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NSN's Budget Report Cited in Politico's Morning Defense

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News Politico 6 October 2011

Military Military Defense Budget

By Charles Hoskinson

NATO DEFENSE MINISTERS RESUME DISCUSSIONS TODAY in Brussels amid reports of divisions in the alliance on when to end the bombing campaign in Libya. The Los Angeles Times quotes officials as saying the dispute centers on whether the air campaign should be halted immediately or continue until ousted dictator Muammar al-Qadhafi is captured and the remnants of his forces defeated. "There are some that feel that we have done about all we can do," a senior NATO official told the Times on condition of anonymity. "There are others who think [ending] the operation would be a signal to the remnants of the [Qadhafi] regime that the [new Libyan leadership] is on its own now, and they should fight back." Read the story here:

FOR THE RECORD, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told reporters Wednesday, "the termination of the operation is not dependent on Colonel Qadhafi. Actually, he is not a target of our operation. The decisive factor will be the protection of the civilian population."

AND FRENCH DEFENSE MINISTER Gerard Longuet says today the airstrikes will not cease until all remaining pockets of resistance are suppressed and Libya's new government asks for them to end.

ON THE SIDELINES OF THE NATO MEETING, Panetta and Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero announced Wednesday that Spain will host four U.S. warships armed with the Aegis missile defense system at Rota. This announcement should send a very strong signal that the United States is still continuing to invest in this alliance, and that we are committed to our defense relationship with Europe even as we face growing budget constraints at home," Panetta said. "For its part, the United States is fully committed to building a missile defense capability for the full coverage and protection of all our NATO European populations, their territory and their forces against the growing threat posed by ballistic missiles."

Please send feedback and tips to, and follow us on Twitter @morningdefense for updates between briefings.

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EXCLUSIVE - Everyone knows there's waste, fraud and inefficiency in DOD's budget that can be trimmed to help prevent deeper cuts in areas that raise national security concerns. The problem is finding it when the department doesn't have an auditable system of tracking its spending. Sen. Tom Carper of Delaware - who's been pushing DOD officials for greater accountability on spending - is giving it a try. In a letter to Panetta today, Carper identifies hundreds of billions of dollars he says can be saved "without causing undue harm to our military men and women or their families." Read the letter here:

THE NATIONAL SECURITY NETWORK MEANWHILE is the latest think-tank to come out with recommendations for DOD spending in a new report. Among them: Shifting to a counterterrorist mission in Iraq and Afghanistan, reducing ground forces to 2001 levels and matching weapons systems to missions to eliminate redundant or unnecessary ones. You can read the report here:

CARTER BECOMES DEPUTY SECRETARY TODAY in a private ceremony in the building. He replaces Lynn, who told DOD personnel in a farewell message Wednesday, "As I walk down the Pentagon steps a final time, I am confident our Department is well positioned to weather the institution challenges our fiscal environment presents. I wish you well in the months and years ahead as you continue to protect and defend our great nation."

of post-9/11 veterans and public attitudes toward the military captured headlines Wednesday for data showing that only a third of the vets surveyed believed that both Iraq and Afghanistan were worth the effort and another third believed that neither were.

about the military and society, noting that the share of the U.S. population in active military service - 0.5 percent - is the lowest that it's been since before World War II. Even though confidence in the military as an institution has risen significantly, majorities of both veterans and the general public say Americans don't understand the problems those troops face. You can read the report here:

THE BOTTOM LINE - The United States is fighting the longest war in its history with the smallest share of the population, leading to concerns that the gap in the experience - and sacrifice - of troops compared to other Americans is harming society. "Yes, we're proud of them. Yes, we admire them. ... but how deep does that go?" asked author Rick Atkinson, who led a panel discussion on the survey.

ASD FOR PUBLIC AFFAIRS DOUG WILSON EMAILS: "The Pew Research Center has made a solid contribution to understanding the disconnects which many post-9/11 veterans believe exist between them and the broader American public. Focusing primarily on the single issue of veterans views on cost-benefit analysis of fighting the two post-9/11 wars (on which there is a three-way division of opinion) obscures the broader framework and findings of this seminal report: We have a courageous, dedicated and skilled volunteer force which takes pride in their service and which has concerns about the degree to which the American people understand their service and their sacrifices. We share those concerns."

USAEUR'S HERTLING MADE SOME NEWS WEDNESDAY during his visit to Washington, telling defense reporters at a breakfast that the pressure of war operations on Army commanders has caused discipline to slack as offenses are not properly addressed and mentoring and values training falls by the wayside. "In some cases there are discipline problems that we have not paid as much attention to as we should," he said. "If you allow that to continue it becomes cancerous." Our story is here:

HERTLING IS IN TOWN TO MAKE THE CASE for why U.S. troops should stay in Europe amid pressure to bring them home in the DOD budget-cutting drill. He'll do a roundtable with reporters at the Pentagon at 8:30 a.m. and a Heritage Foundation lunch at noon in Cannon 402.

IMMUNITY HAS BECOME A STICKING POINT in talks with Iraq over whether some U.S. troops will stay behind after the end of this year. Iraqis want to assert their authority over U.S. troops training their security forces, but U.S. officials fear the problems that could cause. 'Immunity is the main disputed point. If we do not have agreement on the immunity, there will be no agreement on the number' of trainers, government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh told the Associated Press.

ARE WE WINNING IN AFGHANISTAN? That's the topic of a new report out today by the American Security Project think-tank. Author Joshua Foust's answer: We don't know. He says the United States is not adequately tracking its progress in the war and thus can't tell if its forces are winning. You can read the report here:

AFGHANS MEANWHILE ARE MARCHING today in the streets of Kabul to demand the withdrawal of foreign troops ahead of Friday's 10th anniversary of the U.S. invasion.

AFGHAN OPS UPDATE - Afghan and coalition forces Wednesday killed three insurgents and wounded one after they came under attack during a search for a Haqqani network leader in Jani Khel district of Paktika province, ISAF spokesman Lt. Gregory Keeley tells us. The target of the search is suspected of distributing weapons, ammunition, and roadside bombs to other insurgent leaders throughout region for use in attacks against Afghan forces, he said. One woman inside the building from which the insurgents were firing was killed and another wounded, Keeley said.

Three other suspected insurgents were detained and several weapons confiscated, including a PKM machine gun with 500 rounds of ammunition and an RPG with several grenades.

LIBYA OPS UPDATE - NATO air raids continued Tuesday against Qadhafi loyalists, with warplanes conducting 105 sorties, of which 21 were strike sorties. That brings the total to 24,894 sorties and 9,261 strike sorties since March 31.

A command and control node in Bani Walid was attacked.

Seventeen vessels were hailed and none boarded Tuesday in arms embargo enforcement activities. Since March 31, 2,925 vessels have been hailed, 296 boarded and 11 diverted.

WHO'S WHERE WHEN - Panetta is in Brussels at the NATO defense ministers meeting. Dempsey speaks at the USO's annual gala at 7:30 p.m. McHugh is at West Point, where he'll attend the Thayer Award ceremony honoring Gates. Donley and Schwartz have meetings in the building before attending the USO gala.

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