Tag Archives: Congress

U.S. Military Ranks Highest in New Gallup Poll

U.S. Military Ranks Highest in New Gallup Poll

The military bested small business and the police to top the list of U.S. institutions in which Americans have the most confidence, according to a June Gallup poll released on Thursday.

The military topped the list with 76 percent of responses indicating there was “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in the institution. Small business came in second with 65 percent, followed by police with 57 percent. Read More

Arming Syrian Rebels Will Do Little

Arming Syrian Rebels Will Do Little

fsa_dec12After years of debate and increased involvement in the training and logistical support of Syrian rebel forces, the U.S. government authorized the CIA to begin directly arming opponents of the Bashar al Assad regime. Casualties from Syria’s civil war already number at least 93,000 according to some sources, and millions of Syrians are now refugees or internally displaced.

Meanwhile, the United States now confirms that Syria used chemical weapons in a number of instances, at a small scale that many fear may escalate. Chemical-weapons use provided rhetorical justification to this policy decision, but is not the entire reality of the matter. Internal pressure and Free Syrian Army leadership’s refusal to participate in a new round of negotiations at Geneva without U.S. weapons played a major role. Unfortunately for the United States and the administration, neither the known particulars of the U.S. plan, nor the concept of providing arms to rebel forces generally, appears likely to turn the war’s tide or secure lasting U.S. influence in Syria. Read More

Document: Pentagon Sequestration Impacts In Detail

Document: Pentagon Sequestration Impacts In Detail

From the introduction from the June Department of Defense Report on the Joint Committee Sequestration for Fiscal Year 2013: This report summarizes the financial impact on the Department of Defense discretionary budget authority in Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 as a result of the Joint Committee Sequestration directed in the Presidential Order of March 1, 2013. Read More

NSA Leaks Dominate Cyber Hearing

NSA Leaks Dominate Cyber Hearing

alexanderWhen 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

Opinion: Sequestration is Here

Opinion: Sequestration is Here

 USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) pulls out of Naval Air Station North Island, Calif. on June, 4 2013. US Navy Photo

USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) pulls out of Naval Air Station North Island, Calif. on June, 4 2013. US Navy Photo

The dirty word spreading across the U.S. Navy and the larger defense establishment this year is “sequestration.” It was never supposed to happen, yet today it is the law of the land. Worse still, there appears to be no interest in Congress to repeal this legislation. That’s significant, since the longer this process goes on, the greater will be the cumulative damage on the long-term health and readiness of the U.S. Navy, as well as all of America’s military.

Sequestration was born out of the Budget Control Act of 2011, which stipulated that more than $900 billion in defense cuts over 10 years would begin automatically in 2013 unless Congress passed a long-term deficit reduction plan. This provision was considered so draconian that all agreed at the time that it would never be implemented. Think again. Read More

Senate Panel Rejects New BRAC Round

Senate Panel Rejects New BRAC Round

A Senate panel has rejected a Pentagon request to open a new round of base closures.

A Senate panel has rejected a Pentagon request to open a new round of base closures.

The Senate Armed Services readiness subcommittee has voted to deny the Pentagon’s request to start a new Base Realignment and Closure commission to shutter what the Department of Defense calls excess facilitates.

As part of the Pentagon’s $526.6 billion budget request, the DoD requested permission to close additional bases in a cost savings measure. The Pentagon asked for $2.4 billion to be spent over five years to begin a new round of BRAC. Read More

LCS Program Faces Additional Scrutiny from Congress

LCS Program Faces Additional Scrutiny from Congress

The littoral combat ship USS Freedom (LCS 1) arrives at Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam in March enroute to Singapore. US Navy Photo

The littoral combat ship USS Freedom (LCS 1) arrives at Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam in March enroute to Singapore. US Navy Photo

At least one Congress member is expected to try and slow development of the Littoral Combat Ship program during debate this week over the Fiscal Year 2014 National Defense Authorization Act, according to a report in Defense Daily.

The LCS backlash follows the leak of a draft copy of a Government Accountability Office report that called for Congress to slow development of ship construction and the accompanying mission packages. Read More

Document: U.S. Military Relations with China

Document: U.S. Military Relations with China

China has accepted an invitation from the U.S. to join the 2014 Rim of the Pacific naval exercises off of Hawaii.
However, members of Congress have raised questions if the People’s Liberation Army Navy’s inclusion as part of RIMPAC will violate provisions of a 2000 U.S. defense bill that restricts the level of military to military contact the Pentagon can have with its Chinese counterparts.
The following is an April Congressional Research Service report that broadly outlines the history of the defense law and the U.S. military relationship with China.
Read More

NAVSEA on Flight III Arleigh Burkes

NAVSEA on Flight III Arleigh Burkes

Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain (DDG-56), front, the Republic of Korea Navy Aegis-class destroyer ROKS Seoae-Yu-Seong-Ryong (DDG-993), middle, and the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS McCampbell (DDG-85). US Navy Photo

Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain (DDG-56), front, the Republic of Korea Navy Aegis-class destroyer ROKS Seoae-Yu-Seong-Ryong (DDG-993), middle, and the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS McCampbell (DDG-85). US Navy Photo

The Navy is confident it has enough space, power and cooling onboard the hull of its planned new line of destroyers to accommodate the planned high-powered Air and Missile Defense Radar (AMDR), Capt. Mark Vandroff, Naval Sea Systems Command program manager for the DDG-51 shipbuilding program, told USNI News in an interview on Thursday.

However, the Arleigh Burke- class destroyer (DDG-51) Flight III would be limited in the amount of additional weapons the ship could accommodate — including electromagnetic railguns and high-energy lasers — without removing other capabilities. Read More

Forbes Wants 'Intensive Oversight' On LCS, Hearings Likely

Forbes Wants ‘Intensive Oversight’ On LCS, Hearings Likely

Rep. Randy Forbes (R-Va.) will likely hold hearings on the state of the Navy's Littoral Combat Ship. AP Photo

Rep. Randy Forbes (R-Va.) will likely hold hearings on the state of the Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship. AP Photo

Congress will likely hold hearings on the state of the Littoral Combat Ship program, Rep. Randy Forbes (R-Va.) , the chairman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection forces, told reporters on Tuesday.

“We are going to do some intensive oversight of this program, which will include hearings,” Forbes said in a report from Reuters.

The hearings are prompted by an anticipated Government Accountability Office report that will likely advise Congress to slow down acquisition of the program so the ships and the planned mission packages.

“I have felt that LCS had bumps in the road but it was moving. The only thing that’s really raising this flag is what this GAO report may or may not say,” Forbes said.

Excerpts of a draft GAO LCS report have appeared in several press outlets. The draft recommends Congress slow down acquisition of the ships and the mission packages pending further study.

“The apparent disconnect between the LCS acquisition strategy and the needs of the end user suggests that a pause is needed,” a draft of the GAO report was quoted in a Friday Bloomberg story. “Congress is in a position to slow funding… pending the results of the technical studies that are already underway.”

The U.S. Navy currently plans to acquire 52 LCS hulls to round out the low-end of the Navy’s surface combatant roster. The two hulls being built — Lockheed Martin’s Freedom-class and Austal USA’s Independence-class — are part of a dual acquisition strategy formulated in 2010. After a fierce competition between Austal’s aluminum trimaran and Lockheed’s steel mono-hull design, the Navy elected to buy both versions in a deal for 20 ships with an estimated value of $8.9 billion.

In addition to four ships the Navy funded outside of the 2010 deal, the Navy’s current plan is to buy 24 ships with both hulls.

In November, Vice Adm. Tom Copeman, commander of U.S. Surface Forces, sent a classified memo to Navy leadership that advised narrowing down to a single LCS design modified to carry more weapons than the current version or an entirely new class of ship.