"When word of a crisis breaks out in Washington, it's no accident that the first question that comes to everyone's lips is: 'Where's the nearest carrier?'" (President Bill Clinton, March 12, 1993, aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt)
Twenty years later, it appears that the answer to that question will soon be, "The carriers are in mothballs." Rusting away. We can't afford them any longer."
While furloughs of civilian employees of the Defense Department have not lived up to the pre-sequester billing, the Pentagon is doing what it can to ease the pain for those who will be taking involuntary time off. The American Forces Press Service is reporting that the director of the Pentagon's Morale, Welfare and Recreation (WMR) program is urging furloughed civilians to tap into "fitness, recreational and educational services, often at no charge or for significantly less than one might pay just outside an installation’s gates." The list of "free or low-cost" offerings is extensive:
When Congress was debating implementation of the sequester, the Pentagon released a report saying that if the cuts were to kick in, civilian personnel could be furloughed for 22 days -- nearly a month's worth of work. But now that the sequester has kicked in, those furlough days appear to have been inflated.
In what may be just an eerie coincidence, the Defense Department posted a contract award notice today to Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts for research into "Methods for Explosive Detection at Standoff." Of particular concern are Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) that have become a favorite among terrorists and gained widespread attention during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
Tulsi Gabbard, a congresswoman representing Hawaii's Second Congressional District, responds to President Obama's proposed budget by expressing concern over missile defense cuts. "It would also cut our missile defense budget, even as Hawai‘i and the rest of the country face direct and heightened threats from North Korea," she says in a statement.
Gabbard is a Democrat, who otherwise praises Obama's budget, except for president's proposed Social Security "cuts."
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s address to the National Defense University today, hyped by the administration as a “strong message that the time has come for [the Department of Defense] to consider fundamental change in how it is organized and how it operates to better reflect 21st century strategic and fiscal realities” turned out to be a bit of a wet noodle.
The Senate confirmed Chuck Hagel as the next secretary of defense early Tuesday evening, with 58 senators supporting his nomination and 41, all Republicans, opposing. The boss, in his capacity as the chairman of the Emergency Committee for Israel, responded in a statement:
Adam Kredo reports that the Indian embassy in Washington says Chuck Hagel's views are not based in reality:
The Embassy of India chided secretary of defense nominee Chuck Hagel late Monday for suggesting in a previously unreleased 2011 speech that India has “for many years” sponsored terrorist activities against Pakistan in Afghanistan.