National Security

Trump Looking at Deploying ‘Mini-Nukes’

“The Trump administration is considering proposing smaller, more tactical nuclear weapons that would cause less damage than traditional thermonuclear bombs — a move that would give military commanders more options but could also make the use of atomic arms more likely,” Politico reports.

“Approval of such weapons — whether designed to be delivered by missile, aircraft or special forces — would mark a major reversal from the Obama administration, which sought to limit reliance on nuclear arms and prohibited any new weapons or military capabilities. And critics say it would only make the actual use of atomic arms more likely.”

Mattis Warns of ‘Massive Military Response’

Defense Secretary James Mattis issued a stark warning to North Korea if it threatened the U.S. or its allies, The Hill reports.

Said Mattis: “Any threat to the United States or its territories including Guam or our allies will be met with a massive military response.”

He added: “Kim Jong Un should take heed the United Nations Security Council’s unified voice. All members unanimously agreed on the threat North Korea poses. And they remain unanimous in their commitment to the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. Because we are not looking to the total annihilation of a country, namely, North Korea.”

CIA Russia Probe Unit Reports Directly to Pompeo

“As CIA director, Mike Pompeo has taken a special interest in an agency unit that is closely tied to the investigation into possible collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign, requiring the Counterintelligence Mission Center to report directly to him,” the Washington Post reports.

“Officials at the center have, in turn, kept a watchful eye on Pompeo, who has repeatedly played down Russia’s interference in the 2016 election and demonstrated a willingness to engage in political skirmishes for President Trump.”

White House Sets Rules for Transgender Ban

“The White House is expected to send guidance to the Pentagon in coming days on how to implement a new administration ban on transgender people in the military, issuing a policy that will allow Defense Secretary Jim Mattis to consider a service member’s ability to deploy in deciding whether to kick them out of the military,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“The White House memo also directs the Pentagon to deny admittance to transgender individuals and to stop spending on medical treatment regimens for those currently serving,”

How Trump Ultimately Gave In to Generals on Afghanistan

President Trump’s “skepticism about America’s involvement in Afghanistan was no secret to his staff. But his top national security officials were still taken aback at a meeting in the Situation Room on July 19, when an angry Mr. Trump began ripping apart their latest proposal to send thousands of additional American troops to the country,” the New York Times reports.

Politico: “The plan – which will maintain an unspecified U.S. troop presence without withdrawal timetables and intensify pressure on Pakistan to crack down on terrorist safe havens – was the product of a months-long strategy review in which the president’s national security team talked him out of ending the costly 16-year war.”

Washington Post: “Trump’s private deliberations — detailed in interviews with more than a dozen senior administration officials and outside allies — revealed a president un­attached to any particular foreign-policy doctrine, but willing to be persuaded as long as he could be seen as a strong and decisive leader.”

Did Trump Lie to Congress About National Security?

Benjamin Wittes: “Back in February, speaking before a Joint Session of Congress, President Trump declared that: ‘according to data provided by the Department of Justice, the vast majority of individuals convicted of terrorism and terrorism-related offenses since 9/11 came here from outside of our country.'”

“There’s a lot of reason to believe this statement is a compound lie—both to believe that the vast majority of individuals convicted of terrorism-related crimes did not come here from elsewhere and to believe that the men and women of the Department of Justice did not provide any data suggesting otherwise.”

“So I filed a FOIA request to find out both whether such data exist.”

Trump Claims He’s Made Nuclear Arsenal Stronger

President Trump tweets this morning:

My first order as President was to renovate and modernize our nuclear arsenal. It is now far stronger and more powerful than ever before… Hopefully we will never have to use this power, but there will never be a time that we are not the most powerful nation in the world!

A reality check: Business Insider notes Trump’s first executive order was on the Affordable Care Act and that none of his orders in his first 100 days were on the nation’s nuclear arsenal.

And as the New York Times reports, the trillion dollar modernization of nuclear forces started under President Obama.

Big Majority Approve of Transgender Service

A new Quinnipiac poll finds American voters say by a 68% to 27% margin, including 55% to 39% among voters in military households, that transgender people should be allowed to serve in the military.

Republicans oppose transgender service, 60% to 32%, but every other party, gender, education, age or racial group supports transgender service by margins of 22 percentage points or higher.