Overnight Defense: Trump unveils new missile defense plan | Dems express alarm | Shutdown hits Day 27 | Trump cancels Pelosi foreign trip | Senators offer bill to prevent NATO withdrawal

Overnight Defense: Trump unveils new missile defense plan | Dems express alarm | Shutdown hits Day 27 | Trump cancels Pelosi foreign trip | Senators offer bill to prevent NATO withdrawal
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Happy Thursday and welcome to Overnight Defense. I'm Ellen Mitchell, and here's your nightly guide to the latest developments at the Pentagon, on Capitol Hill and beyond. CLICK HERE to subscribe to the newsletter.

 

THE TOPLINE: The Trump administration on Thursday finally unveiled the long overdue Pentagon plans for missile defense capabilities, which include ambitious space-based technologies.

But in announcing the Missile Defense Review at the Pentagon, President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump watching 'very closely' as Portland braces for dueling protests WaPo calls Trump admin 'another threat' to endangered species Are Democrats turning Trump-like? MORE took the opportunity to chastise military allies for what he called a lag in cost sharing.

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Trump said the review -- the first since 2010 -- would focus on developing new technologies to "ensure that we can detect and destroy any missile launched against the United States anywhere, anytime, anyplace."

Trump singled out Iran when noting that "foreign adversaries, competitors and rogue regimes are steadily enhancing their missile arsenals." He argued that Iran "is a much different country today" than two years ago.

"We have some very bad players out there and we're a good player, but we can be far worse than anybody if need be," Trump said.

What the review does: The new document will drive the administration's Pentagon funding request for the fiscal 2020 budget and provide an outline for how the United States will deter and counter any missile threats from Iran, North Korea, Russia and China.

Space gets a star role: Trump said the military "will recognize that space is a new war-fighting domain" with a planned investment in a space-based missile defense layer as part of the administration's 2020 budget request, set to be released next month. 

"It's ultimately going to be a very, very big part of our defense and obviously of our offense," he said. "The system will be monitored and we will terminate any missile launches from hostile powers or even powers that make a mistake. It won't happen, regardless of the missile type or geographic origins of the attack."

And Trump asks allies to pay up: Trump reassured allies and partners that the United States remains committed to NATO, noting that the missile defense review directs the Pentagon "to prioritize the sale of American missile defense and technologies to our allies and to our partners. We will also leverage our networks to share early warning and tracking information."

But he also criticized allies, saying they need to do a better job of sharing costs.

"We will insist on fair burden-sharing with our allies," Trump said. "We're protecting all of these wealthy countries, which I'm very honored to do, but many of them are so wealthy they can easily pay us the cost of this protection. So you'll see big changes taking place."

"We're going to be with NATO 100 percent, but as I told the countries, you have to step up," he added.

Trump's NATO remarks are the first since a Monday report from The New York Times that said he has repeatedly suggested the U.S. withdraw from the 70-year-old military alliance.

 

DEMS ALARMED AT MISSILE DEFENSE PLANS: The top Democrats from the House and Senate Armed Services committees on Thursday indicated they were alarmed by the Trump administration's new missile defense plans and urged the president to avoid policies that could spur another Cold War and waste critical resources.  

Rep. Adam SmithDavid (Adam) Adam SmithWarren's pledge to avoid first nuclear strike sparks intense pushback Landmark US-Russia arms control treaty poised for final blow Young Democrats look to replicate Ocasio-Cortez's primary path MORE (D-Wash.), the chairman of the House panel, called on the administration to "avoid missile defense policies that will fuel a nuclear arms race," following President Trump's unveiling of the Missile Defense Review.

The document highlights new ways of deterring weapons from Russia, China, Iran and North Korea including building up the U.S. missile stockpile and introducing new technologies.

"Strategic stability is an essential component of U.S. national security, and it does not serve our long-term interest to take steps that incentivize Russia and China to increase the number and capability of their nuclear weapons," Smith said in a statement. 

Missile treaties not top Trump priority: Trump in his speech seemed to allude to the administration's decision in October to pull the United States from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty with Russia. 

The nuclear deal, signed by the two countries during the Cold War, bans all land-based missiles with ranges of 310 to 3,420 miles and includes missiles carrying both nuclear and conventional warheads. The original ban between Moscow and Washington resulted in 2,692 missiles being destroyed.

"We are committed to establishing a missile defense program that can shield every city in the United States and we will never negotiate away our right to do this," Trump said.

But Dems 'gravely concerned' Smith said he was "gravely concerned" by Trump's move "to withdraw us from international arms control agreements, dismiss allies, and expand the role of nuclear weapons in U.S. defense policy, which could further siphon funding from much-needed budget priorities and exacerbate a new nuclear arms race."

In addition, Smith called on the administration to prioritize dollars for "programs that are reliable and rigorously tested before they are deployed," rather than "rushing to buy and deploy unproven missile defense systems."

Reed throws shade on Trump's wall:  Sen. Jack ReedJohn (Jack) Francis ReedSenators ask for committee vote on 'red flag' bills after shootings Senate Democrats demand Trump order review of White House security clearances Overnight Defense: Dems talk Afghanistan, nukes at Detroit debate | Senate panel advances Hyten nomination | Iranian foreign minister hit with sanctions | Senate confirms UN ambassador MORE (D-R.I.), the top Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee, backed Smith's sentiment on spending, criticizing Trump's demand for $5.7 billion to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexican border -- an issue that has sent the government into a partial shutdown for a record-setting 27 days.

"Listening to national security experts, and the President's own remarks, it seems clear that an effective high-tech missile defense system is a higher national security priority than building a wall across the southern border," Reed said. 

 

SHUTDOWN DAY 27 - TRUMP BASHES DEMS, CALLS FOR BORDER WALL IN MISSILE DEFENSE REVEAL: Trump on Thursday insisted that Congress must grant his request for money to build a border wall, despite mounting pressure to end the record-long government shutdown.

"The federal government remains shut down because congressional Democrats refuse to approve border security," Trump said. "We are going to have powerful, strong border security."

In remarks at the Pentagon focused on missile defense, Trump took aim at Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiAre Democrats turning Trump-like? Pelosi hits Trump, Netanyahu for 'weakness' amid tensions over Omar and Tlaib In Hong Kong, the need for peaceful persistence MORE (D-Calif.) and accused her of refusing to allow moderate Democrats to negotiate over his demand for $5.7 billion in wall funding.

Trump cancels Pelosi's trip: Trump also on Thursday hit back at Pelosi or warning she may postpone the State of the Union address by scrapping her planned trip overseas.

In a letter to Pelosi, Trump told her that a congressional delegation trip she intended to take to Brussels, Egypt and Afghanistan, which he dismissed as a "public relations event," is now "postponed."

The announcement means that Trump will refuse to provide military transportation for lawmakers to make the journey, which would have included a stop in a war zone, according to the White House.

Pelosi's office said the trip, which was not previously announced, would have included meetings with top NATO commanders in Brussels "to affirm the United States' ironclad commitment" to the alliance as well as a visit with troops serving in Afghanistan.

Both sides dug in: Democrats have repeatedly dismissed the president's request and demanded the government reopen before resuming negotiations on border security.

"The party has been hijacked by the open-borders fringe within the party," Trump said Thursday. "The radical left becoming the radical Democrats. Hopefully, Democrat lawmakers will step forward to do what is right for our country."

 

SENATORS REINTRODUCE BILL TO PREVENT NATO PULLOUT: A bipartisan group of senators on Thursday reintroduced a bill that would prevent the president from withdrawing from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) without Senate approval.

The bill, introduced by four Democrats and four Republicans, would require two-thirds approval from the Senate for a president to suspend, terminate or withdraw the United States from NATO.

"President Trump's repeated threats to withdraw from NATO are dangerous," Sen. Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineWarren's pledge to avoid first nuclear strike sparks intense pushback Almost three-quarters say minimum age to buy tobacco should be 21: Gallup Overnight Defense: Dems talk Afghanistan, nukes at Detroit debate | Senate panel advances Hyten nomination | Iranian foreign minister hit with sanctions | Senate confirms UN ambassador MORE (D-Va.) said in a statement announcing the bill's reintroduction. "Our NATO allies have fought alongside our troops since World War II, yet President Trump disparages these nations and cozies up to our adversaries."

Who signed on: The other co-sponsors are Sens. Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerThe Hill's Campaign Report: Battle for Senate begins to take shape The Hill's Morning Report — Trump and the new Israel-'squad' controversy Colorado candidates vying to take on Gardner warn Hickenlooper they won't back down MORE (R-Colo.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGraham warns Trump on Taliban deal in Afghanistan: Learn from 'Obama's mistakes' Appropriators warn White House against clawing back foreign aid Trump meets with national security team on Afghanistan peace plan MORE (R-S.C.), Chris CoonsChristopher (Chris) Andrew CoonsThe United States broken patent system is getting worse Biden faces scrutiny for his age from other Democrats Democrats press FBI for details on Kavanaugh investigation MORE (D-Del.), Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioTrump moves forward with F-16 sale to Taiwan opposed by China The Hill's Morning Report — Trump and the new Israel-'squad' controversy Trump crosses new line with Omar, Tlaib, Israel move MORE (R-Fla.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsCook Political Report moves Susan Collins Senate race to 'toss up' The Hill's Morning Report — Trump and the new Israel-'squad' controversy Trump crosses new line with Omar, Tlaib, Israel move MORE (R-Maine).

The same bill was introduced last year after Trump rattled NATO allies at a July summit in Brussels. The sponsors last time were Kaine, Gardner, Reed and the late Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainThe Hill's Morning Report — Recession fears climb and markets dive — now what? Trump makes rare trip to Clinton state, hoping to win back New Hampshire Graham promises ObamaCare repeal if Trump, Republicans win in 2020 MORE (R-Ariz.).

The background: The reintroduction comes after a New York Times report that Trump told aides several times last year that he wants to withdraw from NATO.

One of the occasions when Trump reportedly raised the issue of withdrawal was the lead-up to the NATO summit in July, when he told his top national security officials he did not see the point of the alliance and thought it was a drain on the United States.

What the bill would do: Right now, presidents are required to get the consent of the Senate to enter into treaties. Article 13 of the NATO treaty requires a country give a one-year "notice of denunciation" before it can exit NATO.

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In addition to requiring Senate approval for Trump to withdraw, the bill reintroduced Thursday would authorize the Senate Legal Counsel and the General Counsel of the House to challenge in court any attempt by the administration to withdraw from NATO without the Senate's consent.

 

ON TAP FOR TOMORROW

Undersecretary of the Air Force Matt Donovan will speak at an Air Force Association breakfast at 9:30 a.m. in Arlington, Va. 

 

ICYMI

-- The Hill: State Dept. asks employees to return to work amid shutdown

-- The Hill: Trump offers condolences in first public comments on Syria attack

-- The Hill: Pentagon crafting plan to scrutinize potential military recruits with foreign ties, green cards: report

-- The Hill: Pentagon missile defense doctrine to explore space-base tech

-- The Hill: Facebook takes down anti-NATO pages linked to Russia

-- The Hill: Macron: US 'retreat from Syria' won't change mission to eradicate ISIS

-- The Hill: Congress sends bill renewing anti-terrorism program to Trump

-- The Hill: Opinion: Cybersecurity of our nuclear systems needs to be a top priority