Overnight Defense: Defense bill requires Trump submit N. Korea strategy | Air Force report on Texas shooter coming next week | Panel stalls nominee over gun control remarks

Overnight Defense: Defense bill requires Trump submit N. Korea strategy | Air Force report on Texas shooter coming next week | Panel stalls nominee over gun control remarks

THE TOPLINE: The House and Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday released the full conference report on the fiscal year 2018 defense policy bill.

Among the key details of the final National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the bill would require President Trump to submit his North Korea strategy to Congress.

"The conferees note that ... the United States should act to counter North Korea's continued development and testing of nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistic missiles," House and Senate negotiators wrote in the report.

U.S.-North Korea tensions have ratcheted up in recent months as Pyongyang advances its nuclear and missile programs and as Trump engages in a war of words with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

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Trump has been traveling through Asia this week, where he warned North Korea not to "try us" and urged Kim to "make a deal."

The Senate-passed version of the National Defense Authorization Act would have required the Defense secretary to submit a North Korea strategy to Congress within 90 days after passage.

The House-passed version, meanwhile, only included a sense of Congress about the threat posed by North Korea.

The Hill's Rebecca Kheel has that story here.

 

Read The Hill's additional stories on aspects of the NDAA: 

-- Defense bill includes 3,500 more visas for Afghans who helped US troops

-- Defense bill wouldn't limit extension of arms treaty with Russia

-- Final defense policy bill mandates Pentagon climate change study

-- Compromise defense bill would require Trump submit N. Korea strategy

 

AIR FORCE SAYS REPORT ON TEXAS SHOOTER COMING NEXT WEEK: Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson on Thursday said the service had talked to more than 100 people on how the Texas church shooter's criminal history slipped through the cracks, with a draft report on the matter expected sometime next week.

"We're moving very forward very quickly with that," Wilson told reporters at the Pentagon.

"The offenses for which the shooter in Texas was court-martialed should have been reported and that's why we launched a full-scale review of this case and all others like it."

Former Air Force serviceman Devin Kelley on Sunday shot and killed 26 people at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. After the rampage, it was discovered he had been court-martialed in 2012 for assaulting his wife and stepson, including cracking the infant's skull. 

Read the rest here.

 

TRUMP IN ASIA: President Trump declined to take questions from reporters Thursday alongside his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, according to multiple reports, in a break with some of his predecessors.

Trump and Xi did not take questions at an event during Trump's visit to the country, The Associated Press reported.

CNN reported that former President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaPatagonia files suit against Trump cuts to Utah monuments Former Dem Tenn. gov to launch Senate bid: report Eighth Franken accuser comes forward as Dems call for resignation MORE did not take questions during his first visit to China, but former presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton did.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the Chinese wanted to avoid questions. 

Read about that here.

 

While in China, Trump also blamed past administrations instead of Beijing for "unfair" trade practices, offering a starkly different tone from the rhetoric he used during his campaign, when he repeatedly railed against the nation about trade.

Trump said during an event in Beijing that he does not place blame on China for what he described as "one-sided and unfair" trade practices, noting he gives "China great credit." 

Read that story here.

 

And Russia says a potential meeting between President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin is still being negotiated.

Read about that here.

 

SENATE PANEL STALLS NOMINEE WHO CALLED ASSAULT WEAPON SALES 'INSANE': The Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday declined to move forward with a top Defense Department nominee after he made bold comments on gun control and military abortion policy during a committee hearing earlier this week.

Committee Chairman Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainGOP strategist donates to Alabama Democrat Meghan McCain knocks Bannon: 'Who the hell are you' to criticize Romney? Dems demand Tillerson end State hiring freeze, consult with Congress MORE (R-Ariz.) told reporters that lawmakers still "have a number of questions" -- specifically on "guns and abortions" -- for Dean Winslow, the nominee for assistant secretary of Defense for health affairs.

Winslow during a Tuesday hearing said he thinks it's "insane" that civilians can buy assault rifles in the United States. That remark came just days after a deadly mass shooting in Texas.

"That's the way we do business," McCain said of not yet moving forward Winslow's nomination. "We have people before the committee, if there's additional questions we honor other members' right to ask additional questions and get answers."

Read the rest of McCain's comments here.

 

ICYMI:

-- The Hill: New Pentagon acquisition head to explore foreign technology in UAE

-- The Hill: Pentagon: Niger ambush investigation to finish in January

-- The Hill: Senate panel delays vote on Trump's Homeland Security pick

-- The Hill: Monopoly critics decry 'Amazon amendment'

-- The Hill: Navy to carry out rare exercise over Sea of Japan

-- The Hill: Former Pentagon chief: Immigrant troops should have pathway to citizenship

 

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

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