Military.com

5 Things to Start Your Week

Defense Secretary-designate James Mattis smiles as he testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017, at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Defense Secretary-designate James Mattis smiles as he testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017, at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Here are five news stories and events to start your week, from the editors at Military.com:

1. Mattis Returns to Pentagon as Defense Secretary

Hours after he was sworn in, retired Marine Gen. James Mattis arrived at the Pentagon on Saturday as the nation's 26th defense secretary. The historic moment of his arrival passed without fanfare, as Mattis, carrying two briefcases, stepped out of a black sport-utility vehicle and at noon and was greeted on the steps of the Pentagon's River Entrance by Joint Chiefs Chairman Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, who served under Mattis as a regimental commander in the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Mattis is only the second defense secretary since World War II who needed a special waiver from Congress to get around a law designed to preserve civilian control of the military by requiring a leader to be out of uniform for seven years before holding the top job. In a letter to Pentagon employees, he said "it's good to be back" and called department and intelligence officials "the sentinels and guardians of our nation."

2. In CIA Visit, Trump Praises Intel Analysts, Berates Media

President Donald Trump spent part of his first full day in office visiting the CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, where he praised intel officials and decried journalists as "dishonest" for comparing the size of his inauguration crowd to that of his predecessor, the Associated Press reported. While some, including former CIA Director John Brennan, criticized Trump for making the remarks in the lobby in front of the hallowed "Memorial Wall" that depicts stars for agency employees killed in the line of duty, "some of the roughly 400 other officers in attendance cheered on the president during his remarks," the AP reported. Also Saturday, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer in his first press briefing took a similarly combative tone with reporters and falsely claimed that Trump drew "the largest inaugural crowd ever." The brazen inaccuracy led some on social media to compare Spicer to "Baghdad Bob," the nickname of the former Iraqi information minister known for propaganda.

3. Senate Panel to Review Future Defense Spending

The Senate Armed Services Committee, headed by Sen. John McCain, the Republican from Arizona, will hold a hearing 9:30 a.m. Tuesday on future defense spending. The hearing, "Defense Budget for Fiscal Year 2018 and Onwards," will feature a trio of independent defense budget analysts, including Dakota Wood, senior research fellow for defense programs at the right-leaning The Heritage Foundation; Dr. Thomas Mahnken, president and chief executive officer of the centrist Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments; and Dr. Lawrence Korb, senior fellow at the left-leaning Center for American Progress, according to the agenda. In a white paper seen as a budgetary blueprint for the Trump administration, McCain proposed spending $430 billion more on defense over the next five years in part so the military can acquire a better mix of weaponry.

4. Sig Sauer Wins Army's Modular Handgun System Competition

The U.S. Army on Thursday awarded Sig Sauer a contract worth $580 million to make the next service pistol based on the company's P320 handgun. The news broke toward the end of SHOT Show, the gun show held in Las Vegas and came as a surprise to most competitors -- including the winner. Sig beat out Glock Inc., FN America and Beretta USA, maker of the current M9 9mm service pistol, in the competition for the Modular Handgun System (MHS) program. "We are both humbled and proud that the P320 was selected by the U.S. Army as its weapon of choice," Ron Cohen, CEO of Sig Sauer, said in a statement. The 10-year agreement calls for Sig to supply the Army with full-size and compact versions of the gun that can be outfitted with silencers and accommodate standard and extended capacity magazines. The firearms will be manufactured in New Hampshire. Watch for losing bidders to protest the decision.

5. Miss SHOT Show? We've Got You Covered

If you couldn't make it to last week's SHOT Show, we've got you covered. See Military.com's full coverage. We had a three-person team on the ground to chronicle the latest firearms and gear at the show, including range day. While the Army announcing a winner of its Modular Handgun System program dominated the news, the show generated a number of other headlines: Hudson Mfg. created a lot excitement with its new 1911-inspired H9 pistol, a fresh departure from the world of Glock-style, striker-fired handguns; Beretta unveiled the new Tikka T3X TAC A1 tactical bolt-action rifle with higher precision and a two-stage trigger that can be adjusted to between 2-4 pounds; and the Battle Rifle Co. showed off its new BR-4 Cutlass maritime rifle designed for SEALs and Coasties by submerging it in a fishtank.

-- Richard Sisk, Hope Hodge Seck and Matthew Cox contributed to this report.

-- Brendan McGarry can be reached at brendan.mcgarry@military.com. Follow him on Twitter at @Brendan_McGarry.

Show Full Article