Overnight Defense

Overnight Defense: Trump vetoes measure to end US-role in Yemen war | Poland close to deal on base jokingly called 'Fort Trump' | Iranian lawmakers vote to label US Mideast forces as terrorists

Happy Tuesday 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: President Trump on Tuesday vetoed a measure calling for an end to U.S. support of the Saudi-led military campaign in Yemen, rebuking Congress for a second time this year.

In a statement to the Senate released by the White House, Trump called the joint resolution "unnecessary" and argued it would negatively affect U.S. foreign policy.

How we got here: The Senate voted 54-46 last month to pass a resolution requiring the president to withdraw any troops in or "affecting" Yemen within 30 days unless they are fighting al Qaeda. The House passed the measure earlier this month.

The veto is the second of Trump's presidency and comes a month after the president issued his first veto of a measure that sought to prevent his reallocation of money to build his long proposed border wall.

We'll have more on this breaking story tonight here.

 

POLAND CLOSE TO DEAL FOR PERMANENT US MILITARY BASE: Poland is finalizing details of an anticipated deal to establish a U.S. military base in the country, though the installation will not be referred to as "Fort Trump," as the Polish president joked last year, Bloomberg reported.

People familiar with the matter told the news outlet that the plan is in an inter-agency process led by the Defense Department with input from White House national security adviser John Bolton.

What's being worked out: Issues including how many additional U.S. troops would be sent to Poland, where they would be based and what equipment the Pentagon would provide are still reportedly being discussed.

The two countries "are engaged in ongoing discussions on the status of forces, and we have nothing to announce at this time," a spokesman for the National Security Council told Bloomberg.

A spokesman for Polish President Andrzej Duda, meanwhile, said that talks are progressing.

A stronger presence? U.S. troops have had a rotational presence in Poland since Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea from Poland's eastern neighbor, Ukraine.

Currently, 4,000 U.S troops rotate through Poland. Warsaw's leaders, however, want a stronger presence against a resurgent Russia and have asked Washington for the permanent Army brigade and a headquarters to be stationed within its borders, offering to pay $2 billion for such an installation.

Moscow, however, would likely see the move as an act of aggression and a provocation.

No more 'Fort Trump' jokes, please: Poland has been pushing the base idea since last year, with Duda in September appealing to President Trump by suggesting the proposed location be called "Fort Trump."

"I said that I would very much for us to set up permanent American bases in Poland, which we would call Fort Trump," Duda said through a translator during a joint press conference with Trump.

One source told Bloomberg, however, that Polish and U.S. officials now don't want the eventual base to be named "Fort Trump."

Trump has said the administration is "looking at it very seriously," and is "something that we are considering."

 

IRAN LABELS US FORCES IN THE MIDDLE EAST AS TERRORISTS: Iranian lawmakers approved a measure Tuesday designating U.S. forces in the Middle East as terroristsThe Associated Press reported.

The bill, which was overwhelmingly approved by the Iranian parliament, comes a day after the U.S. government's terrorism designation for Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) officially took effect, the news service noted.

About the bill and vote: Iranian Defense Minister Gen. Amir Hatami introduced the bill, which accuses U.S. forces of "terrorist actions" and demands authorities use "legal, political and diplomatic" measures to neutralize them, according to the AP.

Some hard-liner lawmakers reportedly demanded listing the entire U.S. Army and security forces as terrorists during debates over the measure.

State TV reported that 204 of 207 lawmakers present at the session voted to approve the bill.

A response to US moves: The Trump administration announced earlier this month that it would label the IRGC as a "foreign terrorist organization," marking the first time the United States applied the label to an entire government entity.

"This action sends a clear message to Tehran that its support for terrorism has serious consequences," President Trump said in a statement at the time. "We will continue to increase financial pressure and raise the costs on the Iranian regime for its support of terrorist activity until it abandons its malign and outlaw behavior."

Iranian lawmakers warned prior to the official U.S. designation that they would retaliate if it was implemented.

"We will answer any action taken against this force with a reciprocal action. So the leaders of America, who themselves are the creators and supporters of terrorists in the (Middle East) region, will regret this inappropriate and idiotic action," 255 lawmakers said in a statement.

 

ON TAP FOR TOMORROW

Air Force Global Strike Command head Gen. Timothy Ray, will speak at a Defense Writers Group breakfast at 8 a.m. at the George Washington School of Business in Washington, D.C.

The National Defense Industrial Association, the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies, the Air Force Association, and the Reserve Officers Association will hold a forum on "Russian Nuclear Threats and Strategic Objectives" at the Capitol Hill Club. 8:30 a.m.

Gen. Timothy Ray will also speak at the Defense Strategies Institute's "DOD Hypersonic Capabilities Symposium" along with Chuck Leonard, project manager of the NASA Hypersonic Technology Project, and Jeffrey Stanley, deputy assistant Air Force secretary for science, technology and engineering, beginning at 8:45 a.m.

 

ICYMI

-- The Hill: DHS considering classifying fentanyl as weapon of mass destruction: report

-- The Washington Post: Sex, alcohol and violence collided in murder case ensnaring SEALs and Marines

-- Defense News: Air Force leaders on space deterrence: 'At some point, we've got to hit back'

-- The Associated Press: Court ruling adds to delay in alleged USS Cole bomber case

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