[UPDATED with details on carriers] THE CAPITOL: With the Obama Pentagon excoriating federal lawmakers for their apparent inability to avoid sequestration or to pass a defense spending bill, and the Navy going down to one carrier in the Persian Gulf for lack of funds, GOP lawmakers today defended the latest Republican proposal to stop the automatic budget cuts.
It isn’t a mere rehash of a very similar one that fizzled last year, GOP leaders insisted when Breaking Defense raised the question at a press conference in the Capitol this afternoon — although their own staff seem to disagree (click here to read why). Keep reading →
WASHINGTON: Meet the new plan, same as the old plan. Yesterday, Republicans immediately rejected President Obama’s proposal to stop sequestration — the automatic spending cuts set to kick in March 1st and hamstring Army, Air Force, and Navy readiness, according to Pentagon documents — as a retread of tax-hike proposals he’s been making since 2011. This afternoon, not to be outdone, a bicameral band of GOP legislators will re-introduce a stop-sequester bill from February 2012.
“It’s a reprise” of last year’s bill, one GOP staffer told Breaking Defense. Keep reading →
CAPITOL HILL: We have confirmed that Sen. James Inhofe, ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, will vote against the nomination of Chuck Hagel to serve as Defense Secretary.
Inhofe, a tough partisan known for his positions sometimes outside the consensus of his fellow committee members, labeled Hagel as the “wrong person to lead the Pentagon at this perilous and consequential time.,” in his opening statement at a packed hearing room this morning. Keep reading →
[UPDATED and CORRECTED Jan. 31 at 3:45 pm Shipbuilders' Council Says Job Loss Numbers Are Estimates And Not Official Council Numbers]
WASHINGTON: For anyone who believed those who have claimed that defense cuts don’t affect “real” jobs or the economy, today appears to be a sobering day. Keep reading →
WASHINGTON: Political gridlock has gotten so bad that the best bet to stop sequestration is after it starts, Rep. Mac Thornberry believes. Only a real crisis — not just an impending one — can force the two parties to cut a deal, he told Breaking Defense. But, the conservative Republican emphasized, he stuck to the House GOP line that further tax revenues are off the table.
“I still have hope,” Thornberry said when I accosted him after he spoke this morning at the National Defense Industrial Association’s annual special operations conference. Thornberry is Vice-Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee and also chairs the “emerging threats” panel on HASC, a subcommittee recently empowered with new authority over intelligence matters, and his speech mostly addressed issues specific to special operations. But he started by lamenting the looming spending cuts known as the sequester — arguing that the Democratic-controlled Senate had failed to act to stop them. And he suggested sequestration would at least start to be implemented before Congress could get its act together to turn it off. Keep reading →
WASHINGTON: While the House has voted to extend the debt limit to May, the automatic federal spending cuts called sequestration still loom $90 billion large, half that bill for the Pentagon alone. Yet, as fourth quarter earnings calls begin, the defense industry and its stock values remain remarkably resilient.
What gives? Or rather, what isn’t giving way, and why? Keep reading →
CAPITOL HILL: Martha Roby is not a guy, but she is a Republican — and now, the chair of the most politically charged panel of the biggest committee in the Congress.
Roby is not the only House GOP woman in a leadership position. One woman holds a full committee chairmanship in the GOP House. Rep. Candice Mill of Michigan leads the House Administration Committee. She was named to that post three days after the Huffington Post ran a story noting only white men had been named to committee chairs. Now the GOP-led HASC has a GOP woman in a top position. Keep reading →
The pundits are reading the tea leaves and the critics sharpening their knives. What would Chuck Hagel be like, really, as Secretary of Defense? If you want to understand how the SecDef-apparent thinks, however, it’s hard to do better than to look at his own words. Read them carefully, and it becomes clear that the real reason why his appointment is so important — and why he is so hated on the right — is that it represents the final rejection of the failed neocon agenda.
Chuck Hagel has hardly been a shrinking violet. His foreign policy views have been loud and clear. They are best expressed in Hagel’s 2004 manifesto describing what he wanted the Republican foreign policy platform to be. Keep reading →
Rising Republican star Sen. Kelly Ayotte said her “libertarian” and “isolationist” Senate colleagues who would cut defense spending to help solve the budget deficit have abandoned the principles of conservative icon Ronald Reagan.
Speaking at the conservative American Enterprise Institute late Wednesday afternoon, the junior Senator from New Hampshire said that “with the issues that we face, the challenges that we face, I think that none of us in this room would say that this would be a time… that we should be taking significant defense cuts.” Keep reading →
WASHINGTON:A quick look at what the Democratic national security establishment thinks about the National Defense Authorization Act now moving through the House.
Here’s what the progressive National Security Network (whose board includes Wes Clark and Samuel Burger, among others) says in a posting about the bill: Keep reading →