Overnight Defense

Defense & National Security — Pentagon says no to DC’s National Guard request

The Defense Department has turned down a request from Washington, D.C., to deploy the National Guard to help with migrants being bussed into the city from Texas and Arizona. 

We’ll share what D.C. officials asked and more about the Pentagon’s response, plus China’s continued rage over Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) trip to Taiwan and the measures its now taking in response, as well as a new memo to top Defense officials reminding them to save the contents of their phones. 

This is Defense & National Security, your nightly guide to the latest developments at the Pentagon, on Capitol Hill and beyond. For The Hill, I’m Ellen Mitchell.

DC’s request for Guard to help with migrants denied 

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has turned down a request from Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) to deploy the National Guard to help with migrants being bussed into the city from Texas and Arizona, a Defense official told The Hill. 

Bowser requested the Guard in mid-July as Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) bussed thousands of migrants from the southern border to the capital to protest President Biden’s immigration policy. 

The Pentagon’s response: Austin “determined providing this support would negatively impact the readiness of the DCNG and have negative effects on the organization and members,” the official said. 

“We understand SAMU First Response has received grant funding through FEMA’s EFSP [Emergency Food and Shelter Program], and has indicated that sufficient EFSP funds exist at this point to provide migrant assistance,” they added. 

A plea for help: Bowser said in July that the city’s ability to manage the influx of migrants into the city was limited and blasted Abbott and Ducey for not working with the Biden administration on their issues but rather bussing migrants for “cruel political gamesmanship.”   

During media availability on Friday, Bowser didn’t directly address the denied request, but she reiterated her need for the National Guard and a site that can be used to make the stop in D.C. as “humane as possible.” 

“If the federal government is not going to do it, they need to at least get out of our way and give us the resources that we need,” she said. 

Frustrations: Reuters reported on Thursday that the request frustrated the White House and other aid organizations, who said it was unnecessary and played into GOP critics of Biden’s border policies. 

Read the full story here 

China halts military cooperation over Pelosi visit 

The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Friday said that the country would halt its cooperation with the U.S. on military and climate matters in response to Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) trip to Taiwan. 

The foreign ministry announced eight “countermeasures” after Pelosi visited Taiwan “in disregard of China’s strong opposition and serious representations.” 

The ‘countermeasures’: China will no longer take part in the previously planned China-U.S. Theater Commanders Talk, the Defense Policy Coordination Talks or the Military Maritime Consultative Agreement meetings. 

The government is also suspending cooperation on the repatriation of illegal immigrants, legal assistance in criminal matters, cooperation against transnational crimes, counternarcotics cooperation and talks on climate change. 

Some background: Pelosi and a delegation of House Democrats touched down in Taipei on Tuesday, where they discussed security issues with the Taiwanese government as part of a larger trip to the Indo-Pacific region. 

China claimed that the visit violated its “one-China principle” and that “it gravely undermines peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, and sends a seriously wrong signal to the separatist forces for ‘Taiwan independence.’” 

Read more here 

CHINESE AMBASSADOR CALLED TO THE WHITE HOUSE  

Chinese Ambassador to the U.S. Qin Gang has been called to the White House following a strong reaction from the Chinese government to Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan. 

“After China’s actions overnight, we summoned Ambassador Qin Gang to the White House to démarche him about the PRC’s provocative actions,” White House national security spokesman John Kirby told The Washington Post, referring to the People’s Republic of China. 

Kirby said that the White House “condemned” the military drills China began conducting in the waters surrounding Taiwan following Pelosi’s visit to Taipei. 

Read that story here 

Also from The Hill

Pentagon to top officials: Don’t wipe phones  

The Pentagon’s No. 2 official is reminding its employees to preserve the contents of their government phones following revelations that the texts for top Defense Department officials were not preserved and their communications on Jan. 6, 2021, were lost.  

In a memo sent to senior leaders on Wednesday, Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks reminded officials that the retention of records as required by the Federal Records Act “is a solemn responsibility and legal obligation for all federal employees, civilian and military.”   

What prompted the memo?: The Pentagon wiped the phones of former acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller, former Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy and former Pentagon chief of staff Kash Patel in the days after the attack on the Capitol and the end of former President Trump’s term.  

The government watchdog American Oversight first discovered the data gap after it sued for the texts following a public records request. 

Why it matters: The scrubbed records are significant as they could have shed more light on why the National Guard was delayed approval to go to the Capitol as it was under siege. 

Room for improvement: In her memo, Hicks also directs the Pentagon’s chief information officer and general counsel to assess and report back in 30 days on existing Defense Department communication policy and procedures and any recommendations for improvement. 

Read the full story here
 

ON TAP FOR MONDAY

Government Executive Media Group will hold an event on “Sunrise to Sunset: A Deeper Look at the Defense Cloud Landscape,” at 1 p.m. 

WHAT WE’RE READING

That’s it for today! Check out The Hill’s Defense and National Security pages for the latest coverage. See you next week!

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Tags Biden Doug Ducey Greg Abbott Lloyd Austin Muriel Bowser Nancy Pelosi
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