Overnight Defense: Details on defense spending bill | NATO chief dismisses talk of renaming HQ for McCain | North Korea warns US over cyber allegations

Overnight Defense: Details on defense spending bill | NATO chief dismisses talk of renaming HQ for McCain | North Korea warns US over cyber allegations
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THE TOPLINE: NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg on Friday dismissed the idea of naming NATO's new headquarters after the late Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCain#JohnMcCainDay trends on Trump's 73rd birthday #JohnMcCainDay trends on Trump's 73rd birthday New poll finds little GOP support for spending cuts to specific federal programs MORE (R-Ariz.), explaining that the alliance does not "have a tradition of naming buildings after politicians."

"NATO doesn't have a tradition of naming buildings after politicians. We are 29 [member countries] with a lot of presidents, kings, heads of state and governments, so we haven't introduced that tradition," Stoltenberg told attendees at a Heritage Foundation event in Washington, D.C.

"So I'm certain that we will be able to honor John McCain, but not necessarily through naming a building. We honor John McCain every day through the fact that we stand together in NATO and deliver a strong transatlantic deterrence and defense."

The original proposal: Lawmakers in both chambers of Congress earlier this month introduced a resolution to support the effort to name NATO's new headquarters in Brussels after McCain, who was a staunch defender of the transatlantic alliance.

He died in late August after a yearlong battle with brain cancer.

"John McCain dedicated his life to the defense of freedom," Rep. Mike GallagherMichael (Mike) John Gallagher58 GOP lawmakers vote against disaster aid bill Honor veterans by considering alternatives to the foreign policy status quo Connecticut radio station rebrands itself 'Trump 103.3' MORE (R-Wis.), said in a statement. "I can think of no more appropriate tribute than naming the headquarters of the free world's foundational alliance in his memory."

NATO officials said last month that the request, "will be considered carefully," for the naming of the new $1.45 billion headquarters, which will house nearly 4,000 military and civilian personnel from the alliance. NATO officially moved into the building in April.

Nothing but praise for McCain: Stoltenberg -- who attended McCain's funeral in D.C. -- added that he and NATO allies "very much respect late Sen. John McCain for many reasons but not least because of his very strong support and commitment to NATO, to the transatlantic bond."

"He has lifelong career in support of NATO and the values that NATO defends," Stoltenberg added.

"I know that all allies respect him very much and honor his memory."


DEFENSE FUNDING DETAILS: The conference report for the Pentagon spending bill -- the one that was agreed to Thursday and paired with stopgap spending for much of the rest of the government -- was released late Thursday. Lawmakers cheered the deal, which will avert a shutdown.

On Friday, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac ThornberryWilliam (Mac) McClellan ThornberryOvernight Defense: Pompeo blames Iran for oil tanker attacks | House panel approves 3B defense bill | Trump shares designs for red, white and blue Air Force One House panel approves 3B defense policy bill House panel approves 3B defense policy bill MORE (R-Texas) touted the bill as breaking a cycle of continuing resolutions for the Pentagon.

"For nine years, Congress has failed in its basic duty to fund the troops on time and give them the certainty they need," he said in a statement. "That decade of continuing resolutions and thoughtless cuts has sapped our strength and emboldened our enemies. This agreement breaks that cycle, shows Congress doing its job, and keeps faith with the men and women in uniform."

Here are some of the highlights of what made it in:

Dollars: The $674.4 billion bill breaks down into $606.5 billion in base funding and $67.9 billion for a war fund known as the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) funding.

Equipment: As reported earlier, the bill would fund three littoral combat ships (LCS) and 93 F-35 fighter jets.

That's compared to the one LCS and 77 F-35s the administration requested, and aligns with the original House-passed spending bill.

Troops: The bill matches the administration's request for 15,600 more active-duty troops and 800 more reserve troops.

The original House-passed bill followed the administration's request. But the Senate's bill would have only added 6,961 new troops, all active-duty.

Turkey and the F-35: The bill aligns with the annual defense policy bill on halting delivery of F-35s to Turkey.

It will block funding for the delivery until the Pentagon completes an assessment on U.S.-Turkish relations.

That's watered down from the original Senate-passed bill, which would have blocked funding until the Pentagon certifies Turkey is not buying the Russian S-400 air-defense system.

Sen. Chris Van HollenChristopher (Chris) Van HollenDemocrats ask Fed to probe Trump's Deutsche Bank ties Democrats ask Fed to probe Trump's Deutsche Bank ties Lawmakers raise security concerns about China building NYC subway cars MORE (D-Md.), who sponsored the original Senate provision, expressed disappointment Friday.

"The language in the bill falls short of what is needed to prevent our national security from being compromised," he said in a statement. "While President TrumpDonald John TrumpDC board rejects Trump Hotel effort to dismiss complaint seeking removal of liquor license on basis of Trump's 'character' DC board rejects Trump Hotel effort to dismiss complaint seeking removal of liquor license on basis of Trump's 'character' Mexico's immigration chief resigns amid US pressure over migrants MORE has taken action to attempt to gain the release of Americans unjustly imprisoned by the Turkish government, he has not told President Erdogan that Turkey's purchase of Russian defense systems will undermine NATO's security. That is why Congress must not equivocate on this issue. Unfortunately, when given the chance to deliver President Erdogan a strong message, the Congress blinked."


US FACES CHALLENGE WITH PENDING RELEASE OF TERROR CONVICTS: Dozens of Americans convicted of terrorism-related crimes are approaching the end of their prison terms, sparking a debate over how to reintegrate them into society in a way that lowers the potential for repeated crimes.

Experts say the U.S. has yet to formulate a comprehensive policy for reintegrating them into society -- 17 years after 9/11 heightened the nation's fears of terrorist attacks.

They also say the U.S. does not have a system to track the activities of individuals convicted of terrorism-related crimes once they are released.

Filling the gap: House Republicans are pushing legislation, known as the TRACER Act, that would establish a national database similar to that of a sex offender registry. Upon release, a federal correctional facility would send an individual's information to state and federal authorities.

"TRACER would actually do the same thing [as a sex offender registry] and be providing notification that someone has been released," House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaulMichael Thomas McCaulHouse Dems introduce resolutions to block Trump's Saudi arms sales Hillicon Valley: Democratic state AGs sue to block T-Mobile-Sprint merger | House kicks off tech antitrust probe | Maine law shakes up privacy debate | Senators ask McConnell to bring net neutrality to a vote Hillicon Valley: Democratic state AGs sue to block T-Mobile-Sprint merger | House kicks off tech antitrust probe | Maine law shakes up privacy debate | Senators ask McConnell to bring net neutrality to a vote MORE (R-Texas) told The Hill.

The House passed the bill by voice vote on Sept. 12, 2017. The Senate has not taken up the measure.

The numbers: Twenty-five Americans who have been convicted of terrorist-related crimes are expected to be released by the end of 2021, according to the latest figures compiled by New America Foundation, a Washington-based think tank.

By the end of 2025, that number is slated to jump to 72. Foreign detainees in Guantanamo are not included in that tally.

The bump in scheduled releases comes several years after a 2008 spike in convictions that peaked around 2014 after ISIS declared a Caliphate state. That declaration prompted some Americans to take steps to join ISIS or plot ISIS-inspired violence.


NORTH KOREA WARNS US THAT CYBERATTACK ALLEGATIONS COULD RUIN NUCLEAR TALKS: North Korea blasted a U.S. complaint alleging the country was behind several global cyberattacks, calling the charges a "smear campaign" that could undermine talks between the two countries.

Han Yong Song, a researcher of the Institute for American Studies of the Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said in a statement Friday issued through the state-run Korean Central News Agency that the man listed in the complaint, Park Jin Hyok, was a "non-entity."

He also denied the country's involvement in the 2014 Sony hack and last year's global WannaCry ransomware attack, calling the charges "vicious slander" and "preposterous falsehoods."

"The U.S. should seriously ponder over the negative consequences of circulating falsehoods and inciting antagonism against the DPRK that may affect the implementation of the Joint Statement adopted at the DPRK-U.S.," the statement read, referring to an agreement reached between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un earlier this year.

What caused the statement: The Department of Justice last week unsealed a 179-page long complaint alleging that North Korea was behind global cyberattacks dating back several years. Park was the only person named in the document, but the allegations said he worked with co-conspirators.

Trump publicly praised North Korea both before and after the complaint was unsealed. The Washington Post reported that Kim told South Korean representatives that he still trusts Trump.

Nuclear talks still ongoing: Trump and Kim met at a summit in June, when they signed an agreement guaranteeing unspecified security measures from the U.S. in exchange for the eventual denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

Plans for a second meeting between the two leaders are underway, the White House said earlier this week.



Defense Intelligence Agency director Lt. Gen. Robert Ashley will speak at the Center for Strategic and International Studies at 1:30 p.m. https://bit.ly/2wdBEK4



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