Overnight Defense: Second Trump-Kim summit planned for next month | Pelosi accuses Trump of leaking Afghanistan trip plans | Pentagon warns of climate threat to bases | Trump faces pressure to reconsider Syria exit

Overnight Defense: Second Trump-Kim summit planned for next month | Pelosi accuses Trump of leaking Afghanistan trip plans | Pentagon warns of climate threat to bases | Trump faces pressure to reconsider Syria exit
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Happy Friday 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.

Reminder: Overnight Defense will be off Monday due to the MLK holiday.


THE TOPLINE: President TrumpDonald John TrumpSarah Huckabee Sanders becomes Fox News contributor The US-Iranian scuffle over a ship is a sideshow to events in the Gulf South Korea: US, North Korea to resume nuclear talks 'soon' MORE will meet North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un for their second summit at the end of February, the White House said Friday.

"President Donald J. Trump met with Kim Yong Chol for an hour and half, to discuss denuclearization and a second summit, which will take place near the end of February. The President looks forward to meeting with Chairman Kim at a place to be announced at a later date," White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement.

Trump also met with North Korean official…: The announcement came shortly after Trump met with Kim Yong Chol, the North Korean official leading denuclearization talks, in the Oval Office Friday afternoon.


Kim Yong Chol arrived in Washington on Thursday night and also met with Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard Pompeo'China will not sit idly by' if US sells fighters to Taiwan, official says The Hill's Morning Report - Trump touts new immigration policy, backtracks on tax cuts Iceland's prime minister will not be in town for Pence's visit MORE earlier Friday.

The background: Trump for months has expressed a desire to have a second summit with Kim Jong Un even as negotiations have stalled since their first summit.

In his New Year's address, Kim Jong Un upped the pressure for a potential meeting. While he said he was willing to meet with Trump "at any time," he warned his country could take a "new path" if the United States does not lift its sanctions.

Trump and Kim Jong Un met in Singapore in June after which the North Korean leader "reaffirmed his firm and unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula" in a document signed by both sides. Trump declared shortly after the summit that the nuclear threat from Pyongyang was "no longer."

But nuclear talks with North Korea have lost momentum since then, and several reports have indicated North Korea has worked to conceal its missile program since.


PELOSI ACCUSES TRUMP OF OUTING TRIP TO AFGHANISTAN: Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiCutting tariffs is better than cutting payroll taxes to boost the economy Pelosi speaks with Israeli president after Trump controversy In debate over internet speech law, pay attention to whose voices are ignored MORE (D-Calif.) on Friday said President Trump revealed that she and other lawmakers would be making a trip to Afghanistan on a commercial flight, a revelation that made it too dangerous to go forward with the trip.

"We weren't going to go because we had a report from Afghanistan that the president outing our trip had made the scene on the ground much more dangerous because it's a signal to bad actors that we were coming," Pelosi told reporters.

The Speaker described the leak as a shocking break in protocol, saying it was standard for such trips to be kept quiet given the inherent dangers of the trip.

White House denies: The White House quickly said it was not behind the leak and accused Pelosi of lying. The White House said other parties must have leaked the information, suggesting it was becoming widely known.

"When the Speaker of the House and about 20 others from Capitol Hill decide to book their own commercial flights to Afghanistan, the world is going to find out," a senior White House official said, according to a White House pool report. "The idea we would leak anything that would put the safety and security of any American at risk is a flat-out lie."

Shutdown fight turns nasty: The back-and-forth is the latest turn in an increasingly nasty fight over the government shutdown between Trump and Pelosi.

Trump on Thursday prevented Pelosi or any other members of Congress from going on congressional delegation trips abroad with military transport. His move appeared to be in response to Pelosi's decision to ask Trump to delay his Jan. 29 State of the Union address given what she said were security concerns related to the shutdown.


PENTAGON WARNS OF CLIMATE THREAT TO BASES: A Congressional-mandated Pentagon report reveals that more than two-thirds of operationally critical military installations are threatened by the effects of climate change over the next 20 years, including repeated flooding and wildfires.

The 22-page report released this week, titled the "Effects of a Changing Climate to the Department of Defense," took a look at 79 "mission assurance priority installations" from the Army, Air Force and Navy that are based in the U.S.

"The effects of a changing climate are a national security issue with potential impacts to Department of Defense missions, operational plans, and installations," the report states.

The details: Of the 79 installations, 53 are at risk for flooding now, and seven additional locations are at risk in two decades. 

For wildfires, 36 installations are at risk currently, a number that is bumped up to 43 over 20 years. In addition, more than half are at risk from drought, and six are prone to desertification. 

The report also notes several examples of how military bases are already running into issues caused by climate change, including Joint Base Langley-Eustis in Virginia, which "has experienced 14 inches in sea level rise since 1930," with flooding at the base becoming "more frequent and severe."

