National Security Brief: May 16, 2012

— The White House threatened to veto a military budget proposed by the Republican House that exceeds its request by $8 billion and violates the agreement Republicans made with the administration last year to reduce government spending and debt.

— The House Appropriations subcommittee that handles military procurement budgeted $5.3 billion more for ships, vehicles and weapons than the Pentagon asked for, thereby ordering the military to keep open programs it intended to close down.

— Defense Secretary Leon Panetta ordered the Air Force to ground F-22 Raptor flights and accelerate the installation of backup oxygen generators in response to pilot complaints of wooziness and fainting spells in the cockpit.

— Pakistan has reportedly agreed to re-open supply lines for NATO forces in Afghanistan but not without a new fee: $1,500 to $1,800 for each truck carrying supplies, a tab that officials familiar with negotiations estimated would run nearly $1 million a day.

— French President Francois Hollande, sworn in just yesterday, backtracked on a campaign promise to pull all French troops out of Afghanistan by the end of this year.

— Through more robust contacts with and evaluations of Syrian rebels, the U.S. provides aid to Gulf Arab sheikdoms arming and supplying the fighters against the embattled Syrian regime.

— Retired General James Cartwright, the former top military officer in charge of the U.S.’s nuclear weapons, proposed in a report that the U.S. reduce its stockpile of nuclear weapons because “the current arsenal carries the baggage of the cold war” that is “beyond our needs” and doesn’t match today’s threats.