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Overnight Defense: Trump talks nuclear modernization, North Korea at State of the Union | Missile defense test reportedly fails | Navy releases new video of 'unsafe' intercept | Dems want answers on security risk from fitness app

Overnight Defense: Trump talks nuclear modernization, North Korea at State of the Union | Missile defense test reportedly fails | Navy releases new video of 'unsafe' intercept | Dems want answers on security risk from fitness app
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THE TOPLINE: Still haven't caught up on President TrumpDonald John TrumpDemocrats slide in battle for Senate Trump believes Kushner relationship with Saudi crown prince a liability: report Christine Blasey Ford to be honored by Palo Alto City Council MORE's State of the Union from Tuesday night?

The speech hit a number of defense issues, from nuclear modernization to the defense budget to North Korea.

Here are some highlights from Trump's address:

Nuclear modernization: "As part of our defense, we must modernize and rebuild our nuclear arsenal, hopefully never having to use it, but making it so strong and so powerful that it will deter any acts of aggression by any other nation or anyone else. Perhaps someday in the future there will be a magical moment when the countries of the world will get together to eliminate their nuclear weapons. Unfortunately, we are not there yet, sadly."

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Defense budget: "Around the world, we face rogue regimes, terrorist groups and rivals like China and Russia that challenge our interests, our economy and our values. In confronting these horrible dangers, we know that weakness is the surest path to conflict, and unmatched power is the surest means to our true and great defense. For this reason, I am asking Congress to end the dangerous defense sequester and fully fund our great military."

North Korea: "No regime has oppressed its own citizens more totally or brutally than the cruel dictatorship in North Korea. North Korea's reckless pursuit of nuclear missiles could very soon threaten our homeland. We are waging a campaign of maximum pressure to prevent that from ever happening."

Guantanamo Bay: "I am keeping another promise. I just signed an order directing [Defense] Secretary [James] Mattis to reexamine our military detention policy and to keep open the detention facilities at Guantánamo Bay."

Catch up on all of The Hill's State of the Union coverage here.

 

DID MISSILE DEFENSE TEST FAIL?: The Missile Defense Agency is being unusually tight-lipped about the results of a test Wednesday, but a report says a trial run failed to intercept the target.

The Hill's Ellen Mitchell writes:

The U.S. military reportedly failed to intercept an incoming target in a ballistic missile defense test early Wednesday in Hawaii.

The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) acknowledged the test took place, but would not comment on the results.

"The Missile Defense Agency and U.S. Navy sailors manning the Aegis Ashore Missile Defense Test Complex (AAMDTC) conducted a live-fire missile flight test using a Standard-Missile (SM)-3 Block IIA missile launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility, Kauai, Hawaii, Wednesday morning," MDA spokesman Mark Wright said in a statement.

If confirmed, it would be the second such unsuccessful test of the Raytheon missile within a year.

CNN first reported the latest test, which included a missile launched from land and an intercept target launched from an aircraft.

Officials told the network the Pentagon is not publicly acknowledging the results due partly to sensitivities around North Korea's participation in the Winter Olympic Games in February and tensions with Pyongyang.

Read more here.

 

FIVE MORE VIDEOS SHOW 'UNSAFE' RUSSIAN INTERCEPT: The U.S. Navy on Wednesday released five more videos of an "unsafe" intercept by a Russian military jet, after some questioned the original video for not showing the Russian plane as close as the Navy alleged.

"These videos show the Russian Su-27 intercepting the EP-3 from a very close position, at the same altitude, and with an estimated wingtip-to-wingtip horizontal separation as little as five feet at times," U.S. Navy Capt. Bill Ellis, commander of Task Force 67, said in a statement Wednesday. "For the Russian fighter aircraft to fly this close to the U.S. Navy aircraft, especially for extended periods of time, is unsafe.

"The smallest lapse of focus or error in airmanship by the intercepting aircrew can have disastrous consequences. There is no margin for error and insufficient time or space for our aircrews to take corrective action."

Watch the videos and read more here.

 

LATEST ON FITNESS APPS: Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee are demanding answers on privacy settings and security practices from the company the released a heat map apparently showing locations of remote and classified U.S. military bases.

The Hill's Harper Neidig reports:

The lawmakers, led by Rep. Frank Pallone Jr.Frank Joseph PalloneDems eye ambitious agenda if House flips Hillicon Valley: Facebook rift over exec's support for Kavanaugh | Dem worried about Russian trolls jumping into Kavanaugh debate | China pushes back on Pence House Democrat questions big tech on possible foreign influence in Kavanaugh debate MORE (D-N.J.), on Wednesday asked for a briefing from Strava following reports that analysts have been able to use its publicly available "heat map" to pinpoint the locations of U.S. military bases in the Middle East.

"The increasing popularity of fitness trackers and other wearable technology has raised serious questions about the types of data they collect and share and the degree to which consumers control their own personal information," the members wrote in a letter to Strava. "The data these devices collect reveals users' precise locations, daily activities, and health information. Most consumer technology companies, however, are not required to set baseline privacy standards or ensure that users' information is secured."

Strava is a fitness app that lets users track their fitness activity and share it with friends. It can be used on devices like Fitbits, Apple Watches and other fitness trackers. The company's popularity among service members appears to have highlighted military bases and covert sites on its worldwide heat map.

Read more here.

 

ON TAP FOR TOMORROW:

Qatari Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani will discuss challenges in the Gulf at 9 a.m. at the American Enterprise Institute. http://bit.ly/2niQTwN

Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson will speak about "The Navy the Nation Needs" at 11 a.m. at the Heritage Foundation. http://bit.ly/2DQ91bH

 

ICYMI: 

-- The Hill: Kelly: Teacher who slammed the military should 'go to hell'

-- The Hill: Report: Mattis considering personal cellphone ban at Pentagon

-- The Hill: Japan praises Trump for comments on North Korea

-- The Hill: Trump officials take heat for declining Russia sanctions

-- The Hill: Opinion: Firewalling democracy: Federal inaction on a national security priority

-- The Hill: Opinion: Permit Trump's defense buildup without blowing up the deficit

-- The Hill: Opinion: Trump goes dark on Russia and the real threat to our State of the Union

-- The Hill: Opinion: With the Taliban rising, the US must postpone peace deal prospects

-- Defense News: Former Defense Secretary Hagel: North Korea bloody nose strike a 'gamble' he wouldn't make

-- Associated Press: US confident in Olympics security despite N. Korea tensions