National Security

The Guard stands at the ready

The truce that wasn't. Syrian warplanes pummeled a rebel stronghold in Damascus today, breaking a truce brokered for Eid days ago, according to Reuters. The target was a residential area east of the capital. http://bitly.com/PBINLp

The Defense Department has put 1,900 National Guard forces in uniform and on active duty in New York, Massachusetts, Virginia, New Jersey, Delaware, Connecticut, and Maryland, with the bulk of them in New York and New Jersey, Situation Report is told. The Guardsmen are to help first responders and FEMA personnel in those states as buildings are evacuated and roads are cleared in advance of Hurricane Sandy, which arrives in the Washington area this morning. "They are doing whatever they need to do to prepare for whatever they might be called upon to do," Lt. Col. Tom Crosson, a Pentagon spokesman, told Situation Report this morning. But as the storm makes landfall, the Guardsmen are still only in preparation mode.

There are another 61,100 National Guard members available to assist in those states where they are most needed, Crosson said. And there are nearly 140 rotary-winged aircraft to do search-and-rescue, reconnaissance, and personnel- or cargo-carrying missions, according to the Pentagon.

Welcome to Monday's edition of Situation Report, where it's business as unusual as the rain and wind begin to pound Washington. Follow me @glubold. Or hit me anytime at gordon.lubold@foreignpolicy.com. And sign up for Situation Report here: http://bit.ly/NCN9uN or just send me an e-mail and I'll put you on the list.

The Pentagon is all but shut down today, but the unveiling of Bob Gates' portrait, at 10 a.m., is still on. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta's event at the Center for a New American Security with Michele Flournoy is off.

Dempsey is in Israel. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Marty Dempsey is viewing a missile defense exercise, Austere Challenge 12, that uses computer simulation of both long- and short-range missile attacks against Israel. The exercise includes more than 3,500 Americans and 1,000 Israelis, and JTA reports from Jerusalem that the U.S. is paying roughly $30 million toward the cost of the $38 million exercise. Israel is picking up the balance.

Congratulations to Augustus Maiyo of Colorado Springs for winning the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington with a time of 2:20:20. And in southern Afghanistan, where Marines held the "Marine Corps Marathon-Forward," congratulations to Benjamin Lukowski with a time of 2:43, and in the woman's division, Elizabeth Gomez, with a time of 3:39. Marine Master Sgt. Edwin Holloway organized the race, which was set up at Camps Leatherneck and Bastion. "I could not have imagined a better course considering the environment and limitations," Holloway said after the race.

The U.S. is flexing its missile defense muscles and it's making Moscow and Beijing anxious. The plan to expand American missile defense capabilities with mobile, sea-based interceptors that can take out long-range missiles is forcing Russia and China to "question the viability of their strategic nuclear forces," writes Tom Collina on FP. And now the two countries are resisting calls for bilateral arms reductions. The Pentagon's pivot to Asia, and its announcement in August that it would field a second missile-tracking X-band radar in Japan is the kind of move that is making China nervous that the system could undermine its strategic deterrent. All of this could create a new mini arms race and actually increase danger, not lower it. http://bitly.com/VtL08x

The Army gets serious on cyber. The Army has begun incorporating cyber operations into its exercises, embedding representatives from U.S. Army Cyber Command with exercises designed for traditional combat troops so they can become more familiar with the issues they could be confronting in the cyber battlefield, Killer Apps' John Reed reports. "While the exercise was a start, the Army must make relationships between more traditional units like III Corps and its divisions and cyber forces "habitual," according to Campbell, who noted that several upcoming Army exercises will incorporate cyber," Reed writes. http://bit.ly/OSwCE7

Why Rosa Brooks is choosing Obama. After a tumultuous week in the opinion-sphere, FP's Brooks comes out in favor of Obama even though she feels he doesn't have a strategic vision when it comes to foreign policy. Why does she support him? Brooks: "He's far from perfect, and his foreign policy team is far from perfect, but as I noted earlier, they've managed to avoid any major national security catastrophes. But Romney's team? These are the guys who brought us torture, black sites, damaged alliances, open sneering at international institutions, and two bloody, financially ruinous wars. And in this uncertain world, you can be sure of one thing: If Mitt Romney wins, they'll do their best to bring it all back."

"Jerks versus Waterboarders:" http://bitly.com/WMtl0J

 

Burning

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Noting

 

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