Overnight Defense: Trump officials reportedly debating targeted North Korea strike | US to sell Japan $133M in missiles | Trump order aims to reduce veteran suicides

Overnight Defense: Trump officials reportedly debating targeted North Korea strike | US to sell Japan $133M in missiles | Trump order aims to reduce veteran suicides
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THE TOPLINE: U.S. officials have reportedly talked about the potential to conduct a targeted strike against sites in North Korea in a "bloody nose" strategy.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the strategy involves launching a targeted strike at a North Korean facility in response to a nuclear or missile test.

The strike would be an effort to show North Korea the potential consequences of its actions without leading to an all-out war.

Trump administration officials have discussed whether the idea would even be possible, according to the Journal.

Read the rest here.

 

The report comes as North Korea said it will send a delegation to the Winter Olympics this year in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

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North Korea said during talks with the South it would send a group of athletes, high-ranking officials and a cheer squad to the Winter Games.

Read about that here.

 

US TO SELL JAPAN $133M IN MISSILES TO COUNTER NORTH KOREAN THREAT: The State Department plans to sell Japan more than $133 million worth of missiles and equipment to push back against North Korea's "provocative behavior," the department told Congress on Tuesday.

The new proposed foreign military sale includes four Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IIA missiles, missile canisters and "other technical, engineering and logistics support services," estimated to be worth $133.3 million.

The sale comes after a year of heightened concern over Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions, including several missile launches that landed in the Sea of Japan.

If approved, the missile deal would "follow through on President TrumpDonald John TrumpNFL freezes policy barring players from protesting during anthem McConnell spokesman on Putin visit: 'There is no invitation from Congress' Petition urges University of Virginia not to hire Marc Short MORE's commitment to provide additional defensive capabilities to treaty allies threatened by the [Democratic People's Republic of Korea's] provocative behavior," the State Department said in a statement, referring to North Korea's official name. 

Read the rest here.

 

And the U.S. Army will reportedly train thousands of additional troops in tunnel warfare this year on the chance President Trump wants such a military option for North Korea.

Read about that here.

 

CORKER: SCRAPPING IRAN DEAL COULD MAKE N. KOREA 'MORE DIFFICULT': Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerSenate GOP attempts to wave Trump off second Putin summit Senate approves resolution warning Trump not to hand over US officials McConnell calls for Senate hearings on Russia sanctions MORE (R-Tenn.) warned Tuesday that withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal could have consequences for the ongoing crisis with North Korea as President Trump faces critical deadlines on the accord.

"I hope at some point we're going to enter into a very binding agreement with North Korea, and if it's believed that we withdrew from a military agreement when there aren't material violations -- there's some technical violations, but not material violations -- then it makes it more difficult for people to believe we're going to abide by another agreement," Corker told reporters Tuesday.

Democratic lawmakers and other supporters of the Iran deal have argued for months that Trump scrapping the nuclear accord could imperil any diplomatic effort with North Korea by showing the United States cannot be trusted to keep its deals.

Most Republicans, though, have argued the two issues are unrelated or that Iran is watching North Korea's belligerence to see what it might be able to get away with.

More on that here via The Hill's Rebecca Kheel.

 

TRUMP SIGNS EXECUTIVE ORDER AIMED AT REDUCING VETERAN SUICIDES: President Trump signed an executive order Tuesday aimed at helping veterans get access to mental health care.

The order instructs the departments of Defense, Homeland Security and Veterans Affairs to develop a plan within 60 days to provide "seamless access to mental health treatment and suicide prevention resources" for uniformed service members in the year following military service.

"We want them to get the highest care and the care they so richly deserve," Trump said at the signing ceremony Tuesday afternoon. 

Within 180 days, the departments must update Trump on the implementation of the plan and outline further reforms to increase access to mental health services. 

Administration officials said the suicide rate among veterans in the first year following service is twice the average among veterans overall. About 20 veterans die by suicide per day in the U.S., the government estimates. 

The Hill's Jessie Hellman has the rest here.

 

ON TAP FOR TOMORROW:

Pentagon Comptroller David Norquist will testify before the full House Armed Services Committee on the Defense Department's efforts with the Financial Improvement and Audit Remediation Plan at 10 a.m. Wednesday in Rayburn 2118. http://bit.ly/2CXcPUX

The House Veterans Affairs Committee will hold a hearing on home loan churning practices and how veterans are being affected at 10 a.m. Wednesday in Cannon House Office Building, room 334. http://bit.ly/2Ec8SLA

The House Foreign Affairs Committee will hear from an outside expert on sanctions and financial pressure as national security tools at 10 a.m. Wednesday in Rayburn 2172. http://bit.ly/2CBbVQh

 

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-- Defense News: Mattis asks senators to end budget chaos