Navy Base Coronado in California, meanwhile, "experiences isolated and flash flooding during tropical storm events," with the main installation reporting "worsening sea level rise and storm surge impacts that include access limitations and other logistic related impairments."

Around Washington, D.C., several sites including Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, "periodically experienced drought conditions," which causes "deep or wide cracks in the soil, at times leading to ruptured utility lines and cracked road surfaces."

Dems not happy with document: Senate Armed Services Committee ranking member Jack ReedJohn (Jack) Francis ReedSenate Democrats push for arms control language in defense policy bill What the gun safety debate says about Washington Senators ask for committee vote on 'red flag' bills after shootings MORE (D-R.I.) bashed the document as "inadequate, incomplete" and "partisan."

Reed pointed out that the report did not include a top 10 list of the most vulnerable installations from each military service, as required of the document in the fiscal 2018 National Defense Authorization Act. The report also was supposed to include a cost estimate to alleviate climate change risks at installations. 

In a separate statement, House Armed Services Committee Chairman 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.), said the report "demonstrates a continued unwillingness to seriously recognize and address the threat that climate change poses to our national security and military readiness." 


PRESSURE MOUNTS FOR TRUMP TO RECONSIDER SYRIA WITHDRAWAL: President Trump is hearing renewed calls to rethink his Syria withdrawal following an ISIS-claimed suicide bombing that represented the single deadliest attack on Americans in Syria since U.S. troops were deployed in 2015.

The defense and foreign policy establishment is pointing to the recent attack as being indicative of its warnings last month that the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) was on the ropes, but not knocked out, and would get a second wind with a U.S. pullout.

Republicans try to dissuade Trump to no avail yet: A handful of senators met with Trump at the White House after the attack, including Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioGOP group calls on Republican senators to stand up to McConnell on election security in new ads What the gun safety debate says about Washington Trump moves forward with F-16 sale to Taiwan opposed by China MORE (R-Fla.), who said the history in that region "has been that the minute you take pressure off these groups, they grow, and they begin to strike."

The Florida Republican said he left the meeting believing Trump is "very open to keeping his promise to disengage from foreign conflicts in a way that doesn't undermine our counterterror mission."

And Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGOP group calls on Republican senators to stand up to McConnell on election security in new ads Cindy McCain says no one in Republican Party carries 'voice of reason' after husband's death Trump says he'll decide on foreign aid cuts within a week MORE (R-S.C.), who's often considered a Trump ally but has been among the most vocal critics of the Syria decision, took time out of chairing an unrelated Judiciary Committee hearing on Wednesday to say that he "would hope the president would look long and hard of where he's headed in Syria."

There is no indication that Trump will heed calls to reconsider the withdrawal as he seeks to fulfill his campaign promise to bring troops home from the Middle East. 

Explosion indicates ISIS growing emboldened: On Wednesday, a suicide bomber detonated an explosive device near a restaurant in the busy city center of Manbij, a town in northern Syria that was retaken from ISIS in 2016.

At least 19 people were killed in the explosion, including two U.S. troops, a Pentagon civilian employee and an American military contractor.

The attack further undermined Trump's initial claim that ISIS was defeated, an assertion he made when announcing the withdrawal. Administration officials have since tempered that characterization.

On Thursday, in his first public comments on the attack, Trump offered his condolences but did not address the withdrawal plans.

Pentagon identifies attack victims: The Pentagon on Friday identified the two U.S. service members and one civilian employee who were killed by this week's suicide bombing in Syria.

The two service members were Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Jonathan R. Farmer, 37, of Boynton Beach, Fla.; and Navy Chief Cryptologic Technician (Interpretive) Shannon M. Kent, 35, of upstate New York, according to a Pentagon news release.

Kent is the first female U.S. troop killed in action in the war against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

The civilian was Scott A. Wirtz of St. Louis, Mo., according to the release. Wirtz was assigned to the Defense Intelligence Agency as an operations support specialist.

Farmer, Kent and Wirtz died "as a result of wounds sustained from a suicide improvised explosive device," the release said.


IN AFGHANISTAN, FIRST US SOLDIER KILLED IN 2019: A U.S. soldier died Thursday after being wounded in a combat operation in Afghanistan days earlier, the Pentagon said Friday.

Sgt. Cameron A. Meddock, 26, of Spearman, Texas, died in Landstuhl, Germany, according to a Pentagon news release. He was supporting the U.S. military mission in Afghanistan known as Operation Freedom's Sentinel, the Pentagon said.


He was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., and died "as a result of injuries sustained from small arms fire during combat operations on Jan. 13 in Jawand District, Badghis Province, Afghanistan," the release said.

A pullout coming soon? The United States has about 14,000 troops in Afghanistan on a dual mission of training, advising and assisting Afghan forces in their fight against the Taliban and conducting counterterrorism missions against groups such as al Qaeda and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Several media reports have said President Trump is looking to slash the number of troops deployed in the war, which is in its 18th year.



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