Overnight Defense: Top general reviewing arms treaty with Russia | Trump hits Obama after Syrian gas attack | Lawmakers fear 'ugly fallout' from short-term spending

Overnight Defense: Top general reviewing arms treaty with Russia | Trump hits Obama after Syrian gas attack | Lawmakers fear 'ugly fallout' from short-term spending
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TOPLINE: The commander of U.S. Strategic Command (STRATCOM) on Tuesday said he's reviewing a landmark arms treaty in light of Russia's violations of the deal.

Separately, Russia is on track to comply with the New START Treaty, and the military is not reviewing that agreement despite President Trump's criticisms of it, STRATCOM commander Gen. John Hyten told the Senate Armed Services Committee.

The 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty is a landmark deal between Russia and the U.S. that banned ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges between 500 and 5,500 kilometers.

The U.S. has publicly accused Russia of violating the treaty multiple times in recent years, most recently this year when the U.S. military publicly accused Russia of deploying a nuclear-tipped cruise missile.

Read more here.

 

'UGLY FALLOUT' LIKELY WITH CONTINUING RESOLUTION: Top lawmakers on a House Armed Services subcommittee on Tuesday spoke out against a measure to keep current Pentagon funding levels in place for the rest of the year, saying it will cause an "ugly fallout."

The Pentagon is currently funded under a short-term continuing resolution (CR) that expires April 28. Congress has a week left in Washington to reach a deal on a new funding measure that could last through the end of the fiscal year, Sept. 30.

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"I think leadership understands there's not a stomach for a CR, short-term or long-term," Rep. Rob WittmanRobert (Rob) Joseph WittmanWhy block citizenship to immigrants who defend America? Virginia reps urge Trump to declare federal emergency ahead of Hurricane Florence Overnight Defense: House passes 5B defense spending bill | Pentagon moving forward on Trump military parade | Mattis vows 'ironclad' support for South Korea's defense MORE (R-Va.), chairman of the panel's seapower subcommittee, said at the Navy League's Sea-Air-Space conference in Maryland.

"I just don't think you can adequately cover all the shortfalls across [the Department of Defense] with a CR," he said.

Read the rest here.

 

TRUMP HITS OBAMA AFTER SYRIAN GAS ATTACK: President Trump on Tuesday said a deadly gas attack in Syria carried out by forces loyal to Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad is a "consequence" of former President Obama's approach to the country's civil war.

"Today's chemical attack in Syria against innocent people, including women and children, is reprehensible and cannot be ignored by the civilized world," Trump said in a statement.

The president faulted his predecessor for helping create the conditions for the attack when he backed away from his 2012 "red line" on Assad's use of chemical weapons.

"These heinous actions by the Bashar al-Assad regime are a consequence of the past administration's weakness and irresolution," Trump said.

Trump criticized Obama's approach, even though he personally urged his predecessor not to intervene in the Syrian civil war on numerous occasions. The Hill's Jordan Fabian has more here.

 

TRUMP TO PRESS CHINA ON NORTH KOREA: President Trump plans to press Chinese President Xi Jinping this week to take a tougher approach against North Korea's nuclear weapons program, the White House said Tuesday.

Trump will deliver the message to Xi during two days of talks later this week at the president's Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. 

"I can tell you that it is now urgent," a senior White House official said of North Korea during a briefing in advance of Xi's visit. "The clock has now run out and all options are on the table for us."

It's the latest in a series of increasingly dire warnings from the Trump administration about the danger posed by Pyongyang's nuclear program. 

The president recently said that if China does not take action on North Korea, the U.S. will.

The Hill's Jordan Fabian has the rest here.

 

CHINESE MEETING COMES AMID GROWING NORTH KOREA FEARS: As lawmakers and the Trump administration up the pressure on China, the worries about North Korea's nuclear capabilities are growing.

Satellite imagery in recent weeks has indicated that Pyongyang may be preparing for its sixth nuclear test, which would follow two nuclear tests and a flurry of missile tests over the last year.

"It keeps most of us up at night because of the immediate problem," Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainTrump gives nod to vulnerable GOP Sen. McSally with bill signing Democrats need a 'celebrity' candidate — and it's not Biden or Sanders Juan Williams: The high price of working for Trump MORE (R-Ariz.) told The Hill about North Korea, adding that Trump should give Xi "a clear warning that if they continue to prop up North Korea, we'll take action to restrain them and it will have serious consequences in our relationship, including the economic relationships."

Check back at TheHill.com later for the full story.

 

EX-PENTAGON HEAD PUSHES FOR TECH HELP: Former Defense Secretary Ash Carter on Tuesday called for strengthening ties between the government and Silicon Valley, saying it is "essential" to the country's defense.

"The bridges between technology-driven change and government need to be repaired," Carter said at an Atlantic Council panel, which coincided with the launch of the council's new report, Keeping America's Innovative Edge.

"The secretary of defense needs to win the wars and meet the security challenges of today ... but also to meet the unforeseen challenges and opportunities that an unpredictable future might hold," Carter continued. "To me, that meant ensuring that my successor ... continues to have what I inherited from my predecessors, the finest fighting force the world has ever known."

He added that such a force "needs to be re-earned in each generation. To do so, we had to, even as we dealt with the challenges of today, invest and innovate for an uncertain future."

Read more here.

 

ON TAP FOR TOMORROW:

Gen. Mark Milley, Army chief of staff; Adm. John Richardson, chief of naval operations; Gen. David Goldfein, Air Force chief of staff; and Gen. Robert Neller‎, the Marines' commandant, will appear before the House Armed Services Committee at 10 a.m. in the Rayburn House Office Building, room 2118. http://bit.ly/2oiZyS3

The Senate Appropriations defense subcommittee will hold a closed hearing to review intelligence programs and threat assessments at 10:30 a.m. in the Capitol Visitor Center, room 217. http://bit.ly/2oq7tde

Top Marine Corps generals will testify before the House Armed Services Committee on the current state of the U.S. Marine Corps at 2 p.m. at Rayburn 2212. http://bit.ly/2nEHDlG

The House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia and Emerging Threats will hear testimony from outside experts on Turkey's democracy at 2 p.m. at Rayburn 2172. http://bit.ly/2oHM1Q1

 

ICYMI:

-- The Hill: President Trump moves to fill out top ranks at Pentagon

-- The Hill: Lockheed promises to drop price of Navy F-35 in face of political pressure

-- The Hill: Boeing wins $2.2B, multination deal for maritime patrol planes

-- The Hill: ISIS: US 'being run by an idiot'

-- The Hill: McCain: Trump inaction on Syria is 'disgraceful chapter' in US history

-- The Hill: House votes to move toward designating North Korea as state sponsor of terror

-- The Hill: US calls on Iran, Russia to prevent chemical weapons attacks in Syria

-- The Hill: White House condemns chemical attack in Syria

 

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

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