TRUMP ON LATEST MASS KILLING: President Trump is in Japan today where it is already Monday night. North Korea tops his agenda, but the latest mass shooting in the United States has overshadowed the first day of his Japan visit. Trump says the 26-year-old man who gunned down at least 26 people in a small Texas church during Sunday service was “a very deranged individual. … Sutherland Springs, Texas, such a beautiful, wonderful area with incredible people. Who would ever think a thing like this could happen?”
The Texas church massacre occurred one month after a gunman in Las Vegas killed 58 people and wounded more than 500, firing from his 32nd floor hotel room into a crowd of country music fans. As in that case, the president has said it’s not the time to talk about any changes in U.S. gun laws. “We have a lot of mental health problems in our country, as do other countries, but this isn't a guns situation,” Trump said at a news conference in Japan early this morning Washington time. “I mean we could go into it, but it's a little bit soon to go into it, but fortunately, somebody else had a gun that was shooting in the opposite direction. Otherwise it would have been as — as bad as it was, it would have been much worse,” Trump said. “This is a mental health problem at the highest level.”
DISCHARGED FOR ‘BAD CONDUCT’: Suspect Devin Patrick Kelley is dead, after crashing his car following a chase by armed citizens. The cause of death is unclear. The Air Force says Kelley was busted down to the lowest rank and discharged for “bad conduct,” after a court-martial for assaulting his wife and child. “Kelley received a Bad Conduct Discharge, confinement for twelve months and a reduction to the grade of E-1,” said Ann Stefanek, an Air Force spokeswoman at the Pentagon. “Records checks confirm Devin P. Kelley was previously a USAF member, who served in Logistics Readiness at Holloman AFB, NM, from 2010 until his discharge in 2014.”
TRUMP IN JAPAN: Besides again denouncing North Korea for its nuclear and missile programs, Trump also put on his salesman’s cap and exhorted Japan to buy more American military hardware. Japanese President Shinzo Abe is ordering “a lot of military equipment,” Trump said, “as he should be.” Trump has long said Japan should do more to provide for its own defense.
In remarks to U.S troops at Yokota Air Base, Trump also had hardware on his mind. “As long as I am president, servicemen and women who defend our nation will have the equipment, the resources and the funding they need to secure our homeland, to respond to our enemies quickly and decisively,” Trump said, “and when it’s necessary to fight, to overpower and to always … win.” Trump also called Japan “a treasured partner and crucial ally” of the United States.
Trump did raise some eyebrows with an off-the-cuff comment at a news conference with Abe in which the president called on Japanese carmakers to build their cars in the U.S. “We love it when you build cars for your Japanese firm. We love it. Try building your cars in the United States instead of shipping them over. Is that possible to ask? That's not rude. Is that rude? I don't think so.” About 75 percent of Japanese cars are built in North America, and Toyota’s biggest factory is in Kentucky.
PLUG FOR BOEING: “I'm very optimistic about the future of our economic partnership,” Trump said in a meeting with business leaders. “We are proud, for instance, that, after the United States, Japan is the largest owner of Boeing aircraft. Greatest commercial aircraft in the world.
“You know, Melania had some of your stock. You know what happened? When I won, she was forced to sell it. Fantastic. Great job you're doing. And I do love the F-18 also. I love the F-18.”
PUTIN ON TRUMP’S DANCE CARD? Before Trump arrived in Japan on Sunday during his nearly two-week tour through Asia, he hinted to reporters on his plane that he may be meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. About six-and-a-half hours into the eight-hour flight from Hawaii to Japan, Trump walked back into the press cabin and spoke for just under 12 minutes.
During that exchange, Trump strongly suggested that meeting with Putin would happen during a regional summit in Vietnam. “I think it’s expected we’ll meet with Putin, yeah. We want Putin’s help on North Korea, and we’ll be meeting with a lot of different leaders," Trump told reporters.
NO HELP FROM RUSSIA: Earlier in the weekend, the Kremlin said Russia and the U.S. have “no cooperation” when it comes to addressing the North Korea crisis. “There is no cooperation so far,” Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for Putin, told reporters Saturday. “Only periodic exchanges of views.”
Trump’s team has clashed with Russian and Chinese diplomats at the United Nations, where western diplomats have tried to lead a “peaceful pressure” campaign of economic sanctions that might induce North Korea to stop developing nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles. They have had some success, but China and Russia want Trump to defuse the crisis by suspending military exercises in the region.
Good Monday morning and welcome to Jamie McIntyre’s Daily on Defense, compiled by Washington Examiner National Security Senior Writer Jamie McIntyre (@jamiejmcintyre), National Security Writer Travis J. Tritten (@travis_tritten) and Senior Editor David Brown (@dave_brown24). Email us here for tips, suggestions, calendar items and anything else. If a friend sent this to you and you’d like to sign up, click here. If signing up doesn’t work, shoot us an email and we’ll add you to our list. And be sure to follow us on Twitter @dailyondefense.
