ONE LINE IN AN EMAIL: The Biden Pentagon said Monday that an email from former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows — revealed in a report from the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol — was reinforcing the false notion that the U.S. military has become a tool to advance partisan politics.

“Meadows sent an email to an individual about the events on January 6 and said that the National Guard would be present to ‘protect pro Trump people’ and that many more would be available on standby,” the report said as part of a long list of communications Meadows himself turned over to the committee before he stopped cooperating.

“So when there is comments like that made, it certainly does very little to help reinforce for the American people how seriously we take our obligations and the oath that we take to support and defend the Constitution,” said spokesman John Kirby, citing a recent Reagan National Defense Survey that found a minority — only 45% — say they have a great deal of trust and confidence in the military.

“And we certainly are concerned about external comments, external initiatives, external proclamations that make it seem like the U.S. military is somehow a political organization. It is not,” Kirby said. “We pride ourselves on being apolitical. We serve to defend the entire American population, regardless of who they are or who they decide to vote for or if they decide to vote.”


MEADOWS RECOMMENDED FOR CONTEMPT: Last night, the committee investigating the events surrounding the Jan. 6 riot voted 9-0 to recommend the criminal contempt charges against Meadows for refusing to testify about the nonprivileged material he voluntarily shared with Congress. The full House is expected to vote today to refer the charges to the Justice Department.

Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, vice chairwoman of the committee and one of only two Republicans willing to serve on the committee in defiance of former President Donald Trump, grabbed headlines by reading text messages from members of Congress, Fox News anchors, and even Trump’s own son begging Trump to make a public statement urging the violent mob to stand down.

“According to the records, multiple Fox News hosts knew the president needed to act immediately,” Cheney said. “They texted Mr. Meadows, and he has turned over those texts. Quote, ‘Mark, the President needs to tell people in the Capitol to go home. This is hurting all of us. He is destroying his legacy,’ Laura Ingraham wrote. ‘Please get him on TV. Destroying everything you have accomplished,’ Brian Kilmeade texted. Quote, ‘Can he make a statement? Ask people to leave the Capitol,’ Sean Hannity urged. As the violence continued, one of the president's sons texted Mr. Meadows quote, ‘He's got to condemn this shit ASAP. The Capitol Police tweet is not enough,’ Donald Trump Jr. texted.”

“Meadows responded, ‘I'm pushing it hard I agree.’ Still, President Trump did not immediately act. Donald Trump Jr. texted again and again, urging action by the president. Quote, ‘We need an Oval Office address. He has to lead now. It has gone too far and gotten out of hand.”


MEADOWS RESPONDS: Meadows responded on Sean Hannity’s Fox show and in a separate interview on Newsmax.

“Obviously, it's disappointing, but not surprising. And let's be clear about this, Sean, this is not about me, holding me in contempt,” Meadows told Hannity. “It's not even about making the Capital safer. We see that by some of the selective leaks that are going on right now. This is about Donald Trump and about actually going after him once again continuing to go after Donald Trump.”

On Newsmax, Meadows said the committee was using selective leaks to weaponize the information he provided.

“We've tried very hard in a very transparent and accommodating way to share nonprivileged information. And what we found out tonight is that not only did that just get disregarded, but then they tried to weaponize a text message, selectively leaked them to put out in error that, quite frankly, that the president didn’t act,” Meadows said. “And I can tell you this, the president did act.”


Good Tuesday morning and welcome to Jamie McIntyre’s Daily on Defense, written and compiled by Washington Examiner National Security Senior Writer Jamie McIntyre (@jamiejmcintyre) and edited by Victor I. Nava. Email here with tips, suggestions, calendar items, and anything else. Sign up or read current and back issues at 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.


Subscribe today to the Washington Examiner magazine and get Washington Briefing: politics and policy stories that will keep you up to date with what's going on in Washington. SUBSCRIBE NOW: Just $1.00 an issue!

NOTE TO READERS: Daily on Defense will be on holiday hiatus from Monday, Dec. 20 through Friday, Dec. 31. We’ll be back to help you start the new year on Monday, Jan. 3. Happy holidays!

HAPPENING TODAY: Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger sits down this morning for a virtual fireside chat with Stacie Pettyjohn, senior fellow and director of the Center for a New American Security Defense Program, at 1 p.m.

“They will discuss Force Design 2030, how the concept has evolved, what progress has been made to date, and what remains to be done,” according to a CNAS release.

