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.
That is critical for America and for the party’s prospects in 2016. Only lately – and thanks to Obama’s serial weakness on issues from Syria to Iraq to Ukraine and even China – has the Republican party reclaimed its traditional advantage as the party of peace through strength. No doubt we’ll hear plenty of criticism of Obama’s no-boots-on-the-ground-ever conduct of the ISIS war, but will we hear Republicans advancing a theory of victory? Both the Congress and the prospective defense secretary will rend garments and gnash teeth on the pernicious effects of sequestration, but will the Republicans – whose job it is to frame a budget resolution that reflects the opposition party’s priorities – be so bold as to advance a solution to the underlying problem posed by the limits imposed by the 2011 Budget Control Act?
The confirmation hearings will also naturally focus on Sen. John McCain, in line to take the gavel as chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee. McCain has a unique position as a voice of American strength in the world, but how he will behave as committee chair and as a steward of the defense establishment is an uncertain prospect. To oversimplify only slightly, McCain has never met a foe he wasn’t willing to fight but has never met a weapons program he didn’t want to cut. McCain should realize that the armed forces have been so gutted by recent reductions that they are no longer capable of executing even the watered-down Obama defense strategy, let alone fulfilling the actual security needs of our time, in Europe, in the Middle East and in East Asia. And McCain’s “reformist” tendencies have been a skirt for Senate majority leader Sen. Mitch McConnell and other less-than-hawkish Republicans to hide behind. If the Republican Congress is to accomplish anything of serious purpose on defense, McCain must take a leading role, arguing without hesitation that rearmament is now more important than reform.
Despite the White House spin that the president was unsatisfied – the New York Times, almost laughably, pins the blame for the failing anti-ISIS strategy on the outgoing secretary – the need to replace Hagel comes at an unfortunate time. On a crass political level, it knocks the president’s immigration ploy out of the headlines. But it also recalls the underlying and ongoing narrative of Obama weakness, of which Chuck Hagel was a symbol. Indeed, given how Hagel loyally stuck to the White House line both on defense budget and war-related matters, he may be hard to replace.
But Obama’s weakness is not the same thing as a Republican strength. With two years still to go in the president’s term, there are limits to what Congress can do beyond saying no to Obama. But the Congress can – and is in fact constitutionally obligated to – adequately provide for America’s armed forces. The bipartisan National Defense Panel (which included former Undersecretary of Defense Michele Flournoy, one of those frequently mentioned as a Hagel replacement) has already charted a path to do so by returning to the defense spending levels charted in 2011, under the last budget prepared by then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates. By using the panel report as a benchmark, Sen. McCain and the Republican congressional leadership can frame the upcoming hearings not simply as a referendum on Obama, but as measuring stick for the next president.
1:08 PM, Nov 1, 2014 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Democratic senator Jeanne Shaheen told reporters Friday that issues regarding national security and the threat from Islamic terrorist groups like ISIS don't "come up very often" when she campaigns across New Hampshire.
At an event in Claremont, a reporter asked Shaheen about how issues of national security resonate in New Hampshire, given how both James Foley and Steven Sotloff, the Americans murdered by ISIS in the Middle East, have connections to the state.
Hosted by Michael Graham.2:35 PM, Oct 23, 2014 • By TWS PODCAST
The WEEKLY STANDARD podcast with executive editor Fred Barnes on national security and the 2014 elections.
'Chances of an Ebola outbreak in the United States is extremely low.'
8:23 PM, Oct 6, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
President Barack Obama addressed the growing Ebola crisis today in the Roosevelt Room of the White House.
"As I’ve said from the start of this outbreak, I consider this a top national security priority. This is not just a matter of charity -- although obviously the humanitarian toll in countries that are affected in West Africa is extraordinarily significant. This is an issue about our safety. It is also an issue with respect to the political stability and the economic stability in this region," said the commander in chief.
3:31 PM, Sep 26, 2014 • By LEE SMITH
Colin Kahl has just been named Vice President Joseph Biden's national security adviser. Kahl previously served in the Obama administration at the Department of Defense, and left in December 2011 when he moved to the Center for New American Security.
9:16 AM, Aug 30, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
President Barack Obama said last night at a Democratic fundraiser in Rhode Island that the terrorism from ISIS "doesn’t immediately threaten the homeland." The reason? The security measures taken by President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, according to Obama.
7:21 AM, Aug 14, 2014 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Secure America Now, a non-profit national security organization, has a new ad reminiscent of Lyndon Johnson's 1964 "Daisy" ad, updated for the security challenges of the modern era. Using the original ad's imagery of a little girl in a field and a massive explosion, the spot urges the United States to "stand up to terrorism" and "not let the jihadist government of Iran get a nuclear bomb." Watch the video below:
8:46 AM, Aug 8, 2014 • By MICHAEL WARREN
The boss was on the set of MSNBC's Morning Joe Friday to discuss Iraq, the Tea Party, and the midterm elections. Watch the videos below:
1:45 PM, Jul 16, 2014 • By ROGER ZAKHEIM
This week senior officials from the Pentagon will testify before Congress on their request for emergency appropriations, known as the Overseas Contingency Operations funding (OCO in military speak). A decision to maintain troop presence in Afghanistan, a resurgence of radical Sunni terrorism across the Middle east, and Russian expansionism in Europe all seem like good reasons for the administration to request the emergency funding. These events, however, haven’t prevented some proponents of defense cuts to question the validity of the request.
4:45 PM, Jul 9, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
President Obama announced the resignation of National Counterterrorism Center director Matt Olsen.
"Most Americans may not know Matt Olsen’s name, but every American is safer because of his service," says Obama in a prepared statement.
7:01 AM, Jun 5, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
Addressing a Center for Strategic and International Studies forum earlier this week, Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence Michael G. Vickers detailed a laundry list of national security threats that the United States faces today, the American Forces Press Services reports, including:
8:19 AM, Jun 2, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
Former Obama administration national security official Michael Leiter called the release of five top Taliban leaders from Gitmo a "big win" for the Taliban: