When the Senate Appropriations Committee meets, the subject is usually money — say the $13 billion that the administration is seeking for cyber warfare in the Fiscal Year 2014 — but how the National Security Agency, U.S. Cyber Command, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Commerce and the FBI planned to spend that money was swept away by repeated questions over just what the federal government was doing in collecting so much data on U.S. citizens.
There is an inherent tension between security and privacy and citizens want to know what the government is doing with the data it is collecting from phone calls to Google searches to credit card purchases, said committee chair Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.). Read More
The following is the April, 17 2013 written testimony of Vice Adm. Robin Braun, Chief of Naval Reserve to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense. Read More
Senator Chuck Hagel speaks at the Forum on the Law of the Sea Convention held at the Willard Intercontinental Washington Hotel, Washington D.C, May 9, 2012. DoD Photo
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Thursday Chuck Hagel’s nomination to be the next Secretary of Defense was being blocked by Senate Republicans over demands for more information on Hagel’s background and the September attack of the consulate in Benghazi, reported Politico.
It’s been a little more than six months since two prominent Senate Armed Services Committee Republicans took aim at efforts underway within the Department of Defense (DoD) to develop a national biofuels market. During the Committee’s May, 24th mark-up of this year’s defense authorization bill, Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) and the panel’s Ranking Member, John McCain (R-AZ), pushed through separate amendments that would have ended the Department’s pursuit of advanced renewable fuels.
The bill reported out of Committee included Inhofe’s amendment that prohibits the Pentagon from buying alternative fuels if their up-front cost is higher than that of traditional fossil fuels. Language added by McCain and backed by Inhofe banned the DoD from building or retooling refineries to produce biofuels. But in the last two weeks, talks on the energy issue intensified, sparked by a letter to Senate leadership signed by 38 members. The topic of biofuels emerged as a key sticking point, Senate aides said.
Fuels Distribution Systems Operator David Riggs, from Fleet Logistic Center Puget Sound Manchester Fuel Department, secures a fueling hose during a biofuels transfer to the Military Sealift Command fleet replenishment oiler USNS Henry J. Kaiser (T-AO 187). Henry J. Kaiser took on 900,000 gallons of a 50/50 blend of advanced biofuels and is scheduled to deliver the biofuels to platforms participating in the Great Green Fleet demonstration during the exercise Rim of the Pacific 2012. U.S. Navy Photo
The November, 16th letter led by Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO) and joined by 35 other Democrats, Independent Joe Lieberman (CT) and Republican Susan Collins (ME) called the Inhofe and McCain provisions “harmful and counterproductive” and expressed strong support for “the ability of military leaders to develop and employ alternative fuels.”
Rep. J. Randy Forbes is chairman of the House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee. The Virginia Republican has held several hearings on naval readiness in the current Congress. He will be part of a panel on the looming fiscal cliff— that could result in a 10 percent reduction in defense spending—at Defense Forum Washington hosted by the U.S. Naval Institute next week.
Rep. Forbes, you said Wednesday that you’re expecting to see sequestration in some form in January. Could you expand on that?
Obviously we are still hopeful to divert sequestration from taking place. The clock is ticking. We continue to believe that defense has already paid its share and shouldn’t be cut in such an arbitrary and drastic fashion. But it’s going to take an awful lot to keep from going over the cliff.
The Law of the Sea Treaty has been a political hot button for more than 30 years. In 1982 then-President Ronald Reagan refused to sign the treaty and ratification of the treaty has bounced around the U.S. Senate for decades. On Thursday the Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a day worth of hearings on the pros and cons of the treaty’s ratification. Military leaders pushed for the treaty’s ratification while former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld spoke against ratification.
By Donna Cassata
WASHINGTON (AP) — Proponents of a treaty governing the high seas rolled out military star power Thursday to try to lift the prospects for a long-spurned pact that faces strong conservative Republican opposition. more
By Julian Pecquet
John Negroponte, Bush’s first director of national intelligence, joined the State Department’s former top lawyer John Bellinger in warning that the Navy and American oil and gas companies would be hamstrung if the U.S. doesn’t join the pact. But former Defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld countered that having to pay royalties to a United Nation agency was unacceptable to President Ronald Reagan in 1982 — and remains so today. more
The Hill’s Global Affairs blog
By Donald Rumsfeld
Thirty years ago, President Ronald Reagan asked me to meet with world leaders to represent the United States in opposition to the United Nations Law of the Sea Treaty. Our efforts soon found a persuasive supporter in British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Today, as the U.S. Senate again considers approving this flawed agreement, the Reagan-Thatcher reasons for opposition remain every bit as persuasive. more
The Wall Street Journal