Overnight Defense: Pentagon Withdraws Middle East Air Defense | Democrats present resolution apologizing to LGBT community for discrimination | White House denies suspending military aid to Ukraine

Good Friday and welcome to Overnight Defense. I’m Ellen Mitchell, and here’s your evening guide to the latest developments at the Pentagon, Capitol Hill and beyond. CLICK HERE to subscribe to the newsletter.

THE TOP LINE: The Biden administration is withdraw “certain strengths and capacities” mainly air defense systems, coming from the Middle East, the Pentagon confirmed on Friday.

“The Secretary of Defense has ordered the commander of the US Central Command to withdraw certain forces and capabilities, mainly air defense, from the region this summer,” Pentagon spokesman Cmdr. Jessica McNulty said in a statement.

“This decision was taken in close coordination with host nations and in the interest of preserving our ability to meet our security commitments,” McNulty added. “It’s about keeping some of our assets in high demand and low density so that they are ready for future needs in an emergency. “

What comes from where: The Wall Street Journal, which first reported withdrawals, said the Pentagon was withdrawing eight Patriot anti-missile batteries from countries including Iraq, Kuwait, Jordan and Saudi Arabia and another missile defense system known as Saudi Arabia’s THAAD, as well as the hundreds of American soldiers who operate and support these systems.

The fighter squadrons assigned to the area are also reduced, according to the Journal.

Some assets will be brought back to the United States for “much needed maintenance and repairs,” while others will be redeployed to other areas, McNulty said.

A change: The withdrawal from the Middle East precedes the completion later this summer of the review of the position of global forces that the Pentagon began at the start of the Biden administration as it seeks to reorient the military towards competition with China and Russia.

It also comes as the US military withdraws completely from Afghanistan in accordance with the President BidenJoe BidenChinese apps could face subpoenas and bans under Biden Executive Order: OVERNIGHT ENERGY report: EPA announces new clean air advisers after firing Trump appointees | Senate Confirms Biden’s Choice For # 2 Inside Role | Watchdog: Bureau of Land Management found messaging failures, understaffing during pandemic Poll: majority support blanket cancellation of student loans PLUSThe order to go out by September.

Most of the latest cuts are from Saudi Arabia, according to the Journal. Defense Secretary Lloyd AustinLloyd AustinOvernight Defense: House votes to repeal 2002 Iraq war powers | Pentagon leaders ask senators to reimburse National Guard | New pressure on US-Iran nuclear talks Senior US General: Chinese military has “a long way to go” before they can take Taiwan Pentagon leaders to urge senators to reimburse National Guard for Capitol deployment MORE informed Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of the changes in a June 2 appeal, and the military began making the cuts afterward, the report added.

The background: The Trump administration has bolstered US military resources in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere in the Middle East as part of its so-called maximum pressure campaign against Iran, including deploying missile defenses after a 2019 attack on a field Saudi tanker blamed on Iranian drones.

The United States has also moved Patriot systems to Iraq following the Iranian missile strike on a base housing American troops in retaliation for the American drone strike that killed Iranian General Qassem Soleimani.

Read the full story here.


Democratic senators on Friday introduced a resolution that acknowledge and apologize for abuse and discrimination against LGBT people in the US military, armed forces, and government posts.

The resolution, led by Sens. Tammy baldwinTammy Suzanne BaldwinOvernight Health Care: Takeaways from the Supreme Court’s Obamacare Decision | COVID-19 has claimed 5.5 million years of American life | Biden administration invests billions in antiviral pills for COVID-19 Democratic senators lobby PhRMA over COVID-19 lobbying efforts To reverse teacher shortage in low-income communities, encourage educators to stay MORE (D-Wis.), Who is an openly gay member of the Senate, and Tim kaineTimothy (Tim) Michael Kaine Joe Manchin Leaves Democrats Guessing On Radical Election Bill Manchin Meets Texas Voting Rights Lawmakers Overnight Defense: Biden, Putin Agree To Launch Summit Arms Control Talks | Repeal of 2002 war permit will get Senate vote | GOP representative warns Biden ‘blood on his hands’ without Afghan interpreter evacuation (D-Va.), Acknowledges and apologizes “for the mistreatment and discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LBGT) people who have served our country as civil servants or members of the armed forces and foreign service “.

A New Commitment: The resolution also restores a commitment by the U.S. government to “military service members, veterans, foreign service employees, federal public service employees, and contractors with equal respect and fairness,” regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity ”.

Timetable: The lawmakers’ resolution comes in mid-June, a month set aside for celebrating LGBT pride and activism.

A history of discrimination: Senators’ resolution notes that dating back to the 1940s, discrimination against the LGBT community was part of military policy.

At the time, the Defense Ministry said that “homosexual personnel, regardless of gender, should not be allowed to serve in any branch of the armed forces in any capacity whatsoever and that the prompt separation of known homosexuals of the armed forces is mandatory, “according to a statement released by Kaine.

The resolution also recognizes the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy adopted in the military under former President Clinton. The policy stated that LGBT servicemen were prohibited from revealing their sexual orientation while in the military.

“… despite the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy, LGBT military service members continued to be investigated and fired solely on the basis of the sexual orientation of these members of the military service, ”the resolution reads.

Recent examples: More recently, the Trump administration in 2017 and 2018 effectively banned transgender servicemen from openly serving in the military.

A new position: However, the Biden administration reversed Trump’s policies in late March, with the Pentagon unveiling new policies that would allow transgender servicemen to serve using their gender identity.

More recently, the Trump administration in 2017 and 2018 effectively banned transgender servicemen from openly serving in the military.

However, the Biden administration reversed Trump’s policies in late March, with the Pentagon unveiling new policies that would allow transgender servicemen to serve using their gender identities.


The White House on Friday denied withholding security aid from Ukraine, hours after a The Politico article said officials had suspended a package that included deadly assistance worth up to $ 100 million.

White House press secretary Jen psakiCherokee Nation Leader Jen Psaki Maya Angelou Among Women Honored In Newly Established Neighborhoods White House officials won’t say if the United States will meet the July vaccination target Biden and Putin will enter a high-stakes summit at Geneva PLUS issued a statement Friday afternoon calling it “nonsense” that the White House withheld security assistance to Ukraine.

Psaki cited a $ 150 million aid package announced by the Defense Ministry last week and highlighted President Biden’s public support for Ukraine in the face of Russian aggression ahead of his summit with the Russian president. Vladimir PoutineVladimir Vladimirovich PoutineHillicon Valley: the Senate unanimously confirms Chris Inglis as the White House’s first cyber tsar | Control relies on monitoring technology from Microsoft | Senators unveil bill to crack down on cybercriminals Ukrainian diplomat calls on Russia to step down after Biden-Putin summit Meghan McCain and Whoopi Goldberg oppose Biden blast against CNN PLUS reporter Wednesday.

“We have now provided the full amount allocated by Congress as part of Ukraine’s security assistance initiative,” Psaki said.

Read more here.


Defense 1 will hold its Tech Summit, with General John Murray, Commanding General, Army Futures Command; Kerri Dugan, Director of the Bureau of Biological Technologies, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency; and Kayvon Modjarrad, MD, Director of Emerging Infectious Diseases Branch, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, at 1 p.m.


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— The hill: Israeli forces strike Gaza for the second time after incendiary balloons

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– The Associated Press: Afghan peace envoy fears the withdrawal will embolden the Taliban

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