Overnight Defense

Overnight Defense: McConnell vows Iran sanctions vote | Women, transgender troops fear policy reversal

Greg Nash

THE TOPLINE: President Obama is on his final trip abroad, where he’s seeking to assuage allies unnerved by last week’s shocking election.

On Wednesday, he was in Greece, where he warned against a rising tide of nationalism.

{mosads}The Hill’s Julian Hattem has more on Obama’s speech:

Obama called for a rejection of the trend that last week helped sweep President-elect Donald Trump to power and has empowered archconservatives and isolationists across Europe.

“This impulse to pull back from a globalized world is understandable. If people feel that they’re losing control of their future, they will push back,” Obama said at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center in Athens.

“We have seen it here in Greece, we’ve seen it across Europe, we’ve seen it in the United States, we saw it in the vote in Britain to leave the E.U.,” he added. Read more here.


TRUMP SPEAKS TO WORLD LEADERS: For Trump’s part, he’s been speaking to a slew of world leaders since the election, and his transition team released a comprehensive list of them Wednesday.

Many of the calls were already announced in previous statements from the foreign governments.

The Hill’s Ben Kamisar breaks down the full list here.


FEMALE, TRANSGENDER TROOPS FEAR POLICY REVERSALS: Women and transgender people in the military are fearful that President-elect Donald Trump’s administration will roll back President Obama’s policies on their service, advocates say.

Last December, Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced that all combat jobs would be open to women, with no exceptions. Then in June, Carter announced that transgender troops could begin serving openly immediately.

Both policy changes are still being implemented and can be reversed unilaterally by the next administration — and that’s just what some of Trump’s potential nominees have signaled they’d like to do.

Read the rest here.


MCCONNELL PLEDGES IRAN SANCTIONS EXTENSION: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Wednesday his chamber will take up extending Iran sanctions before the end of the year.

The Hill’s Jordain Carney with the story:

“Yes, we are going to pass that,” McConnell told reporters, when asked about the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA). “We’re going to take up the House bill. I think it’s already held at the desk. And we’re going to pass it.”

The House voted Tuesday 419-1 to extend the ISA, currently set to expire before 2017, for 10 years.

Senate Republicans had initially hoped to pass an ISA extension as part of a broader bill of new sanctions on Iran amid lingering fallout over the Iran nuclear agreement and a string of ballistic missile tests.

Read more here. 


FORMER DEFENSE CHIEF DIES: Melvin Laird, the former Defense secretary who oversaw the drawdown of U.S. troops in Vietnam, died Wednesday at 94, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

A friend and former campaign aide confirmed to the paper that Laird, who was also a former Wisconsin congressman, had passed away.

The friend, Bob Williams, told the paper that Laird spent his final days thinking about how to ensure President-elect Donald Trump or his opponent, Hillary Clinton, picked a capable Defense secretary.

“Oh my, yes, he took that so seriously because of the power you had and the power to influence the president,” Williams told the Journal Sentinel.

Read more here.



Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Army Secretary Eric Fanning, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein and others speak at the fourth annual Defense One Summit from 7:15 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. http://bit.ly/2dFgnlh

House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith (D-Wash.) speaks at the Council on Foreign Relations at 8:30 a.m. http://on.cfr.org/2eSUzyp



— The Hill: Shakeup on Senate Intel: Warner becomes top Dem

— The Hill: Opinion: For Iraq’s Sunni Arabs, you can’t go home again

— Washington Post: Conservative think tank breaks with Trump in describing Russian threat

— Reuters: Erdogan says Turkish-backed rebels close to taking Syria’s al Bab

— Washington Post: Two GOP senators top the list of Trump’s picks for defense secretary

— Associated Press: Philippine president wants to be friends with Trump, Putin


Please send tips and comments to Kristina Wong, kwong@thehill.com, and Rebecca Kheel, rkheel@thehill.com 

Follow us on Twitter: @thehill@kristina_wong@Rebecca_H_K

Tags Adam Smith Donald Trump Hillary Clinton Mitch McConnell Tom Cotton

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