Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee

[UPDATED with experts’ analysis; “innocent passage” confirmed] WASHINGTON: Just two days after the head of US Pacific Command, Adm. Harry Harris, pledged to push harder on Chinese territorial claims in the South China Sea, the destroyer USS Curtis Wilbur sailed within the 12 nautical mile limit around Triton Island. Situated in the Paracels, which are claimed… Keep reading →

Rep. Randy Forbes

UPDATED Deal passed, Forbes voted “no” WASHINGTON: With hours to go before the House vote on the budget deal — assuming it doesn’t get derailed — the Republican caucus is deeply divided. A central selling point is the deal ups the defense budget, but one leading legislator on national security issues, House seapower subcommittee chairman Rep.… Keep reading →

Fireworks over the US Capitol Dome in Washington, DC.

WASHINGTON: The budget deal announced late last night is unmixed good news for the Defense Department, our sources say — for a year, at least, and if it actually passes the ever-more-erratic House of Representatives. “This ‘October Surprise’ is a better deal for defense than I expected,” said one of Washington’s leading budget experts, Todd… Keep reading →


WASHINGTON: Are we giving Beijing mixed messages? On the one hand, the US Navy is getting ready — maybe — to challenge Chinese claims around their artificial islets in the South China Sea. On the other hand, the Navy’s also preparing to welcome three Chinese warships at Naval Station Mayport in Florida two weeks from… Keep reading →

Digital Communications Director

WASHINGTON: The most intriguing assessment of President Obama’s veto yesterday of the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act comes from a Republican. While Mackenzie Eaglen, defense expert at the American Enterprise Institute, clearly doesn’t think much of Obama’s move — citing “his intransigence at anything less than is being demanded of him” — she also concludes that he’s… Keep reading →

Rep. Paul Ryan

WASHINGTON: What will happen if President Obama vetoes the National Defense Authorization Act? No one really knows. We’ve pinged a number of experienced staff and other experts and no one really knows the likely consequences of a veto. It looks likely that troops will get paid, weapons bought, and operations paid for, albeit at lower… Keep reading →

Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. photo

WASHINGTON: The chairmen of the House and Senate Armed Services committees made a rare joint appearance today and urged President Obama not to veto their policy bill for 2016. But Sen. John McCain and Rep. Mac Thornberry held out little hope Obama would back off, and if they have a plan for what to do if he… Keep reading →

Rep. John Boehner and President Obama

Updated with Loren Thompson & Byron Callan comment WASHINGTON: Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s sudden exit from the House Speaker race raises the chance of a fiscal disaster — but it also raises the odds of a desperate budget deal. Both extremes just got more likely. Ironically, this deepening leadership void elevates the role of Rep. John… Keep reading →

Rep. John Boehner and Pope Francis

WASHINGTON: Speaker John Boehner, that always-tanned, often crying fellow who has led House Republicans since 2010, appears to have given up after new challenges from fiscal radicals in the Republican Party and announced his resignation this morning. Boehner, a Catholic, campaigned for 20 years to bring a Pope to Congress. Yesterday he got his wish and… Keep reading →


CAPITOL HILL: Adm. John Richardson sailed through his Senate confirmation hearing this morning. But two ominous issues breached the surface, hinting at growing conflict between the administration and Hill Republicans over how to handle China. Richardson, an experienced submariner nominated for Chief of Naval Operations, deftly dodged the difficult questions from Senate Armed Services Committee: Does US-China… Keep reading →

Page 1 of 512345