HAPPENING TODAY: Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is overseas again, this time visiting Finland, Belgium and the United Kingdom. In Helsinki today, Mattis is scheduled to meet with Finnish President Sauli Niinistö and attend a meeting of the “Northern Group,” a gathering of 12 countries. Those include the five Nordic countries of Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Iceland, Norway, the three Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, as well as Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, and the UK. All but two of the members, Sweden and Finland, are members of NATO.
From Finland, Mattis travels to Brussels for a scheduled meeting of NATO defense ministers, and then to London to meet with the new British Defense Minister Gavin Williamson. Williamson was named to replace Sir Michael Fallon, who resigned last week, the latest British politician to quit to after claims of sexual harassment in Parliament. Fallon said his past behavior may have "fallen short" of the standards expected by the U.K. military.
CYBER FIGHT: Sen. Mark Warner wants the United States to develop a strategy for fighting cyber wars against other countries in response to the meddling in the 2016 elections by Russia. The Virginia Democrat says he’s in agreement with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who called for retaliation against Russia in response to the 2016 election meddling in an interview on NBC's "Meet The Press."
“I actually agree with the majority leader that we need a cyber doctrine,” he said. “For a long time, I think we have had incoming — whether it was Russians, Chinese, others — where we’ve had cyberattacks, misinformation, disinformation attacks."
“We need to have both defense and offensive capabilities.”
SOLDIER ID’D: The Pentagon has identified the soldier killed Saturday in Afghanistan as Sgt. 1st Class Stephen Cribben, 33, who died from injuries sustained during operations in Afghanistan’s eastern Logar Province. Cribben is from Simi Valley, Calif., and was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group in Fort Carson, Colo. Cribben’s death Saturday is the second in Logar Province in recent weeks. The incident is under investigation, the Defense Department said.
HITTING ISIS HARD: Trump said Friday right before leaving the White House that the U.S. military has hit the Islamic State harder over the last few days following the deadly terror attack in New York City, after the terror group called the attacker "a Soldier of the Caliphate."
"ISIS just claimed the Degenerate Animal who killed, and so badly wounded, the wonderful people on the West Side, was 'their soldier,'" Trump tweeted. "Based on that, the Military has hit ISIS "much harder" over the last two days. They will pay a big price for every attack on us!"
However, daily strike totals released by U.S. Central Command show no increase in totals over the past week. Totals typically hover between five and 15 on a given day. The strike total on Nov. 1 was 11, followed by 13 on Thursday. Over the weekend the U.S.-led coalition reported 14 strikes consisting of 33 engagements against ISIS terrorists, almost all in Syria and one in Iraq.
THE WAR IN SOMALIA: U.S. Africa Command announced on Friday that two U.S. airstrikes killed several Islamic State militants in northeastern Somalia. The strikes occurred midnight and 11 a.m. local time, and a statement said officials are assessing the results. The statement didn’t say it, but it’s possible this is what Trump was referring to when he talked about hitting ISIS “much harder.”
AFRICOM said the strikes were conducted in coordination with the government. "U.S. forces will continue to use all authorized and appropriate measures to protect Americans and to disable terrorist threats," AFRICOM said, adding that targets include terrorists, training camps and "havens throughout Somalia."
Meanwhile U.S. officials have been ordered to leave Mogadishu due to the risk of terrorist attacks, the State Department announced in a bulletin. “Due to specific threat information against U.S. personnel on the Mogadishu International Airport, the U.S. Mission to Somalia has directed its non-essential U.S. citizen employees to depart Mogadishu until further notice,” the State Department warned Saturday.
MISSED OPPORTUNITY: South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham is still fuming over the decision to allow the suspect in the New York city truck attack to go right into the federal court system before anyone can interrogate him for possible intelligence about ISIS. “I don't mind trying this guy in New York court, the New York terrorist, but what I wanted to do was hold him for a long period of time, let our military, CIA interrogate him about what he knows about terrorism, how he got radicalized,” Graham told Fox News Sunday. “He said he was a soldier of the caliphate. ISIL says he was a soldier of the caliphate. We talked to him for one day in the hospital. We read him his Miranda rights. We throw him right in court and we can’t get any intelligence going forward because now he's been lawyered up.”
Graham complained that Trump is following “the Obama playbook,” and said when he questioned the Trump Justice Department about the decision, the explanations he got made him so mad he couldn’t see straight. “They said the reason they didn't declare the New York guy an enemy combatant — even though he pledged allegiance to ISIL, ISIL said he was one of their soldiers, he killed eight people in the name of radical Islam, showing support for ISIL — [was] because there's no evidence of command and control. That is ridiculous.
“It's hard to catch a terrorist alive, Chris. And when you do, you should try to gather intelligence,” Graham told Fox News host Chris Wallace.
PRIVATIZING WAR: Blackwater Worldwide founder Erik Prince says he thinks Trump will eventually come around to his way of thinking, which he outlined in an op-ed six months ago. "I wrote it for an audience of one, and it worked," Prince told the Washington Examiner in a recent interview. "I got a call from the White House the day after it ran, and they said the president read it and liked it."
