as bad as NAFTA’ is not only factually wrong, but proves to me that it’s time to go,” Mr. Melville wrote in a Facebook post. He was referring to remarks about Europe that the president made during a rally last week in Fargo, N.D., and comments about NATO that he is reported to have made privately during the Group of 7 gathering.

Still, the president is not alone in demanding more robust military spending by NATO allies.

Jim Mattis, the secretary of defense, wrote to Gavin Williamson, the British defense minister, last month saying he was “concerned” that the United Kingdom’s military strength was “at risk of erosion” if it did not increase spending, and warned that France could eclipse Britain as the United States’ “partner of choice” if it did not invest more. A United States official confirmed the contents of Mr. Mattis’s letter, first reported by The Sun.

Stars & Stripes: Former Army Europe boss: Pulling US troops from Germany would be a big win for Russia

By JOHN VANDIVER | STARS AND STRIPES | Published: July 2, 2018

STUTTGART, Germany — A large military drawdown in Germany would be a “colossal mistake,” says the former top Army commander in Europe about a possible scaling back of the U.S. presence on the Continent, at a time when Russia has become more assertive.

“We need what Germany gives us in terms of basing and access and the chance to train and prepare from excellent fixed installations and facilities,” said retired Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, who commanded U.S. Army Europe until late last year.

There are now about 32,000 permanently stationed American troops in Germany, which hosted the majority of the 300,000 troops stationed in Europe during the Cold War.

The Washington Post reported on Friday that the Pentagon is analyzing the cost and effects of returning some or all troops in Germany to the U.S. and possibly sending some to Poland instead. The review began after President Donald Trump, who is at odds with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on a range of issues, expressed interest in withdrawing U.S. forces.

To pull out en masse would “throw away 70 years of effort and investment by allies as well as multiple administrations, Republican and Democrat,” Hodges said in an interview with Stars and Stripes. He expressed confidence that Pentagon planners would agree to keep troop levels in Germany on the current scale.

The Pentagon analysis is in the early stages, but word of the review comes a week before Trump heads to a meeting of NATO heads of state in Brussels. Trump’s ambivalence about maintaining a large number of servicemembers in Germany adds another twist to what is already expected to be the most contentious NATO summit in years. Trump is expected at the summit to pressure allies he says don’t spend enough on defense.

“If this is just a negotiating tactic, then it is putting unnecessary strain on our alliance, the most successful alliance in the history of the world,” Hodges said. “The big winner in this sort of situation is (Russian President Vladimir) Putin.”

John R. Deni, an expert on European security at the U.S. Army War College, said a major force reduction in Germany would carry a large one-time expense. It could also have higher annual recurring costs over time versus maintenance of current troop levels, he said.

A 2017 study by Deni argued that large continuous troop rotations from the U.S. to Europe cost more than forward basing units.

“More importantly, large-scale redeployment of U.S. troops in Germany would likely embolden Russia in terms of its adventurist, intimidating foreign policy, and make European countries more likely to side with Moscow in any number of diplomatic and political issues that matter to the United States,” Deni told Stars and Stripes.

Such a move would also “undermine our major comparative advantage vis-a-vis Russia and China — namely, our alliances — at a time when, frankly, we’re already in an undeclared cyberwar with Russia, and in many ways we’re losing a strategic competition with China,” Deni said.

Hodges expressed confidence that “very smart and hard-working professionals” at the Pentagon were making the case for maintaining the U.S. military presence in Europe.

During the past three years, increased defense spending and troop rotations reflect “the recognition by the American people, if not by this administration, that European security and stability is essential to our own security and stability and prosperity.”

The last major reduction of U.S. troops in Germany was in 2012. However, Russia’s 2014 intervention in Ukraine altered the security landscape, leading the U.S. to reinvigorate the Europe mission.

The Pentagon’s latest force structure review also comes as Poland is pushing hard for more U.S. troops. Warsaw has proposed spending as much as $2 billion to pay for a permanent U.S. base in the country.

The Pentagon analysis will look at the possibility of moving more military assets into Poland as well as returning troops to the United States.

The U.S. already has a large mission in Poland. An armored brigade, a U.S.-led battle group and an Air Force detachment all are on year-round rotations in the country.

Hodges said he favors rotational forces over permanently basing troops in Poland, which he said would chip at alliance unity. Many allies, notably Germany and France, oppose setting up permanent bases in Poland, which they say would further heighten tensions with Russia.

“I am not worried about provoking the Russians, but other allies will be,” Hodges said. “It is important to do this in a way where the whole alliance agrees or we don’t do it.”

He said he was concerned the White House “might move out without consultation with other allies and make a bilateral decision.”

“It is such an important thing; it would change the nature of the posture and profile of forces in eastern Europe,” he said, adding that rotational forces operate at a higher state of combat readiness than permanent units.

Deni, however, is a proponent of sending at least some troops from the United States to Poland on a permanent basis, which he says would concentrate more firepower in a region. An armored brigade accompanied by a range of enabling assets, such as intelligence units and electronic warfare capabilities, would be a more effective deterrent to Russian aggression if permanently stationed in Poland, he said.

But a total withdrawal from Germany accompanied by a return stateside would amount to a near abandonment of the military effort in Europe. Germany is home to Ramstein Air Base, Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, two combatant commands and logistics and infantry units. Bases in Germany also are launching pads for missions in Africa and the Middle East.

“All of this is essential to the U.S. national defense strategy,” Hodges said. “We shouldn’t take that for granted.”

Fifth Domain: Does DoD know how to supply intel for cyber ops?

By: Mark Pomerleau | 18 hours ago

Cyber has been an official domain of warfare for nearly a decade, yet the Department of Defense is still learning how to integrate it with operations. And some members of Congress are concerned the traditional military intelligence organs to this day don’t understand intel support to cyber ops.

The House Armed Services Committee is directing that a briefing on the subject must take place by December 1, 2018. The briefing — delivered by the under secretary of defense for intelligence, in coordination with the Defense Intelligence Agency and the military services — is expected, according to a provision in the committee’s annual defense policy bill, to address multiple issues, including:

· Efforts to standardize a common military doctrine for intelligence preparation of the battlefield for cyber operations;

· Efforts to develop all-source intelligence analysts with the capability to support cyber operations; and

· Efforts to resource intelligence analysis support elements at U.S. Cyber Command and the service cyber components.

“The committee is concerned about the Defense Intelligence Enterprise’s ability to provide the cyber community with all-source intelligence support, consistent with the support provided to operations in other domains,” the provision, called an “item of special interest,” says.

In some cases, other intelligence disciplines, such as human intelligence or signals intelligence, might be needed to help enable a cyber operation. A committee aide noted that the goal is to get DoD to think about cyber operations just as operations in any domain and build the infrastructure to support that.

According to Gus Hunt, Accenture Federal Services cyber strategy lead, cyber as a domain is really no different than the others from an intelligence support perspective.

The objective of intelligence, he told Fifth Domain in a recent interview, is to ensure it provides timely information about the adversary, who they are, the status of their capabilities and any information about the threats that are there.

“I think what you’re seeing … is that people are asking the question are we appropriately structured or resourced and focused to be as effective as we possibly can in this new realm of cyber and cyber operations,” Hunt, who previously served as the chief technology officer at the CIA, said.

“Because they’re asking the question, I think the obvious answer is … we’re not structured as effectively as we possibly can be … [but] it’s really good that people are sitting there asking.”

The Army is experiencing similar problems, especially when it comes to experimenting with force structure changes and bringing cyber effects to the tactical edge, which currently don’t exist.

“We’re not seeing a corresponding growth in the intel organizational structure with the cyber and” electronic warfare, Lt. Col. Chris Walls, deputy division chief for strategy and policy in the cyber directorate of the Department of the Army G-3/5/7, said at the C4ISRNET conference in May.

“The existing intel force structure is really going to be stressed when we put this EW and cyber capability into the field unless they have a corresponding growth and capability as well,” Walls said of tactical cyber effects and teams.

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