Overnight Defense: Details on $692 billion compromise defense bill | Space Corps dropped from bill | Mattis requests probe into Texas shooter's records

Overnight Defense: Details on $692 billion compromise defense bill | Space Corps dropped from bill | Mattis requests probe into Texas shooter's records
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THE TOPLINE: The House and Senate Armed Services Committee released details Wednesday of the compromise defense policy bill that bicameral negotiators hashed out over the last few weeks.

Some key details of the final National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA):

-- The bill would authorize $692.1 billion in defense spending, broken down into $626.4 billion for the base defense budget and $65.7 billion for a war fund known as the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) account.

-- Congress still has no budget agreement, meaning those numbers, which are above budget caps, may get dollars from appropriators to back them up.

-- Space Corps is no more. The proposal for a new branch of the military dedicated to space was scuttled in favor of an independent study of the issue. The bill would also change the way the military handles space in a number of smaller ways.

-- End strength would increase above 2017 levels as follows: 7,500 more active-duty soldiers, 500 more reserve soldiers, 500 more Army National Guard soldiers, 4,000 more active-duty sailors, 1,000 more reserve sailors, 1,000 more active-duty Marines, 4,100 more active-duty airmen, 800 more reserve airmen and 900 more Air National Guard airmen.

Read The Hill's stories on those aspects of the NDAA and more: 

-- Compromise defense bill would authorize $692B for spending

-- Space Corps dropped from defense policy bill

-- GOP chairmen seek hold on giving defense new FDA powers

-- Backers of space-based military branch: We will not allow a 'space Pearl Harbor'

-- Compromise defense bill tells Trump to spell out cyberwarfare strategy

-- Compromise defense bill includes $58M to counter Russia arms treaty violations

 

TRUMP IN ASIA: President Trump kicked off Wednesday morning -- or Tuesday night D.C. time -- in South Korea, where he delivered a speech to the National Assembly that warned North Korea not to "try us."

"Today, I hope I speak not only for our countries, but for all civilized nations, when I say to the North: Do not underestimate us. And do not try us," the president said during a speech to South Korea's National Assembly.

Trump used his address to send a message to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, telling him "the weapons you are acquiring are not making you safer, they are putting your regime in grave danger."

The Hill's Jordan Fabian has more on the speech here.

 

Trump was also forced to abandon a surprise visit to the demilitarized zone separating North and South Korea due to weather conditions. More on that here.

On Wednesday night -- or Thursday morning China time -- Trump continues his Asia trip with a stop in Beijing. 

 

MATTIS SIGNS REQUEST FOR INVESTIGATION INTO TEXAS SHOOTER'S RECORDS: Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisOvernight Defense: Trump recognizes Jerusalem as Israel's capital | Mattis, Tillerson reportedly opposed move | Pentagon admits 2,000 US troops are in Syria | Trump calls on Saudis to 'immediately' lift Yemen blockade Trump has yet to name ambassadors to key nations in Mideast Mattis, Tillerson warned Trump of security concerns in Israel embassy move MORE on Wednesday formally requested the Pentagon's inspector general investigate the military's handling of the Texas shooter's criminal records.

The memo released Wednesday requests the watchdog to look into whether records for Devin Kelley should have been sent to the FBI for inclusion into the National Crime Information Center, whether they were and if not, why.

He also asked for a more broad review of the policies and procedures for submitting information to the FBI.

Kelley was identified by authorities as the shooter in Sunday's Texas church massacre that killed 26 people. He was convicted in a 2012 court martial of domestic abuse.

Had his criminal record been sent to the FBI, it would have been harder for him to acquire a gun.

Read more here.

 

PENTAGON SAYS NIGER INVESTIGATION TO FINISH IN JANUARY: Pentagon officials on Tuesday said the investigation into the deadly Niger ambush last month is expected to be completed in January 2018, but could go longer.

A Defense Department statement adds that U.S. Army officials have contacted the family members of the four Army Green Berets killed Oct. 4 during an ambush in Niger "in order to provide a timeline on U.S. Africa Command's investigation into the incident."

"Families were informed that AFRICOM's investigation team will travel to locations in the U.S., Africa and Europe to gather information related to the investigation. U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Roger Cloutier, AFRICOM's chief of staff, will lead the command's investigation team," according to the Pentagon.

Read more here.

 

OVERSEAS WARS HAVE COST US $4.3T SINCE 2001, REPORT FINDS: Fighting overseas has cost the United States more than $4.3 trillion since 2001, a figure likely to jump to $5.6 trillion by the end of the fiscal year 2018, according to new numbers from the Costs of War report released Tuesday.

"As of late September 2017, the United States wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Syria and the additional spending on Homeland Security, and the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs since the 9/11 attacks totaled more than $4.3 trillion in current dollars," the report states.

Read more here.

 

ON TAP FOR TOMORROW:

House Armed Services Committee members Reps. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) and Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardTulsi Gabbard is no snowflake Texas shooting puts scrutiny on military's criminal reporting system Overnight Defense: Details on 2 billion compromise defense bill | Space Corps dropped from bill | Mattis requests probe into Texas shooter's records MORE (D-Hawaii), as well as Air Force Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Stephen Wilson and the White House cybersecurity czar will speak beginning at 7 a.m. at the Defense One Summit at the Marriott Marquis in Washington. http://bit.ly/2zbZ82F

A House Foreign Affairs Committee subpanel will hold a hearing on the political crisis in the Democratic Republic of the Congo with testimony from State Department and USAID officials at 10 a.m. at the Rayburn House Office Building, room 2172. http://bit.ly/2zi0WZS

The Senate Armed Services Committee will hold a confirmation hearing for Robert McMahon to be assistant secretary of Defense for defense, logistics and materiel readiness; Bruce Jette to be assistant secretary of the Army for acquisition, technology and logistics; and Shon Manasco to be assistant secretary of the Air Force for manpower and reserve affairs at 10 a.m. at the Dirksen Senate Office Building, room G-50. http://bit.ly/2yIlWKq

 

ICYMI:

-- The Hill: McCain to oppose Trump nominees over torture memos

-- The Hill: General slated to lead US Army Europe mistreated congressional staffer: report

-- The Hill: After Texas shooting, lawmakers question whether military has systemic reporting problem

-- The Hill: Opinion: 16 years, $5.6 trillion later, are the post-9/11 wars worth it?

-- The Hill: Opinion: Congress should fulfill its obligation to duly consider war authorization

-- Associated Press: NATO green lights plan to establish a new cyber command center

-- Associated Press: US could have almost 16,000 troops in Afghanistan next year

-- Air Force Times: Air Force Academy cadet wrote racial slur outside his own dorm room

-- Military Times: Army to determine if Bergdahl is owed back pay for his time in captivity

 

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

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