Topic A: Defense
U.S. Military Prepares for Possible Conflict in Space

WDEL-FM reports that "the U.S. is preparing for a possible conflict in space as military brass fear outdated satellites are vulnerable to attack, meaning our Internet connections could crash, TV screens could go black, and modern business and banking institutions could descend into chaos."

U.S. Military Creates 'Multi-Object Kill Vehicle' to Destroy Enemy Nukes

Space.com reports that "defensive weapons that can intercept and destroy enemy missiles before they can harm the United States or its allies have been a key part of military strategy for decades, but the rules of the game are changing."

"More countries have or are developing long-range missile technology, including systems that can carry multiple warheads, known as Multiple Independently Targetable Re-entry Vehicles (MIRVs) and/or decoys."

Obama Backs Inclusion of Women in U.S. Military Draft

The Boston Herald reports that "the Obama administration declared its support yesterday for requiring women to register for the military draft, a symbolic but significant shift that reflects the U.S. military’s evolution from a male-dominated force to one seeking to incorporate women at all levels."

"President Obama has been considering whether to adopt the position since last December, when Defense Secretary Ash Carter ordered the military to open all jobs to women, including the most arduous combat posts. Ned Price, a spokesman for the White House’s National Security Council, said Obama believes women have 'proven their mettle,' including in Afghanistan and Iraq."

Trump Chooses Mattis for Defense Secretary

The New York Times reports that "President-elect Donald J. Trump said on Thursday he had chosen James N. Mattis, a hard-charging retired general who led a Marine division to Baghdad during the 2003 invasion of Iraq, to serve as his secretary of defense."

"Mr. Trump made the announcement at a rally in Cincinnati, calling General Mattis 'the closest thing we have to Gen. George Patton.'”

U.S. Military Vets Join North Dakota Pipeline Protest Camp

Reuters reports that "hundreds of U.S. military veterans on Friday have been arriving at a protest camp in North Dakota where thousands of activists, braving frigid conditions, are demonstrating against a pipeline project near a Native American reservation."

"Veterans Stand for Standing Rock will spend the day building a barracks at the Oceti Sakowin camp near Cannon Ball and coordinating with protesters who have spent months rallying against plans to route the Dakota Access Pipeline beneath a lake near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation, organizers said."

Gen. Joseph Dunford: Joint Force Needs to Integrate US Military Capabilities

ExecutiveGov reports that "Marine Corps Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has said the joint force needs to integrate all components of national power and U.S. military capabilities worldwide amid security threats associated with what he calls the 'four-plus-one' model, DoD News reported Thursday."

"Jim Garamone writes Dunford said at a Center for the National Interest-hosted event in New York that the four-plus-one framework includes threats related to Russia, North Korea, Iran, China and violent extremism."

Taiwan: Ministry Welcomes Bill for Taiwan-U.S. Military Exchanges

The Taipei Times reports that "The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday welcomed the US Senate’s and the US House of Representatives’ call for military exchanges between senior Taiwanese and US officials in the US National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for the 2017 fiscal year, expressing gratitude to the US Congress for its continuous efforts to promote military cooperation between Taiwan and the US."

“'Such words were already included in the two houses’ separate versions of the NDAA for next year when they deliberated in the first half of this year,' ministry spokeswoman Eleanor Wang said."

How Much Do U.S. Military Troops Make?

The International Business Times reports that "America’s armed servicemen and women could receive their largest pay raise in five years under a congressional bill that seeks to override President Barack Obama’s more limited orders for defense spending in fiscal year 2017, which began Oct. 1, and would leave room for 'a new president' to beef up the military budget within his first year in office."

"The 2017 National Defense Authorization Act, which Congress unveiled Tuesday, would increase troops’ pay by 2.1 percent—ahead of Obama’s planned 1.6 percent—giving members of the armed forces their first raise above 2 percent since 2011. That brings baseline salaries for enlisted service members up to nearly $19,194 from $19,099 under Obama’s budget plan. Highest-paid officers will receive more than $242,130 annual from Obama’s planned $240,944."

U.S. Military Edge over Russia, China Focus on Air

Business Insider reports that "since World War II, the US has dominated the skies in any region in which it wishes to project power — but recent competition from countries like Russia and China threaten to erode that edge, and only a small group of elite pilots maintain the US's edge in air superiority."

"Russia has deployed powerful missile-defense batteries to Syria and its European enclave of Kaliningrad. The US Air Force can't operate in those domains without severe risk. US President Barack Obama himself has acknowledged that these missile deployments greatly complicate and limit the US's options to project power in Syria."

Compromise Reached on U.S. Defense Bill

Reuters reports that "a compromise version of a massive U.S. defense policy bill omits controversial provisions such as a clause Democrats said allowed discrimination against homosexuals and a requirement that women register for the draft."

"The $618.7 billion National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA, will likely come up for a vote in the House of Representatives late this week, and the Senate next week, senior committee staff members told reporters at a background briefing on Tuesday."

Why Trump Is Interviewing Generals for Cabinet

Time reports: "The benefit of their experience may be offset by a military-centric foreign policy."

"Many of the latest administration try-outs turnstiling through Trump Tower over the three weeks since Donald Trump’s election couldn’t be blamed for rendering sharp salutes to the soon-to-be command-in-chief. After all, that’s what they did during their decades in uniform."

Army to Review Las Vegas Hockey Team’s Use of Golden Knights

The Las Vegas Sun reports that "a National Hockey League expansion team that plans to call itself the Golden Knights has caught the attention of Army officials because of the parachute team that goes by the same name."

"The Vegas Golden Knights, who begin play next year, announced their moniker last Tuesday."

Obama Visits the Wounded at Walter Reed

The New York Times reports that "on Tuesday, for his 23rd and probably last time as president, Mr. Obama traveled to the military hospital to spend an afternoon with the wounded from Afghanistan and Iraq. Because of the weather, he arrived in a motorcade, not his usual helicopter, but otherwise, his visit unfolded much as Major Haynes and hospital officials describe the ones he has paid before."

"With a minimum of ceremony, the president’s motorcade pulled up to a side entrance, where a military aide met him with the latest update on the conditions of those he was about to see. He then climbed four flights of stairs to 4 West and 4 Center, known as the soldiers ward. After greeting the doctors and nurses on duty, he began his rounds, eventually meeting 13 soldiers and awarding 12 Purple Hearts."

US military prepares for the next frontier: Space war

CNN reports: "Since man first explored space, it has been a largely peaceful environment. But now US adversaries are deploying weapons beyond Earth's atmosphere, leading the US military to prepare for the frightening prospect of war in space."

"'As humans go out there, there has always been conflict. Conflict in the Wild West as we move in the West... conflict twice in Europe for its horrible world wars,' Gen. John Hyten, head of US Strategic Command, told CNN. 'So, every time humans actually physically move into that, there's conflict, and in that case, we'll have to be prepared for that.'"

Iran calls U.S. military behavior in Gulf 'unprofessional'

Reuters reports that "the U.S. military presence in the Gulf poses the main risk of conflict in the region, an Iranian military official said on Tuesday after Washington said an Iranian vessel had pointed its weapon at a U.S. helicopter in the strategic Strait of Hormuz."

"Two U.S. defense officials told Reuters on Monday that a small vessel operated by Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) trained its weapon on a Navy MH-60 helicopter on Saturday as it flew within half a mile (0.8 km) of two Iranian vessels in international waters."