KABUL STRIKE, CASE CLOSED: The Pentagon confirmed yesterday that it has closed the book on the tragically flawed Aug. 29 airstrike in Afghanistan that killed 10 Afghan civilians, including three men and seven children.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has accepted the recommendations of an investigation and separate reviews of how U.S. forces mistakenly targeted an innocent man, fearing a repeat of an attack three days earlier at the Kabul airport that killed 13 U.S. troops and more than 170 Afghan civilians.

“There were procedural changes that need to occur and will occur, process improvements absolutely will occur, but in this particular case, there was not a strong enough case to be made for personal accountability,” said spokesman John Kirby, pointing to a report last month from the Air Force inspector general which found a series of errant judgments but no criminal culpability.

“The disconnects were an aggregate process breakdown in which many people are involved, and it wasn't any particular individual that was causal to that, and certainly, nothing rose to the level of criminal conduct,” Lt. Gen. Sami Said said at a Nov. 3 briefing. “Had I found an individual that failed to perform to the level of, you know, criminal misconduct or criminal negligence, and that was the cause of failure for this whole thing, we would have spun that off into separate investigation into an individual.”

BLAME IT ON CONFIRMATION BIAS: While there were many factors that contributed to the tragedy, the main cause was the mother of all cognitive biases, “confirmation bias,” which is when information is interpreted to confirm what is already believed. The U.S personnel, armed with urgent but flawed intelligence that an ISIS agent was en route to the airport, saw the innocent actions of an aid worker picking up water as a terrorist loading a bomb into his car and made the fatal judgment to take him out with a missile.

One of Said’s recommendations is to implement procedures to mitigate the risk of confirmation bias. “If we find ourself in a similar situation where we're time-constrained conducting strikes very quickly because of the need to exercise self-defense in urban terrain, and we're trying to interpret or correlate intelligence to what we're seeing in a rapid fashion, implementing procedures to mitigate the risk of confirmation bias.”


AFGHAN EXPATRIATION CONTINUES: In its latest update, the State Department says that since the U.S. departed Afghanistan at the end of August, 479 American citizens and 450 lawful permanent residents and their families have gotten out of the county with U.S. help and relocated to the U.S.

“The State Department is currently in touch with fewer than a dozen U.S. citizens who want to leave Afghanistan, are prepared to depart, and have the necessary travel documents,” the State Department said. “As Secretary Blinken has said, there is no deadline for this work, which at the State Department is led by the coordinator for Afghan relocation efforts, Ambassador Beth Jones.”

McGURK BACK FROM IRAQ: Brett McGurk, the president’s Middle East envoy, is back from a two-day visit to Iraq, where he met with President Barham Salih, Prime Minister Mustafa al Kadhimi, and former Speaker Mohammed al Halbusi.

He also met with President of the Iraqi Kurdistan Region Nechirvan Barzani and other senior leaders in Erbil in the north.

McGurk's mission was to underscore that there are no longer U.S. forces serving in a combat role in Iraq, according to a statement from the White House. “This transition was made possible because of the tremendous progress achieved by Iraqi Security Forces,” said NSC Spokeswoman Emily Horne in the statement.

BLINKEN PROMISES ‘FREE, OPEN INDO-PACIFIC’: Speaking in Jakarta, Indonesia, on the first stop of a three-country tour of Southeast Asia, Secretary of State Antony Blinken promised the U.S. would advance “a free and open Indo-Pacific.”

And in a speech at Universitas Indonesia, he singled out Beijing’s aggressive actions — “claiming open seas as their own, distorting open markets through subsidies to its state-run companies, denying the exports or revoking deals for countries whose policies it does not agree with, engaging in illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing activities.”

“Countries across the region want this behavior to change,” Blinken said. “We do, too, and that’s why we’re determined to ensure freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, where Beijing’s aggressive actions there threaten the movement of more than $3 trillion worth of commerce every year.”

JUST SAY NO TO TIKTOK: Florida Sen. Marco Rubio has written Army Secretary Christine Wormuth urging her to enforce the Pentagon’s ban on the use of TikTok for recruitment purposes.

The letter was prompted by a report that U.S. Army recruiters are using TikTok from their personal devices for recruitment purposes, which Rubio says is a security risk given the app’s deep connections to the Chinese Communist Party.

“For years, the CCP has engaged in an overt campaign to collect massive amounts of personal data on a global scale and has passed laws requiring Chinese companies to share any data with the government upon request,” Rubio wrote. “Armed with biometric and other personal data, the CCP is able to track, monitor, and collect information on Americans anywhere in the world.”

“It is deeply concerning that Army recruiters are willfully using a social media platform identified as a clear national security threat,” Rubio writes. “I urge you to take decisive action to immediately end this practice.”


The Rundown

Washington Examiner: 'Hurting all of us': Meadows texts show Trump Jr. and Fox personalities clamoring for response to Capitol riot

Washington Examiner: Hannity avoids talking about his Jan. 6 text during interview with Meadows

Washington Examiner: Former White House official reveals she sent 'people are going to die' Jan. 6 text to Meadows

Washington Examiner: Germany: Nord Stream 2 certification 'suspended,' won't resume if Russia attacks Ukraine

Washington Examiner: Xi Jinping fears US will try to starve China into submission

Washington Examiner: No military personnel to be punished for botched Afghan strike that killed 10 civilians

Washington Examiner: NPR sues Defense Department for details on civilian casualties in Baghdadi raid

Washington Examiner: Top Taliban leader claims they have ‘made progress’ on gender rights

Washington Examiner: US democracy summit cuts feed after presenting map showing Taiwan independence

Washington Examiner: Air Force discharges 27 for refusal to get COVID-19 vaccine

Washington Examiner: Navy commander fired for refusing COVID-19 vaccine: Report

Defense One: Army Will Let Unvaccinated Soldiers Be Home for Christmas

Stars and Stripes: Austin Sending Deputy To Hawaii In Wake Of Tainted-Water Crisis That Displaced Thousands

Reuters: Putin Tells UK's Johnson: NATO Members Are Threatening Russia From Ukraine

Reuters: Russia Says It May Be Forced To Deploy Mid-Range Nuclear Missiles In Europe

Washington Post: Israeli airstrikes in Syria targeted chemical weapons facilities, officials say

Air Force Magazine: USAFE Watchful, But Operating Normally, as Tensions Build Between Russia, Ukraine

AP: Moscow’s rocky relationship with NATO alliance

AP: Kim Jong Un’s decade of rule: Purges, nukes, Trump diplomacy

Air Force Magazine: NATO’s Plan to Grow Trust in Military AI

Defense One: Don't Buy China's Hypersonic Head-Fake. Its Spaceplanes Are Racing Ahead. As U.S. and China Warily Eye Each Other, Taiwan Could Be the Flashpoint The F-35 Stealth Fighter Can Now Carry the Stormbreaker 'Smartbomb' Why China’s New Xian H-20 Stealth Bomber Could Be Historic

Breaking Defense: Biden Taps Senate Staffer For Navy No. 2 Civilian Job Opinion: What Russia Wants from a Ukraine Crisis: A Sphere of Influence in Eastern Europe

The Cipher Brief: Opinion: A former presidential briefer rethinks truth to power

The Cipher Brief: Opinion: The supply chain is the perfect asymmetric target



8:45 p.m. — Center for Strategic and International Studies virtual debate: "China and Afghanistan," with Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont.; and Zhou Bo, senior fellow at Tsinghua University's Center for International Strategy and Security

11 a.m. 1700 Army Navy Drive, Arlington, Virginia — Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association discussion on "The Path Forward: Realizing the DoD Joint Cloud,” with Mike Madsen, strategic engagement director at the Defense Innovation Unit; Navy Cmdr. Thomas Parker, deputy assistant chief of staff for innovation and capabilities at the U.S. Fleet Cyber Command/U.S. 10th Fleet; Renata Spinks, Marine Corp Cyber Space Command CTO; Sharon Woods, executive director of the Defense Information Systems Agency's Cloud Computing Program Office; Army Col. Benjamin Ring, applied research and development director at the U.S. Cyber Command

1 p.m. — Center for a New American Security conversation with Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger; and Stacie Pettyjohn, senior fellow and director of the CNAS Defense Program.

