Overnight Defense: Officials brief Congress on North Korea | 3,500 more troops reportedly headed to Afghanistan | Navy, industry to consult on ship collisions

Overnight Defense: Officials brief Congress on North Korea | 3,500 more troops reportedly headed to Afghanistan | Navy, industry to consult on ship collisions
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THE TOPLINE: House and Senate lawmakers conferred with top administration officials Wednesday on North Korea days after the rogue regime carried out its sixth and most powerful nuclear test.

Lawmakers emerged from the briefings with Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisOvernight Cybersecurity: Zuckerberg breaks silence on Cambridge Analytica | Senators grill DHS chief on election security | Omnibus to include election cyber funds | Bill would create 'bug bounty' for State GOP rep introduces bill to address national security risks of artificial intelligence Overnight Defense: Senate sides with Trump on military role in Yemen | Dem vets push for new war authorization on Iraq anniversary | General says time isn't 'right' for space corps MORE, Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford, Secretary of State Rex TillersonRex Wayne TillersonMueller witness and GOP fund-raiser sought to push UAE, Saudi agendas in White House: report Kimmel: Trump goes through Cabinet members like cheeseburgers, hair spray Trump formally sends Pompeo nomination to Senate MORE and Director of National Intelligence Dan CoatsDaniel (Dan) Ray CoatsGOP senator blocking Trump's Intel nominee NSA nominee sails through second confirmation hearing New attacks spark concerns about Iranian cyber threat MORE saying officials used a more measured tone than President Trump's threat of "fire and fury" if North Korea continues to threaten the United States.

But for some Democrats that difference was concerning.


"What they said makes a lot of sense, but it is directly contradictory to everything the president says," Sen. Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphyOvernight Defense: Senate sides with Trump on military role in Yemen | Dem vets push for new war authorization on Iraq anniversary | General says time isn't 'right' for space corps Senate sides with Trump on providing Saudi military support Senate, Trump clash over Saudi Arabia MORE (D-Conn.) said. "They're laying out a relatively sensible strategy that is not consistent with what the president says the strategy is. They're talking about a diplomacy-first strategy that has been clearly rejected by their boss, and it leaves the entire world scratching their head.

"There is an unbelievable disconnect between the people in that room and their boss, and that freaks the hell out of me."

Read the rest here.


REMAINING MISSILE DEFENSE LAUNCHERS TO BE INSTALLED IN SOUTH KOREA: Earlier Wednesday, South Korea's defense ministry said the remaining launchers for a U.S. missile defense system deployed to the country will be installed Thursday, in the wake of North Korea's latest nuclear test.

In addition to the launchers, the ministry said that construction and related equipment will also be installed, according to South Korean news agency Yonhap.

The system, known as THAAD, was first deployed to a former golf course in the rural southern area of Seongju in April.

A THAAD battery has a maximum six truck-mounted launchers that can fire up to 48 interceptor missiles. But it was deployed earlier this year with just two launchers.

Read more here.


AFGHANISTAN TROOP NUMBERS: Though most of the focus was on North Korea, Wednesday's congressional briefing also covered the administration recently announced Afghanistan strategy.

Lawmakers said that officials did not say how many more U.S. troops will be sent to the country.

But Reuters, citing unnamed U.S. officials, reported Wednesday that 3,500 more U.S. troop will deploy to Afghanistan.

Mattis last week signed orders to send additional troops to Afghanistan but did not specify the size of the force. He added that he will not discuss the details until after he briefs Congress.

The Hill's Ellen Mitchell has more on the Reuters report here.


NAVY TO CONSULT INDUSTRY ON SHIP COLLISIONS: The Navy readiness review prompted by a spate of deadly collisions this year will consult BP North America and other outside firms, the Navy secretary said at a conference Wednesday.

Via The Hill's Ellen Mitchell:

"We have reached out to industry who have gone through various different meaningful events and come out the other side," Spencer said at a defense industry conference.

"We're going to [look at] this as best practices for people who have come out the other side, and we really do expect this to be a learning experience as we're set to go forward," Spencer added.

The independent review, ordered on Sept. 1, will seek input from companies that have experienced public disasters including BP, Boeing, shipping business Crowley Marine, shipping container firm Maersk and Sandia National Laboratories.

Two guided missile destroyers, the USS Fitzgerald and the USS John McCainJohn Sidney McCainZuckerberg: Maybe tech should face some regulations Schiff mocks Trump: Obama, Bush didn't need staff warning 'do not congratulate' Putin GOP senator tears into Trump for congratulating Putin MORE, collided with other vessels in recent months. The Fitzgerald collision on June 17 killed seven sailors, while the Aug. 20 McCain crash resulted in the death of 10 others.

Read more here.



A House Foreign Affairs subpanel will hold a hearing on maintaining U.S. influence in South Asia with testimony from government officials at 10 a.m. at the Rayburn House Office Building, room 2172. http://bit.ly/2eMrYRx

A House Foreign Affairs subcommittee will hear from the State Department's coordinator for counterterrorism in deciding the department's counterterrorism bureau fiscal 2018 budget at 2 p.m. at Rayburn 2172. http://bit.ly/2eMsxe7

The House Armed Services Committee will have a hearing on Navy readiness and the underlying problems tied to the USS Fitzgerald and USS John S. McCain collisions with testimony from Navy officials at 2 p.m. at Rayburn 2118. http://bit.ly/2xbxh4r



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