Overnight Defense: Trump marks 9/11 anniversary | Senate begins debate on defense policy bill | Bipartisan amendment would block transgender ban

Overnight Defense: Trump marks 9/11 anniversary | Senate begins debate on defense policy bill | Bipartisan amendment would block transgender ban
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THE TOPLINE: President Trump spoke at the Pentagon on Monday to observe the 16th anniversary of 9/11 in a ceremony with Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisOvernight Defense: Fears rise over Trump-Putin summit | McCain presses Trump to hold Putin 'accountable' for hacking | Pentagon does damage control after NATO meet Mattis doesn't mention Russia by name at meeting with Balkan officials: report Trump references ‘legitimate media and fake-news media’ at meeting with NATO leader MORE and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford.

The Hill's Jordan Fabian has more on Trump's remarks:

Trump delivered a stern warning to extremist groups threatening the U.S. on the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, his first commemoration of the somber occasion as president.


Speaking at the Pentagon on Monday, where one of four hijacked planes crashed 16 years ago, Trump mourned those who died and said he would honor the sacrifice by doing "whatever we must to keep our people safe."

"The terrorists who attacked us thought they could incite fear and weaken our spirit," he said. "But America cannot be intimidated, and those who try will soon join the list of vanquished enemies who dared to test our mettle."

Read the rest here.


AFGHAN SUICIDE ATTACK INJURES TROOPS: As Americans were reflecting on Sept. 11, they were reminded that the war that followed the attacks continues.

A "small number" of coalition troops and Afghan civilians were injured by a suicide bomber who targeted their convoy near the village of Qal'eh-ye Musa Bala in Parwan Province, Operation Resolute Support said in a statement Monday.

The statement did not specify the nationalities of the injured troops. Resolute Support is the NATO-led train-advise-assist mission that includes U.S. troops.

The troops' injuries are not considered life threatening, according to the statement.

The Hill's Ellen Mitchell has more here.


DEFENSE BILL MOVES FORWARD IN SENATE: The annual defense policy bill easily cleared a procedural hurdle in the Senate on Monday, setting up a week of floor debate on hot button defense issues.

The Senate voted 89-3 on Monday night to move to debate the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

More than 300 amendments have been filed on the NDAA. There's no guarantee they'll make it to the floor, and most won't.

Among those filed is a bipartisan measure from Sens. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth Gillibrand2020 Dems slam Trump over Putin presser Midterms will show voters are tired of taking back seat to Wall Street McConnell: I won't be intimidated by protesters MORE (D-N.Y.) and Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsThis week: GOP mulls vote on ‘abolish ICE’ legislation Dem infighting erupts over Supreme Court pick McConnell: Senate to confirm Kavanaugh by Oct. 1 MORE (R-Maine) that would block President Trump's ban on transgender troops.

The amendment would prohibit the Pentagon from discharging or preventing the re-enlistment of currently serving transgender troops and require Defense Secretary James Mattis to complete the review of enlisting new transgender troops he started before Trump announced the ban.

The Hill's Jordain Carney has more on the amendment here.


The leaders of the Senate Armed Services Committee, meanwhile, have offered an amendment to allow for another round of base closures, something the Pentagon has repeatedly requested as a cost saving measure that lawmakers have blocked.

Committee Chairman John McCainJohn Sidney McCainGOP lambasts Trump over performance in Helsinki Trump stuns the world at Putin summit NY Daily News cover following Helsinki summit shows Trump shooting Uncle Sam MORE (R-Ariz.) and ranking member Jack ReedJohn (Jack) Francis ReedSenate Dems tell Trump: Don't meet with Putin one-on-one Schumer: Trump should cancel meeting with Putin Senate votes to support NATO ahead of Trump summit MORE (D-R.I.) on Monday filed an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would establish a new Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) commission to review all military installations.

If it ends up in the final version of the bill, the amendment would potentially jump-start another round of base closures, something that has not happened at the Pentagon since 2005.

The legislation would require a list of potential base closures and realignments to be compiled by the Pentagon, certified by the president and then submitted to Congress by the fall of 2019. Congress would vote on passing the BRAC after a 60-day public comment period, and base closures would start by 2021.

The Hill's Ellen Mitchell has more on the base closure amendment here.



The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will consider the nominations for under secretary of State for management, ambassador to Afghanistan, ambassador to Bahrain and U.S. director of the African Development Bank at 9:30 a.m. at the Dirksen Senate Office Building, room 419. http://bit.ly/2xUFNSf

The House Foreign Affairs Committee will hear from administration officials on options to pressure North Korea at 10 a.m. at the Rayburn House Office Building, room 2172. http://bit.ly/2xTXfq4

A House Veterans Affairs subpanel will hold a hearing on VA mail management at 10:30 a.m. at the Cannon House Office Building, room 334. http://bit.ly/2eTq2Xi



-- The Hill: Senate report slams Trump foreign policy as 'apparent doctrine of retreat'

-- The Hill: Week ahead: Senate takes up defense policy bill

-- The Hill: McCain says he is facing 'very vicious' form of cancer

-- The Hill: US, Japan conduct air exercise over East China Sea

-- The Hill: US approves $3.8B in arms sales to Bahrain

-- Stars and Stripes: S. Korea rejects idea of redeploying US nuclear weapons on peninsula

-- Associated Press: UN Security Council adopts new N. Korea sanctions

-- Reuters: U.S. denies Iran report of confrontation with U.S. vessel


Please send tips and comments to Rebecca Kheel, rkheel@thehill.com, and Ellen Mitchell, emitchell@thehill.com

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