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Overnight Defense: Pentagon asked for third base to house migrant children | Pompeo has regrets on North Korea

Overnight Defense: Pentagon asked for third base to house migrant children | Pompeo has regrets on North Korea
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Happy Thursday and welcome to Overnight Defense. I'm Ellen Mitchell, and here's your nightly guide to the latest developments at the Pentagon, on Capitol Hill and beyond. CLICK HERE to subscribe to the newsletter.

THE TOPLINE: HHS asks Pentagon for use of third base to house migrant children

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has asked the Pentagon to temporarily house unaccompanied migrant children at another military base, this one in California, the Defense Department’s top spokesman confirmed Thursday.

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“We have received a request for assistance from HHS for the potential use of Camp Roberts in California to house unaccompanied minors,” press secretary John Kirby told reporters at the Pentagon.

“We are moving forward with analyzing that request for assistance right now.”

More details: Camp Roberts, an Army base located roughly halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, is readying to house an expected 1,500 children, according to local outlet the Paso Robles Daily News.

California HHS is reportedly working with the base to hold minors between the ages of 4 to 18 years old for four to six weeks, but that timeline could be extended.

Where else children will be sent: The Pentagon last week agreed to temporarily house migrant children at Joint Base San Antonio in Lackland, Texas, and at Fort Bliss outside El Paso, as unaccompanied minors have increased in number at the U.S.–Mexico border in recent months.

The Biden administration has decided to not deport the minors, who have strained HHS-run shelters — facilities where the children are housed before they can be released to parents or other sponsors in the United States.

Still under consideration: Several other military installations have also been considered for the job, including Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., and Fort Lee, Va., with the latter found unsuitable for children.

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Kirby said he knew of no other potential requests for assistance that Defense officials “are waiting for or that we anticipate,” from HHS, though they are in constant communication with the department should the need arise. 

Read more here.

 

POMPEO’S REGRETS OVER NORTH KOREA

Former Secretary of State Mike PompeoMike PompeoNikki Haley says if Trump runs for president in 2024 then she won't Blinken: China 'didn't do what it needed to do' in early stages of pandemic Biden loves the Georgia boycott — So why won't he boycott the Beijing Olympic games? MORE says he “regrets” that the Trump administration did not succeed in having North Korea give up its nuclear weapons. 

In an interview with conservative podcast Ruthless released Thursday, Pompeo, who is considered a potential 2024 presidential candidate, reflected on his clandestine trip to the hermit nation in April 2018 that marked a sharp turn in U.S. foreign policy toward a country long considered a rogue state guilty of horrendous human rights abuses. 

Photos released of the trip showed Pompeo, then the director of the CIA, shaking hands with North Korean leader Kim Jong UnKim Jong UnOn North Korea, Biden should borrow from Trump's Singapore declaration North Korea drops out of Tokyo Olympics Biden should look to 'Ostpolitik' to negotiate with autocrats MOREshocking the world due to the personal outreach from a senior U.S. official.

The intentions: Pompeo said his trip was meant to cool tensions that had risen to a fever pitch months earlier, with former President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump: McConnell 'helpless' to stop Biden from packing court Romney on NRSC awarding Trump: Not 'my preference' McConnell sidesteps Trump calling him 'dumb son of a b----' MORE warning of “fire and fury” if Pyongyang threatened the United States. 

“We were trying to take the tension level down and create a situation where we could have a rational discussion,” Pompeo said in an interview with Josh Holmes. “The president was prepared to consider whether a summit might be appropriate. It was really quite the experience.”

But not much progress: Trump and Kim would go on to meet in person twice but both summits failed to achieve North Korea’s denuclearization.  

“I regret that we didn't make more progress,” Pompeo said. “We convinced him not to do more nuclear testing and more long-range missile testing, but we weren't able [to] get him to give up his nuclear program. You know, we got three Americans back."  

Other outreach: Pompeo made a second trip to North Korea in May 2018 shortly after being confirmed as secretary of State to retrieve three Americans who were imprisoned in North Korea on charges of espionage. 

The former secretary reflected on the challenge of preparing for the meeting with Kim. 

“When I became CIA director, [I] had no earthly idea that one day I'd be on a quiet plane traveling in the dark to land at an airstrip in Pyongyang to meet Chairman Kim, who had committed the most horrific crimes against humanity,” he said, remarking on the death of American college student Otto Warmbier, who was imprisoned in North Korea and returned to to the U.S. in a vegetative state before he died. 

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Biden’s plans: President BidenJoe BidenTrump: McConnell 'helpless' to stop Biden from packing court Biden, first lady send 'warmest greetings' to Muslims for Ramadan The business case for child care reform MORE has said he considers North Korea a top foreign policy issue but Pyongyang has rebuffed attempts by his administration to engage in diplomatic talks, and further raised tensions by conducting a ballistic missile launch last week. 

Biden last week said the missile launch was in violation of a United Nations resolution and that his administration is consulting with allies on how to respond, warning against any further escalations. 

The president further said that his administration is prepared for “some form of diplomacy” but that it has to be conditioned on denuclearization. 

Read more here.

 

ON TAP FOR TOMORROW

The Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies will hold a “Space Power Forum” event with Maj. Gen. Leah Lauderback, director of intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, U.S. Space Force, at 8:30 a.m. 

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The Institute for Defense and Government Advancement will hold the final day of its virtual Counter Unmanned Aerial Systems Summit, featuring Spanish Brig. Gen. Enrique Silvela Diaz-Criado, commander of the Spanish Army Air Defense Command, beginning at 9:50 a.m. 

 

ICYMI

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-- The Hill: Opinion: Congress and the president need a new war powers partnership 

-- The Wall Street Journal: Biden Trimming Forces Sent to Mideast to Help Saudi Arabia

-- Military Times: VA COVID cases rising; vets groups tapped by White House for vaccination outreach