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Overnight Defense: Joint Chiefs denounce Capitol attack | Contractors halt donations after siege | 'QAnon Shaman' at Capitol is Navy vet

Overnight Defense: Joint Chiefs denounce Capitol attack | Contractors halt donations after siege | 'QAnon Shaman' at Capitol is Navy vet
© Greg Nash

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: The United States’ top military officers on Tuesday condemned the “sedition and insurrection” that took place at the Capitol last week when supporters of President TrumpDonald TrumpEx-DOJ official Rosenstein says he was not aware of subpoena targeting Democrats: report Ex-Biden adviser says Birx told him she hoped election turned out 'a certain way' Cheney rips Arizona election audit: 'It is an effort to subvert democracy' MORE sieged the building.

“We witnessed actions inside the Capitol building that were inconsistent with the rule of law. The rights of freedom of speech and assembly do not give anyone the right to resort to violence, sedition and insurrection,” Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark MilleyMark MilleyConcerns grow over China's Taiwan plans Overnight Defense: Austin and Milley talk budget, Afghanistan, sexual assault and more at wide-ranging Senate hearing Pentagon chief: Military has already started 'over-the-horizon' operations in Afghanistan MORE and the rest of the Joint Chiefs wrote in memo to the force.

In addition to the Milley, the memo was signed by Vice Chairman Gen. John Hyten and the chiefs of the Army, Navy, Marines Corps, Air Force, Space Force and National Guard.

What prompted it: The memo comes almost a week after rioters stormed the Capitol while Congress was meeting to certify Joe Biden’s victory in the presidential election, forcing lawmakers, staffers and journalists to find secure locations to hide in as the mob ransacked offices, assaulted Capitol Police officers and stole property. One Capitol Police officer died from injuries suffered in the attack.

The siege came after Trump spent weeks falsely claiming the election was rigged against him and shortly after he told a crowd of his supporters in D.C. to march on the Capitol and show “strength.”

Breaking their silence: Military officers typically avoid commenting on anything that can be perceived thrusting the military into politics. But the assault on the Capitol in an effort to overturn a democratic process has shaken Washington and the nation.

Military members among mob: The attack also raised questions about the extent of extremism in the military and among veterans after several rioters were identified as former members of the military.

The woman who was fatally shot by Capitol Police while trying to breach the door to the Speaker’s Lobby was an Air Force veteran, and a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel was arrested Sunday after being photographed on the Senate floor wearing tactical gear and carrying plastic zip-ties used by law enforcement as handcuffs. Another man arrested over the weekend was identified as a Navy veteran.

At least one active-duty service member, an Army psychological operations officer, is under investigation by the Army for her involvement in the rally that preceded the riot, though she insists she did not enter the Capitol.

What’s in the Joint Chiefs memo: In their memo, the Joint Chiefs reminded service members of their oath to uphold the Constitution.

“As service members, we must embody the values and ideals of the nation,” they wrote. “We support and defend the Constitution. Any act to disrupt the Constitutional process is not only against our traditions, values and oath; it is against the law.”

They further reminded the force that under the Constitution, Biden will be their commander in chief next week.

“On Jan. 20, 2021, in accordance with the Constitution, confirmed by the states and the courts, and certified by Congress, President-elect BidenJoe BidenEx-Biden adviser says Birx told him she hoped election turned out 'a certain way' Cheney rips Arizona election audit: 'It is an effort to subvert democracy' News leaders deal with the post-Trump era MORE will be inaugurated and will become our 46th commander in chief,” they wrote.

“To our men and women deployed and at home, safeguard our country--stay ready, keep your eyes on the horizon, and remain focused on the mission,” they concluded. “We honor your continued service in defense of every American.”

 


FOUR DEFENSE CONTRACTORS AMONG FIRMS HALTING POLITICAL DONATIONS: Defense contractors Northrop Grumman, Leidos, BAE Systems and Raytheon are among a growing D of companies that announced a pause on political donations to members of Congress following violent riots at the U.S. Capitol last week.

Northrop - which last year contributed $4.8 million roughly equally to Democrats and Republicans - on Monday became the first major defense firm to halt its donations.

“We are pausing political action committee giving and evaluating the way forward,” Northrop Grumman spokesman Tim Paynter said in a statement to The Hill.

The company did not say why it made the decision, which was first reported by Defense News.

Following the trend: Leidos followed suit on Tuesday, with company chairman and CEO Roger Krone announcing the immediate pause of all political giving.

“Violence, lawlessness, and anarchy have no place in our nation. We believe in civil political discourse and the fundamental right to peacefully protest, but strongly condemn violence or intimidation,” Krone said in a statement. “In light of these events, Leidos’ Political Action Committee (PAC) has decided to temporarily pause all political donations.”

Raytheon, meanwhile, said it has “paused all political action committee contributions to reflect on the current environment and determine appropriate next steps,” according to spokesman Chris Johnson. 

And BAE Systems Inc., the U.S. subsidiary of the British defense firm of the same name, said it would pause contributions in reaction to the “deeply disturbing violence” last week.

A growing list: The four defense contractors join the growing list of firms that are cutting off donations to politicians. Some companies, including Marriott, Dow Chemical, the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, AT&T, Best Buy and Amazon, are specifically targeting the 147 Republican members of the House and the Senate who opposed the Electoral College results and voted against affirming President- elect Joe Biden’s victory.

