2:40 PM, Mar 23, 2015 • By DANIEL HALPER
A fact sheet on the Defense budget from the Foreign Policy Initiative:
After heated committee debates, the House and Senate will each take up budget resolutions this week that would make minimal changes to the $1 trillion in defense cuts required by the Budget Control Act(BCA). A recent FPI fact sheet explained the key features of the defense budget proposal introduced in the House Budget Committee, as well as options proposed by President Obama, the chairmen of the House and Senate Armed Services Committees, and the bipartisan National Defense Panel. This update describes the amended resolutions that will be considered by the House and Senate this week, as well as a proposal from the House Republican Study Committee (RSC).
The budget resolutions that Congress will debate feature a total of $613 billion for defense spending, a marginal increase above the figure requested by President Obama. However, the resolutions reach this target by leaving the BCA cuts to the Defense Department’s base budget in place while providing an extra $39 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO), an account normally restricted to paying for war-related costs. This maneuver would require the support of both the appropriations committees and the Obama administration, which may not be forthcoming.
At a Thursday hearing, the Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey suggested that OCO dollars are not an acceptable substitute for increased base budget funding, since they only provide a one-year fix. Gen. Dempsey stated, “We submit a one-year budget but in the context of a five-year future defense plan, and we won't have the certainty we need over that period” if sequestration-level caps still apply in FY16 and beyond.
Moreover, an FY16 budget of either $612 or $613 billion would result in significant shortfalls for our military. Gen. Dempsey has said that the President’s budget request would leave the Pentagon at the “lower, ragged edge” of manageable risk, while Secretary Carter has warned that there would be “no margin left for error, nor for a response to a strategic surprise.” This is why the RSC, the chairmen of the House and Senate Armed Services Committees, and the bipartisan, congressionally-appointed National Defense Panel have all recommended substantial increases in the defense budget.
The question before Congress is whether it will heed the advice of both military leaders and independent experts, or whether it will remain wedded to defense cuts signed into law before the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and the dramatic spread of Iranian influence across the Middle East.
The presidential candidates could learn from Indiana’s governor.4:39 PM, Feb 28, 2015 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
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.
1:23 PM, Feb 24, 2015 • By DANIEL HALPER
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.
6:10 AM, Feb 3, 2015 • By DANIEL HALPER
President Obama's proposed defense budget is well below what former Secretary of Defense Bob Gates proposed.
"Testing the waters" for 2016.11:44 AM, Jan 29, 2015 • By MICHAEL WARREN
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."
Will spend $336M over 10 years8:05 AM, Dec 10, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
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.
9:34 AM, Dec 2, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
CNN reports that Ashton Carter will be President Obama's pick to be the next defense secretary:
Ashton Carter, the former second-in-command at the Pentagon appears to be the top choice to replace outgoing Secretary Chuck Hagel.
Barring any last minute complications, Ash Carter will be President Barack Obama's choice as the new Secretary of Defense, several U.S. administration officials told CNN.
1:35 PM, Nov 24, 2014 • By THOMAS DONNELLY
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.
9:33 AM, Nov 24, 2014 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
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).
3:35 PM, Oct 22, 2014 • By LEE SMITH
During his visit to Washington this week, Israeli defense minister Moshe Ya'alon has spent part of his time criticizing Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority, warning about the dangers of a bad nuclear deal with Iran—and highlighting the problems with Turkey.
1:32 PM, Sep 19, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
As the military prepares to take on the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is ordering a review ... of the military's ties to the National Football League. This comes "in the wake of the scandal over how the league is handling domestic-abuse allegations against players," reports CNN.