National Security Brief: Military Contractors Fined For Aid To China

— A Canadian subsidiary of the Connecticut-based military contractor the United Technologies Corporation pleaded guilty yesterday to federal charges that it had illegally helped the Chinese government develop an attack helicopter now in service there.

— A high-ranking member of the Taliban and a senior Afghan official sat at the same table in a conference in Kyoto, Japan this week, a move Afghan officials trumpeted as a example of the peace process moving forward. However, U.S. officials played down the significance of the meetings.

— Syrian rebels fighting Bashar al-Assad’s regime “struck at high-profile targets in the capital region on Thursday for the third time this week, demonstrating their increasing effectiveness and reach.”

— The U.S. ambassador to Kenya has unexpectedly resigned, citing tension with superiors in Washington. Scott Gration released a statement Friday announcing he had submitted his resignation to Secretary of State Clinton and President Obama, to be effective July 28th.

— Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said the U.S. military plans to deploy specialized Army units around the globe as part of an effort to build worldwide military partnership. The units will specialize in the culture and language of the geographic places in which they are operating.