Topic A: Defense
Petroleum Product Supplier Chosen for U.S. Military

UPI reports that "SAIC is to supply chemicals, packaged petroleum and other products to the U.S. military under a contract from the Defense Logistics Agency."

"The single award, indefinite-quantity contract for chemicals, packaged petroleum, oils, and lubricants has a five-year base period with one three-year option and one two-year option."

Pentagon Puts AI at Center of Defense Strategy

The New York Times reports that "Almost unnoticed outside defense circles, the Pentagon has put artificial intelligence at the center of its strategy to maintain the United States’ position as the world’s dominant military power. It is spending billions of dollars to develop what it calls autonomous and semiautonomous weapons and to build an arsenal stocked with the kind of weaponry that until now has existed only in Hollywood movies and science fiction, raising alarm among scientists and activists concerned by the implications of a robot arms race."

Philippine President Wants U.S. Troops to Leave ‘in Two Years’

The Washington Post reports that "Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said Wednesday he wanted American troops out of his country, perhaps in the next two years, underlining his intention to press ahead with a major realignment of his country’s foreign and security policies."

"It is not the first time Duterte has made this kind of threat, but his two-year timetable for a U.S. military exit appeared designed to reinforce his break-the-mold message to Washington and neighbors in Asia, particularly powerhouse China."

'Cold War 2.0: How Russia and West Reheated Historic Struggle

The Independent (UK) reports that "warnings of a return to cold war politics have been a staple of European debate for three years, but in recent weeks many western diplomats, politicians and analysts have come to believe the spring has indeed been released. Russia is being reassessed across western capitals. The talk is no longer of transition to a liberal democracy, but regression."

"The post-cold war era is over, and a new era has begun. Cold war 2.0, different in character, but potentially as menacing and founded not just on competing interests but competing values."

U.S. Special Operators Accelerate Killings of ISIS Leaders

Defense One reports that "U.S. special operators in northern Iraq and Syria are killing Islamic State leaders at a faster pace, disrupting the organization’s defense of Mosul and, more importantly to Pentagon leaders, their ability to plot attacks against the United States and other targets outside the region."

U.S. Preps for More Training of Iraqi Troops After Mosul reports that "he fall of Mosul will set in motion yet another training cycle for the Iraqi Security Forces and a return to the counter-insurgency strategy that will keep U.S. troops in Iraq indefinitely, according to U.S. military officials."

"The battle for Mosul 'will not be the last stand"' in Iraq for Daesh, an Arabic acronym for the Islamic state of Iraq and Syria, a U.S. military official who spoke on grounds of anonymity said last Friday. 'Clearing Mosul of Daesh will not be the end of Daesh and will not mark their military defeat,'� the official said."

Russians Conduct Nuclear-Bomb Survival Drills as Cold War Heats Up

The Wall Street Journal reports that "Russian authorities have stepped up nuclear-war survival measures amid a showdown with Washington, dusting off Soviet-era civil-defense plans and upgrading bomb shelters in the biggest cities."

"At the Kremlin’s Ministry of Emergency Situations, the Cold War is back."

U.S. General Concerned About State of Afghan Security Forces

NBC News reports that "the U.S. general in charge of the war in Afghanistan is very concerned about casualty rates among Afghan Security Forces, and he says some of the fault lies directly with the Afghan leadership."

"'We are very concerned about the casualty rate,' Army General John Nicholson said Sunday, explaining that last year the Afghans suffered high casualties and this year it has been 'the same or slightly higher.'"

Report: U.S. Soldiers Told to Repay Thousands In Signing Bonuses

The Los Angeles Times reports that "short of troops to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan a decade ago, the California National Guard enticed thousands of soldiers with bonuses of $15,000 or more to reenlist and go to war."

"Now the Pentagon is demanding the money back."

White House, DOD Salute Companies' Commitment to Hire Military Spouses

The U.S. Air Force reports that "employers who hire military spouses are doing the right thing for their businesses -- and for the country, speakers at a Department of Defense Military Spouse Employment Partnership event said this week."

"White House and Defense Department officials, business representatives and military spouses were among those who attended the Oct. 17 induction of 50 employers to the MSEP program -- the largest induction class since the initiative was launched five years ago."

U.S. Reportedly Weighs Deploying B-52s, F-22s to South Korea reports that "Defense Secretary Ashton Carter met with his South Korean counterpart Thursday to discuss 'extended deterrence' against North Korea that could include the permanent stationing of B-52 Stratofortress and B-1B Lancer bombers and F-22 Raptor fighters on the peninsula."

"The two leaders also renewed their commitment to placing the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense anti-missile system in South Korea but gave no timeline for when it would be activated."

UK Defense Secretary Says Its Military is Hacking Islamic State

U.S. News & World Report writes that "U.K. Defense Secretary Michael Fallon said Thursday that Britain's military is launching cyberattacks against the Islamic State group in support of the offensive on the Iraqi city of Mosul, a first-of-its kind acknowledgement that British forces are launching attacks across the internet."

"'I can confirm we are using offensive cyber for the first time in this campaign,' Fallon said in response to a question from a journalist at a conference on 'The Transformation of 21st Century Warfare' in central London."

Top Military Doctor Troubled By Overweight Troop Trend

Military Times reports that "the growing ranks of overweight troops is a worrisome trend and the Defense Department should look for ways to help today’s force live a healthier lifestyle, the Pentagon’s top health official said Thursday."

“'I am concerned,' Vice Adm. Raquel Bono, director of the Defense Health Agency, told reporters on Thursday."

Three Quarters Of American Public Trust Military To Act In The Public Interest

The Daily Caller reports that "most Americans trust the U.S. military to act in the public interest, a feeling that emphatically does not extend to other sectors of American life, such as the media or politicians, a new study finds."

"The amount of support for the military is broken down into two categories: 'great deal' and 'fair amount' of confidence in the military in a new study by Pew Research Center. About 33 percent of Americans place themselves in this first category, while 46 percent adhere to the second, which totals 79 percent, a sizable majority. This figure is consistent with a Pew survey from 2013, which found that 78 percent of Americans believe the military contributes 'a lot' to society, though that figure had declined from 84 percent just four years prior to 2013."

U.S. Army, Tufts Study How People Think, Act Under Stress

The Associated Press reports that "the U.S. Army and Tufts University are working together to learn more about how people think and respond under stress."

"Their new cognitive sciences center officially opened Tuesday in Medford, Massachusetts. The research aims to help soldiers and civilian first responders, such as firefighters."