As Trump was reviewing the strategy for Afghanistan, Prince proposed a "viceroy" in the mold of Gen. Douglas MacArthur, one of Trump's heroes who ruled occupied Japan after World War II, and troops replaced with contractors embedded with locals, modeled off the British East India Company.
"Whether it's six months or a year, I don't think the president wants to go into the midterms with thousands of American soldiers at risk," Prince said. Although he says he hasn't spoken to Trump since his inauguration, Prince said he has allies within the administration — "more than you would think" — and that "the president speaks to people not just in the White House."
Yonhap News Agency: N. Korea warns Trump about 'foolish remarks' before S. Korea visit
Washington Post: Securing North Korean nuclear sites would require a ground invasion, Pentagon says
New York Times: Saudi Prince, Asserting Power, Brings Clerics to Heel
Washington Post: Hours before death in Niger, U.S. soldiers were targeting militants in Mali
Ottawa Citizen: U.S. focuses on killing ISIL researchers, drone specialists, procurement officers
AP: Saudi-led coalition warns Iran over Yemen missile launch
AP: Yemen flights canceled after coalition shuts all ports
Wall Street Journal: Pentagon Releases Marine General Held at Guantanamo in Military Commissions Dispute
Miami Herald: Federal Judge Blocks Military Judge From Having US Marshals Seize Defense Attorney
Washington Post: ‘Fat Leonard’ probe expands to ensnare more than 60 admirals
Military.com: Bergdahl Judge Weighed Complex Leniency Factors
New York Times: How The Kurdish Quest For Independence In Iraq Backfired
Reuters: Lebanon PM Hariri Resigns, Assails Iran And Hezbollah
USNI News: Spencer Names First Ship As SECNAV After Vietnam War Marine Miguel Keith
MONDAY | NOV. 6
9 a.m. 1000 Massachusetts Ave. NW. How do you solve a problem like North Korea? cato.org
11 a.m. 1616 Rhode Island Ave. NW. Allies under the shadow: Thailand, the Philippines, and the state of U.S. alliances in Southeast Asia. csis.org
TUESDAY | NOV. 7
8 a.m. 11790 Sunrise Valley Dr. How Washington Works - Navigating the DOD course. ndia.org
8 a.m. 1616 Rhode Island Ave. NW. Global Security Forum 2017 with Sen. John McCain; James Clapper, former director of national intelligence; and William Lynn, CEO of Leonardo North America and DRS Technologies. csis.org
10 a.m. Rayburn 2172. Democracy and governance in the Middle East and North Africa. foreignaffairs.house.gov
2 p.m. Rayburn 2172. Joint subcommittee hearing on whether Russia is a counterterrorism partner or is fanning the flames. foreignaffairs.house.gov
WEDNESDAY | NOV. 8
9:30 a.m. 214 Massachusetts Ave. NE. The Trump administration and the future of the ROK-U.S. alliance with Sen. Cory Gardner. heritage.org
10 a.m. Dirksen 342. Nomination of Kirstjen M. Nielsen to be secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. hsgac.senate.gov
2:30 p.m. 1789 Massachusetts Ave. NW. A strategy for a brighter future in Libya: Redefining America’s role. aei.org
3 p.m. 1030 15th St. NW. The civilian elements of the new U.S. strategy in Afghanistan with Ahmad Nader Nadery, chairman of Afghanistan’s civil service commission. atlanticcouncil.org
4 p.m. 1616 Rhode Island Ave. NW. A book talk with Nathalie Nguyen about America's forgotten allies, the soldiers of the Republic of Vietnam. csis.org
THURSDAY | NOV. 9
7 a.m. 901 Massachusetts Ave. NW. The 5th Annual Defense One Summit with Gen. Stephen Wilson, Air Force vice chief of staff; Rep. Elise Stefanik; and former Ambassador Wendy Sherman. defenseone.com
8 a.m. 2401 M St. N.W. Defense Writers Group breakfast with Sen. James Inhofe. centermediasecurity.org
10 a.m. 1775 Massachusetts Ave. N.W. Turkey, Europe and the U.S.: New challenges and changing dynamics. brookings.edu
10:30 a.m. Rayburn 2212. Lt. Gen. Chris Nowland, deputy Air Force chief of staff for operations; Vice Adm. Mike Shoemaker, Naval Air Forces commander; Lt. Gen. Steven Rudder, deputy Marine Corps commandant for aviation; and Maj. Gen. William Gayler, commander of the Army Aviation Center of Excellence testify on aviation readiness. armedservices.house.gov
12 p.m. 1201 Pennsylvania Ave. Mounting challenges to U.S. naval power: A book discussion with “Seablindness” author Seth Cropsey and Rep. Mike Gallagher. hudson.org
2 p.m. 1789 Massachusetts Ave. NW. Japanese internationalism in an era of upheaval. aei.org