The defense companies, however, said they would temporarily suspend any political action committee (PAC) donations. 

Condemnation from others: Several other major defense firms have condemned last week’s events but have been quiet on whether they too will stop political donations, including No. 2 defense contractor Boeing.

“The vote of the people and the peaceful transition of government are core to our democracy. Our company has a long history of working with elected officials over many years. In the spirit of bipartisanship, we encourage them to work with President-elect Biden to unify our nation,” Boeing President and CEO David Calhoun said in a Jan. 7 statement.

Several defense associations have also condemned the riots including the Aerospace Industry Association and the National Defense Industrial Association.

 

‘QANON SHAMAN’ ARRESTED FOR STORMING CAPITOL IS NAVY VET: The Arizona man who wore a horned, fur-covered headdress and face paint as he and other supporters of President Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol is a Navy veteran, according to the service.

Jacob Anthony Chansley, who also goes by Jake Angeli and is known among online conspiracy theorists and far-right internet groups as the “QAnon Shaman,” served in the Navy for two years, from September 2005 to October 2007, his service records show.

Chansley, 33, appeared in federal court for the first time in Phoenix this week after he turned himself in to an FBI field office on Saturday. He told authorities he traveled to Washington, D.C., because Trump called on “patriots” to attend the demonstrations.

He is facing several charges in connection with the rioting, including knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.

His service record: While in the Navy, Chansley served as a supply clerk seaman apprentice aboard the since-decommissioned aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk from March 2006 to September 2007. He was last at a transient personnel unit in Washington State.

Task & Purpose reported that Chansley was kicked out of the Navy after refusing to take the anthrax vaccine.

Other vets involved: Five people died amid the chaos on Jan. 6, including Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick, a former New Jersey Air National Guard staff sergeant, who died of his injuries a day after the mayhem.

Numerous participants in the mob attack have since been found to have military connections, including Ashli Babbitt, the woman who was fatally shot by a Capitol Police officer during the chaos. Babbitt was an Air Force veteran who served for 12 years.

And the man photographed in tactical gear and carrying zip-ties on the Senate floor, Larry Rendall Brock Jr., was a former Air Force lieutenant colonel, The New Yorker reported.

The Army is also investigating Capt. Emily Rainey, 30, for her involvement in the rally prior to the mobbing of the Capitol.

Rainey, an Army psychological operations officer, was still on active duty when she led a group at last week’s protests. She was, however, in the process of separating from the service after she had been given an adverse administrative action for a separate incident, Army Times reported.

 

ON TAP FOR TOMORROW

The U.S. Institute of Peace will hold a virtual discussion on “Joe Biden’s Tough Challenges in Iran,” with Jarrett Blanc, former lead State Department coordinator for the Iran Nuclear Deal, and James Jeffrey, former ambassador to Iraq and Turkey and special envoy to the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, at 10:30 a.m. https://www.usip.org/events/joe-bidens-tough-challenges-iran?utm_source=Daily%20on%20Defense%20011221_01/12/2021&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=WEX_Daily%20on%20Defense&rid=78393

Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville will speak at a Heritage Foundation webinar on ‘Building an Army Ready for Great Power Competition,” at 11 a.m. https://www.heritage.org/defense/event/virtual-event-building-army-ready-great-power-competition?utm_source=Daily%20on%20Defense%20011221_01/12/2021&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=WEX_Daily%20on%20Defense&rid=78393

The Association of Old Crows will hold a virtual discussion with Air Force Lt. Gen. David "DT" Thompson, vice commander of the Space Force, at 2 p.m. https://www.crows.org/general/custom.asp?page=Discussions&utm_source=Daily%20on%20Defense%20011221_01/12/2021&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=WEX_Daily%20on%20Defense&rid=78393

The Center for Strategic and International Studies will hold a webcast on the Asia-Pacific, with former Sen. Cory GardnerCory GardnerBiden administration reverses Trump changes it says 'undermined' conservation program Gardner to lead new GOP super PAC ahead of midterms OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Court rules against fast-track of Trump EPA's 'secret science' rule | Bureau of Land Management exodus: Agency lost 87 percent of staff in Trump HQ relocation | GM commits to electric light duty fleet by 2035 MORE (R-Colo.), at 3 p.m. https://www.csis.org/events/online-event-conversation-former-senator-cory-gardner-asia-pacific?utm_source=Daily%20on%20Defense%20011221_01/12/2021&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=WEX_Daily%20on%20Defense&rid=78393

 

ICYMI

-- The Hill: Planned protests spark fears of more violence in Trump's final days
 
-- The Hill: Director of Army Staff disputes Capitol Police chief account of National Guard deployment
 
-- The Hill: Acting DHS chief Chad Wolf stepping down
 
-- The Hill: Senior intelligence official says China, Russia targeting COVID-19 vaccine supply chain
 
-- The Hill: Cyber czar to draw on new powers from defense bill
 
-- The Hill: Tillerson: 'We squandered the best opportunity we had on North Korea'
 
-- Stars and Stripes: Experts tell senators a waiver for retired 4-star to become defense secretary could set 'dangerous precedent'

-- The Associated Press: Why National Guard’s role was limited during US Capitol riot
 
-- Military Times: The Pentagon won’t say how many COVID-19 vaccines it’s given to troops