Overnight Defense: Watchdog details faults with military's criminal info reporting | Army aims to recruit more cyber warriors | Boeing dispute derails Canada jet sale

Overnight Defense: Watchdog details faults with military's criminal info reporting | Army aims to recruit more cyber warriors | Boeing dispute derails Canada jet sale
© Getty

THE TOPLINE: The Pentagon's watchdog arm has found that, in the past two years, military services didn't submit criminal data to the FBI database used for background checks nearly 30 percent of the time

Those "serious deficiencies" are highlighted in a newly released report as part of a larger issue that includes the Air Force's failure to report alleged Texas church shooter Devin Kelley's domestic abuse conviction to the FBI, an oversight that allowed Kelley to buy weapons.

The Department of Defense (DOD) inspector general -- in reviewing 2,502 convictions handled in the military court system in 2015 and 2016 -- found that the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps failed to submit fingerprint cards to the FBI in 601, or 24 percent, of the cases.

Officials in all four branches also failed to submit final disposition reports in 780, or 31 percent, of the cases.

"Our report again identified serious deficiencies throughout the DOD in reporting criminal history information to the FBI," Glenn Fine, the principal deputy inspector general, said in a statement. 

"It is critical that the DOD fully implement our recommendations to correct past deficiencies and prevent future lapses in reporting," he said.

The report comes roughly a month after authorities found that the Air Force had failed to report to the FBI the domestic violence conviction of Kelley, the man accused of killing 26 people in a mass shooting at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas.

In 2014, Kelley was sentenced to a year in prison and received a bad conduct discharge after a court-martial conviction on two counts of domestic abuse against his wife and stepson. That conviction should have barred him from purchasing a gun.

The DOD inspector general is separately investigating what happened in that case.

Broken down by service, the Army was the worst offender with 262 missing fingerprint cards (28 percent), as well as 385 (41 percent) missing reports.

Read the rest here. 


ARMY LEADERS LAUNCH PROGRAM TO RECRUIT MORE CYBER WARRIORS: The U.S. Army is officially launching a new program aimed at recruiting more cyber operators to fill existing gaps in the force.

The service is implementing a new pilot program to directly commission civilians with technology and cybersecurity backgrounds as cyber operations officers who will provide support for the branch's Cyber Mission Force teams. 

The effort signals the urgency within the Army to recruit more technology-savvy operators as cyber operations gain significance in the U.S. military.

"We've been building the force for the last four years," Lt. Gen. Paul Nakasone, commander of U.S. Army Cyber Command, told reporters at a briefing on the program Tuesday afternoon. "We've got a pretty good feel for the … gaps that we have." 

The program will allow programmers, web developers and others in technology fields to apply to be directly commissioned as an officer in U.S. Army Cyber Command. In order to apply, individuals must have at least four-year degrees in computer science or related tech fields, in addition to filling a set of other requirements.

The Hill's Morgan Chalfant has more here.


BOEING DISPUTE DERAILS SALE OF SUPER HORNETS TO CANADA: Canada will call off a planned buy of 18 Boeing Super Hornet fighter jets after a months-long dispute with the U.S. defense contractor, Reuters reported on Tuesday.

Three sources familiar with the matter told the news outlet that Canada will instead announce next week that it will purchase a used fleet of Australian F-18 jets, which Canada already operates.

Australian military officials had been in the Canadian capitol of Ottawa in late November for talks, two of the sources said.

Canada was in the midst of negotiations to buy the Boeing-made F/A-18s for an estimated $5.15 billion, but the country put the talks on hold after the defense contractor in April filed a complaint with the U.S. Commerce Department against Canadian company Bombardier.


SENATE CONFIRMS TRUMP'S HOMELAND SECURITY NOMINEE: The Senate confirmed President Trump's pick to lead the Department of Homeland Security after John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE left the agency for his White House post earlier this year.

Senators voted 62-37 on Kirstjen Nielsen's nomination to be DHS secretary, with 10 Democratic senators and Independent Sen. Angus KingAngus Stanley KingRestoring our national parks would be a bipartisan win for Congress Restore our parks Renaming Senate office building after McCain sparks GOP backlash MORE (Maine) siding with Republicans to support her. 

Nielsen, who was nominated in October, was expected to secure confirmation after clearing a procedural hurdle in a 59-33 vote on Monday evening.

She'll be the department's first Senate-confirmed secretary in months. Kelly left to become the Trump's chief of staff in July, and Elaine Duke has led the agency in an acting capacity.

The Hill's Jordain Carney has more here. 


LATEST ON BUDGET TALKS: Lawmakers have only days left to avoid a potential shutdown Friday and reach a deal on 2018 spending levels.

House Republicans on Tuesday delayed consideration of a stopgap spending bill to keep the government funded past Friday amid growing divisions over their year-end strategy.

The House Rules Committee had planned to meet later Tuesday afternoon to prepare a short-term bill to fund the government through Dec. 22, but reversed course and announced it will instead meet Wednesday afternoon.

That would indicate a Thursday vote on the spending measure, bringing lawmakers closer to the Friday deadline.

House Republicans met for more than an hour on Tuesday morning to discuss the path forward on the government-funding bill as the conservative House Freedom Caucus pushed to extend the deadline in the bill to Dec. 30.

Read the rest here.



House Foreign Affairs Committee subpanel will hold a hearing on advancing human rights to combat extremism at 10 a.m. at the Rayburn House Office Building, room 2172. 

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee will hold a hearing on defending against international terrorism threats at 10 a.m. in Dirksen Senate Office Building 342. 

A House Foreign Affairs subcommittee will hold a hearing on U.S. policy toward Tibet at 2 p.m. in Rayburn 2172. 

Another House Foreign Affairs subcommittee will hold a hearing on Brexit negotiations at 2 p.m. in Rayburn 2200.

A Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee will hold a hearing on countering terrorism and promoting stability in North Africa with testimony from State Department officials at 2:30 p.m. in Dirksen 419. 



-- The Hill: Pentagon confirms deaths of top al Qaeda, Taliban leaders

-- The Hill: F-35 fighter jet loses part during training flight near Japan

-- The Hill: Trump plans 6-month waiver to delay embassy move to Jerusalem: report

-- The Hill: Opinion: How one North Korean nuclear-armed satellite could cripple the US military

-- The Hill: Opinion: Congress, cut the continuing resolutions so Defense can do its job

-- Military Times: Sexually transmitted diseases on the rise in the military


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

Follow us on Twitter: @thehill@Rebecca_H_K@EllenMitchell23