Politics Overnight Defense: Milley warned Trump against Iran strikes | Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer killed in Afghanistan | 70 percent of active-duty military at least partially vaccinated
Overnight Defense: JEDI axed | Pentagon defends Bagram exit | Military justice reform coming soon
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 Pentagon on Tuesday axed a $10 billion cloud computing project after it became sidelined by a legal battle involving Amazon and Microsoft.Both companies, however, will likely win deals from a new, multibillion-dollar, multivendor effort to create the Defense Department's cloud capability.
Happy Friday and welcome to Overnight Defense. I'm Rebecca Kheel, and here's your nightly guide to the latest developments at the Pentagon, on Capitol Hill and beyond.
THE TOPLINE: The Mark Milley news cycle continues unabated.
The latest chapter in the saga is a new report from The New Yorker's Susan Glasser that said Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Milley feared former President Trumpin his final days in office that could launch a full-scale war.
Joint Chiefs chairman fretted over coup attempt after Trump lost 2020 election: Book
A top military official talked to confidants about the possibility of a coup in the aftermath of the 2020 election, according to a new book. © Provided by Washington Examiner Gen. Mark Milley, picked by former President Donald Trump to be chairman of the Joint Chiefs of staff, said he felt he had to be "on guard" after President Joe Biden won the November contest, according to snippets from I Alone Can Fix It, a book authored by two Washington Post journalists and set to be released next week. At one point, Milley called former national security adviser to ask if a coup was imminent, the book said.
Glasser said her reporting on Milley came as part of a book she and her husband, New York Times reporter Peter Baker, are working on about Trump that's due to come out next year.
In her telling, the subject of Iran was repeatedly raised at White House meetings with Trump after his election loss and Milley repeatedly argued against strikes.
"If you do this, you're gonna have a f------ war," Milley would say, according to Glasser.
Trump convened an Oval Office meeting on Iran on Jan. 3, at which point then-Secretary of Stateand then-national security adviser Robert O'Brien argued it was "too late to hit them," according to the report. Milley also walked through the potential consequences, and Trump agreed, Glasser wrote.
Trump denies coup attempt in latest attack on Milley
"If I was going to do a coup, one of the last people I would want to do it with is General Mark Milley," Trump said in a statement.In a more than 400-word statement issued from his post-presidential office, Trump denied that he had ever “threatened, or spoke about, to anyone, a coup of our Government,” calling the notion “So ridiculous!”
Trump escalates attacks: Following the New Yorker report, Trump, his second in two days against the man he, again, chose to make Joint Chiefs chairman.
In the latest statement, Trump said that "if he said what was reported," Milley "perhaps should be impeached, or court-martialed and tried."
What violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice exactly does Trump think Milley violated that would warrant a court martial? He didn't say.
REUTERS REPORTER KILLED IN AFGHANISTAN
Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Danish Siddiqui.
Siddiqui, who worked for Reuters, was killed while covering a clash between Afghan security forces and Taliban fighters near a border crossing with Pakistan, an Afghan commander told.
"We are deeply saddened to learn that our photographer, Danish Siddiqui, has been killed in Afghanistan," Reuters President Michael Friedenberg and editor-in-chief Alessandra Galloni said in a statement posted to Twitter.
Trump's storied history of praising then slamming top military generals
Former President Donald Trump has a storied history of welcoming some of the nation's top military generals with open arms and then offering up scathing criticism over their performance in his administration and beyond. © Provided by Washington Examiner Perhaps one of the most high-profile feuds since he departed the Oval Office is between Trump and Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who has appeared to become a thorn in the former president's side.
"We are urgently seeking more information, working with authorities in the region, and support Danish's family and colleagues. Danish was an outstanding, Pulitzer prize-winning journalist, a devoted husband and father, and a much-loved colleague. Our thoughts are with his family at this time," Friedenberg and Galloni said.
Official condolences: In response to Siddiqui's death, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan wrote on Twitter that "media working in #Afghanistan & journalism itself in the country is under increasing threat."
"Our deep condolences to family & friends of @dansiddiqi. A painful reminder of mounting dangers faced by media in Afghanistan. Authorities must investigate this & all killing of reporters," the mission said.
The White House later Friday also sent its condolences, with press secretarytweeting, "Our condolences to @dansiddiqui's family, loved ones, and colleagues at @Reuters. Journalists should be able to do their vital work safely and free from repression or fear of persecution. The senseless violence in Afghanistan must stop."
Trump Denies Conversation With General Milley About Coup, 'Never Even Gave A Thought'
"There was no talk of a coupit all never happened, and it's just a waste of words by fake writers and a General who didn't have a clue," Trump said."Despite the fact that the 2020 Presidential Election was Rigged and Stolen, and while numerous people, including the outside public, were saying we should bring in the Military, I never even gave it a thought," Trump wrote in a Friday statement.
MILITARY HITS 70 PERCENT VACCINATED
Seventy percent of active-duty service members are now at least partially vaccinated against COVID-19, the Pentagon said Friday.
The announcementfrom Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, who added that 62 percent of active-duty troops are fully vaccinated.
"Our healthcare professionals are administering COVID vaccines as fast as we receive them," Austin said in a video attached to the tweet.
"All the available vaccines have been authorized by the Food and Drug Administration for a simple reason: they are safe and they are effective," Austin added. "I got my shots, and I hope you will too. It will take all of us to control this virus."
Context: Friday's update is a bit more than the end of June, when officials said 68 percent of active-duty troops were at least partially vaccinated.
The 70 percent milestone lags behind what officials suggested earlier this year was a goal to have the entire force vaccinated by mid-July.
And it also comes after earlier reports of vaccine hesitancy in the military. Military officers testified in February they were seeing about one-third of service members decline to take the shots.
Wider context: The news also comes as the country is seeing a new wave of COVID-19 cases fueled by the unvaccinated and the more transmissible delta variant.
The Growing Politicization of America’s Military
Remarks by America’s most senior military officer mark the latest step in the continued erosion of relations between the armed forces and their civilian leaders.As CNN reports, “Milley spoke to friends, lawmakers and colleagues about the threat of a coup,” and although journalists have largely recounted either private conversations or actions that Milley was planning—that is, giving him credit for things he might have done but hadn’t—the comments cast him in a flattering light, a soldier stalwart in defense of democracy.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Directorwarned of rising cases on Friday, stating that COVID-19 is and that vaccinated people are protected against severe disease.
"This is becoming a pandemic of the unvaccinated," Walensky said during a White House press briefing. "We are seeing outbreaks of cases in parts of the country that have low vaccination coverage, because unvaccinated people are at risk."
ON TAP FOR MONDAY
The Senate Armed Services Committee will begin marking up the National Defense Authorization Act with closed-door markups in the strategic forces subcommittee at 5:30 p.m. and cybersecurity subcommittee at 6 p.m.
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-- Air Force Times: Bidenas Air Force acquisition boss
-- Associated Press: Women'sin Afghanistan
-- Task and Purpose: The Marine Corps isponytails in uniform
Gen. Mark Milley thought Stephen Miller was 'a Rasputin character, always whispering devilish ideas in the king's ear,' new book says .
According to "I Alone Can Fix It," Milley told Miller to "shut the f--- up" when the latter told Trump anti-racism protesters were "burning the country down."According to an excerpt from "I Alone Can Fix It: Donald J. Trump's Catastrophic Final Year" by Washington Post journalists Carol Leonnig and Phillip Rucker, Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, confided in aides about his strong feelings regarding Miller.