Former Air Force OSI Special Agent Indicted for Allegedly Giving Intel to Iran

A federal grand jury has indicted a former Air Force Office of Special Investigations special agent on charges of “delivering national defense information” to Iran, the Department of Justice announced Wednesday. Former Air Force Office of Special Investigations special agent Monica Elfriede Witt was indicted Feb. 8 on federal charges for conspiring to and “delivering national defense information to representatives of the Iranian government,” according to a Justice Department release. Witt is accused of helping Iranian intelligence target her former American colleagues from the intelligence community and disclosing “the code name and classified mission of” a Defense Department Special Access Program for which she had served as a civilian desk officer. Read the full story by Jennifer-Leigh Oprihory.

NATO Calls for “United Response” to Russia’s Violation of the INF Treaty

Russia’s continued violation of the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, and the coming reality of a world without the treaty and with even more Russian missiles, is something NATO needs to prepare a response for, the head of the organization said Wednesday. NATO Secretary Jens Stoltenberg, speaking alongside US Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, said Wednesday at the beginning of a meeting of NATO defense ministers that because Russia has shown complete disregard for the treaty, NATO agrees with the US decision to pull out of it, and “we need to plan for a world without the treaty and with more Russian missiles,” Stoltenberg said. In response to these changes, NATO needs a “united” response that “will be measured and it will be definitive because we don’t want a new arms race,” he said. There is no intention to deploy a new nuclear, land-based weapon system in Europe, he said. Shanahan, in brief remarks also at the beginning of the meeting, said this preparation and planned response by NATO is “important.” NATO defense ministers are meeting in Brussels on Russia’s violation of the treaty, the need for increased defense spending by NATO partners, the future of the war in Afghanistan, and what’s next in the fight against ISIS in Iraq and Syria. The attendees, including Shanahan, are expected to speak Thursday about the decisions made in the meeting. —Brian Everstine

Failed Control Module Caused August 2017 Predator Crash

An MQ-1B Predator lost its connection to flight crew systems and crashed during a combat mission on Aug. 21, 2017, the Air Force announced Wednesday. The crash was the second Predator mishap within a week. The MQ-1B, which was deployed to an undisclosed location in the Middle East and flown by a crew from the 432nd Air Expeditionary Wing at Creech AFB, Nev., was flying under normal flight operations when its crew lost the ability to monitor and control the aircraft about 90 minutes into the mission. A General Atomics analysis of the wreckage found the MQ-1’s primary control module, a critical component of the aircraft’s flight control systems, failed and caused the mishap. The Air Force’s investigation found no evidence to contradict this finding. The aircraft was destroyed, at a total loss of about $5.2 million, including environmental cleanup. The crash was four days after another MQ-1 crash, in which that Predator experienced an electrical failure and fell from the sky in the Middle East. —Brian Everstine

Pentagon Pilot to Explore Managing Portfolios, Not Programs

Top-level Pentagon officials this year will run an acquisition pilot program to learn how to buy assets as part of broad mission portfolios, rather than simply asking for the next generation of an existing system. Nuclear command, control, and communications is a prime candidate for the first look, Kevin Fahey, the Defense Department’s assistant secretary of defense for acquisition, said at a Feb. 13 National Defense Industrial Association conference.The Pentagon’s acquisition and sustainment and research and engineering branches will partner with the Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation office to find the right way to structure budgets and piece together disparate technologies. “We’re going to start with high-priority mission threads, like [NC3],” Fahey said. “What are all the aspects of that capability so that we make sure that when we fund a program, it’s critical to doing the mission, not just the next … tank or what have you?” The pilot follows an acquisition reform panel’s recent report that pushed the importance of software, portfolio management, and commercial products. —Rachel S. Cohen

Kunsan F-16s, Airmen Return to Vietnam-Era Base in Thailand for Exercise

The 35th Fighter Squadron earlier this month deployed to a base in Thailand that was once its home, for the large-scale Exercise Cobra Gold 19. The exercise, the 38th iteration, includes 29 countries and will focus on in-flight interoperability along with a humanitarian civic assistance event and a command post exercise, according to a Pacific Air Forces release. The 35th Fighter Squadron, based at Kunsan AB, South Korea, was based at the exercise’s headquarters of Korat Royal Thai AB in the early 1960s. “It was really like a homecoming for the 35th,” 1st Lt. Mason McDaniel, a pilot with the 35th, said in the release. “The Royal Thai Air Force was really welcoming and I’m excited to train alongside them during this year’s exercise.” The exercise began Feb. 11 and will run to Feb. 26.


An entry in the Feb. 13 Daily Report mischaracterized the route by which a fraudulent website impersonated the Defense Department’s Transition Assistance Program website. The fraudulent site utilized a .com vs. a .mil suffix. We have corrected the original entry.



Wreck of Long-Lost WWII Aircraft Carrier USS Hornet Found After 76 Years, Nearly 17,500 Feet Under Water

For 76 years, the aircraft carrier lay on the ocean floor, a quiet tomb for 140 sailors who died the day it sank. Now, for the first time since then, humans have laid eyes on the USS Hornet, which was sunk in October 1943 during World War II’s Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands. USA Today

House Votes to Direct Trump to Curb U.S. Role in Yemen Conflict

The House voted to direct President Donald Trump to withdraw U.S. forces from the Saudi-led conflict in Yemen as part of an effort to step up oversight of foreign policy following lawmakers’ criticism of the president’s moves on Saudi Arabia, Syria and Afghanistan. Bloomberg

Pentagon’s Inspector General to Launch Probe into Certification of SpaceX Rockets … But it’s Unclear Why

The Pentagon’s inspector general is launching an investigation as to whether the U.S. Air Force improperly certified SpaceX launch systems, it announced Monday. Defense News

US Strikes IS-Held Mosque as Syria Battle Intensifies

The U.S. military said Tuesday it struck a mosque that had allegedly been used as an Islamic State control center, as American-allied Syrian forces battled the extremists in their last stronghold in eastern Syria amid reports of more civilian casualties. AP

US Should Update Nuclear Warheads Over Their Delivery Systems, Says DoD Official

A top nuclear official at the U.S. Defense Department warned Tuesday that the future of the nuclear arsenal has to come from innovations in the warheads, rather than the Pentagon’s traditional focus on delivery systems. Defense News

One More Thing …

NASA’s Mars Rover Opportunity Concludes a 15-Year Mission

Opportunity, the longest-lived roving robot ever sent to another planet, explored the red plains of Mars for more than 14 years, snapping photos and revealing astonishing glimpses into its distant past. But on Wednesday, NASA announced that the rover is dead. The New York Times