1 p.m. — Defense One TV: “JADC2 and The Future Warfighter,” with Col. Corey Brumsey, JADC2 CFT, the Joint Staff; Col. Noah Spataro, division chief, Joint Assessment Division, Joint Staff J6; Doug Jones, senior vice president and defense group chief technology officer, Leidos; Patrick Tucker, technology editor, Defense One; and George Jackson, director of events, GovExec

1 p.m. — McCain Institute virtual discussion: "Improving NATO's Public Image and Building Awareness of the MDM (Mis-, Dis- & Mal-Information) Threat,” with Laura Thornton, director and senior fellow at the Alliance for Securing Democracy at the German Marshall Fund; Jamie Fly, president and CEO of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty; and Harry Nedelcu, former analyst with the Policy Planning Unit at NATO

1:30 p.m. — Center for Strategic and International Studies and Defense-Industrial Initiatives Group webcast: “Building Apollo's Arsenal: Building Future Government-Bioeconomy Partnership through Lessons Learned from Covid-19,” with Tara O'Toole, senior fellow and executive vice president at In-Q-Tel; Chris Fall, vice president for applied sciences, The MITRE Corporation; Cynthia Cook, director, Defense-Industrial Initiatives Group and senior fellow, International Security Program, CSIS; and Rose Butchart, associate fellow, Defense-Industrial Initiatives Group, CSIS

3 p.m. — Atlantic Council webinar: “Charting course: Next steps for maritime cybersecurity with allies and partners,” with Sen. Angus King, I-Maine; Rear Adm. John Mauger, assistant commandant of the Coast Guard for prevention policy; Trey Herr, director of Cyber Statecraft Initiative in the Atlantic Council's Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security; Gary Kessler, nonresident senior fellow for the Cyber Statecraft Initiative in the Atlantic Council's Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security; Josie Long, cyber security consultant at MITRE; and Sean Kline, director of maritime affairs at the Chamber of Shipping of America


8 a.m. — Potomac Officers Club virtual Air Force Information Technology Modernization and Digital Transformation Forum, with Air Force Deputy CIO Winston Beauchamp delivers remarks

12 p.m. — Washington Space Business Roundtable virtual discussion: “The Second Year Anniversary of the Space Force: Progress to Date, Outstanding Challenges, and Role of Space Industry,” with Lt. Gen. Nina Armagno, director of staff at U.S. Space Force


10 a.m. — Carnegie Endowment for International Peace virtual discussion: “Is There a Future for Nuclear Arms Control?" with Anya Fink, research scientist at the CNA Russia Studies Program; Thomas MacDonald, fellow at the CEIP Nuclear Policy Program; and James Acton, co-director of the CEIP Nuclear Policy Program

11 a.m. — Heritage Foundation virtual discussion: “ Vaccine Mandates Will Hamstring the Defense Industrial Base,” with Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala.; Wes Hallman, senior vice president for strategy and policy at the National Defense Industrial Association; and John Luddy, vice president of national security policy at the Aerospace Industries Association

1:30 p.m. — CSIS Stephenson Ocean Security Project livestream event: “Ocean Security Forum 2021,” with Carlos Del Toro, secretary of the Navy; Adm. Karl Schultz, commandant, U.S. Coast Guard; Monica Medina, assistant secretary of state for oceans and international; Beth Lowell, vice president for U.S. campaigns, Oceana; Paul Woods, chief innovation officer, Global Fishing Watch; Duncan Copeland, executive director, Trygg Mat Tracking; Jared Dunnmon, technical director for AI and machine learning, DOD Defense Innovation Unit; Ian Ralby, CEO, I.R. Consilium; and Whit Saumweber, director, Stephenson Ocean Security Project


1 p.m. — Center for Strategic and International Studies virtual discussion: “China's Sphere of Influence in the Indo-Pacific,” with former Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs David Stilwell; and Graham Allison, professor of government at Harvard University

3 p.m. — Mitchell Institute Spacepower Advantage Research Center virtual “Spacepower Forum: Delta Commander's Perspectives,” with Col. Matthew Holston; Col. Miguel Cruz; Col. Robert Long, moderated by retired Gen. Kevin Chilton, explorer chair for space warfighting studies at MI-SPARC.


Arlington National Cemetery — National Wreaths Across America Day to place wreaths on the more than 253,000 headstones at Arlington National Cemetery to honor of the nation’s fallen service members and their families. @ArlingtonNatl


“As the violence continued, one of the president's sons texted Mr. Meadows quote, ‘He's got to condemn this shit ASAP. The Capitol Police tweet is not enough.’ Donald Trump, Jr. texted.”

Wyoming Republican Rep. Liz Cheney, vice chairwoman of the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, which voted to recommend contempt charges against former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows.