Defense Secretary Ash Carter admitted in testimony Capitol Hill this morning that Iran will not be changing its bad behavior as a result of the nuclear deal.
Here's video of Carter's admission:
"Do you, Secretary Carter, believe that Iran will change its behavior as a result if this agreement is finalized? And have you seen any indication of that?" Senator John McCain asked this morning.
"I've not, Mr. Chairman," said Secretary Carter. "In speaking just from my own judgment I don't foresee that or have any reason to foresee that. That is why it's important that the agreement be verifiable. That is why it's important that Iran not have a nuclear weapon and that is also why it's important that we keep doing everything that we need to do. Defend our friends and allies, remain strong in the Gulf, freedom of navigation, ballistic missile defense--all of the things we're doing. We need to keep doing those things, and the agreement doesn't limit us in anyway. Obviously if Iran changes its behavior, that would be a welcome thing. But I see no reason to foresee that chairman, personally."
In at last announcing in detail that it would reduce the size of its active-duty force, currently 490,000, by 40,000 soldiers over the next two years, the U.S. Army seems finally and for a day to have captured the attention of the political class. In fact this is not news, but the long-anticipated result of the defense budget cuts agreed to under the 2011 Budget Control Act.
A DoD News story, published on Defense.gov, claims that the "Strategy to Defeat ISIL is Working, Military Official Says."
The report reads, "The coalition and Iraqi security forces strategy to defeat and dismantle the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant extremist group is clear and on track, the chief of staff of Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve said today."
Lost in much of the reporting about CPAC is that almost all of the likely presidential candidates—really, all of them, with the exception of Rand Paul—seemed to place themselves at the Reaganite hawkish-internationalist end of the foreign policy spectrum. The much-heralded return of Republican isolationism or anti-interventionism wasn’t much in evidence, except during Rand Paul's half hour on the stage.
A bipartisan group of mmore than eighty influential national security experts, from former Defense Secretary Robert Gates to Michèle Flournoy to Bill Kristol, have written a letter to congressional leadership to urge increased defense spending.
South Carolina senator Lindsey Graham has launched a new political action committee for "testing the waters" for a presidential run in 2016. The Republican, in his third term, has started Security Through Strength, a PAC that bluntly describes itself as a group to "fund the infrastructure and operations allowing Graham to travel the country, listen to Americans, and gauge support for a potential presidential candidacy."
In the last five years, the Department of Defense (DOD) has spent over $130 million to store unused satellites from eight different satellite programs, and plans to spend another $206 million on storage over the next five years. Storage costs for individual pieces of equipment range from $40,000 up to an estimated $120 million for one particular satellite. Costs vary depending on the amount of care needed for each satellite.
The resignation of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel creates a golden opportunity for the new Republican majority in the Congress: not only will the hearings on Hagel’s replacement be a natural venue for reviewing the defense reductions and many retreats of the Obama years, but they provide a forum for Republicans to begin to chart a positive alternative.
So Chuck Hagel has been fired as defense secretary. We were critical of his appointment, and opposed his confirmation by the Senate. But let's be clear: Hagel has done what he was asked and what was expected of him at the Pentagon. To the degree he has deviated from the Obama White House line, he's been more right than wrong (e.g., on the threat the Islamic State poses).