Congress

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WASHINGTON: This afternoon, a congressionally chartered panel of prestigious defense experts denounced sequestration as “self-defeating” and a “serious strategic misstep” that “Congress and the President should repeal…immediately.” But will it preach to anyone not already in the choir? While bipartisan, the National Defense Panel is most heeded by House Republicans. They see it as a valuable… Keep reading →

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PENTAGON: The grander the title, the blander the content. That’s normally a safe rule in Washington. But if analyzed closely, this afternoon’s “State of the Air Force” briefing by service Secretary Deborah Lee James and Chief of Staff Mark Welsh, plus the accompanying pamphlet A Call To the Future, actually do articulate a remarkably clear… Keep reading →

Reaping the Benefits of a Global Defense Industry

Greg Sanders CSIS photo

  As the Defense Department’s budget goes down, the number of contracts awarded without competitive bids is going up. The share of contracts awarded without competition has risen from 39 percent in 2009 to 42 percent in 2012, according to a report I co-authored with Jesse Ellman and Rhys McCormick on DoD Contracting Trends. The news for… Keep reading →

Rep Doug Lamborn Colorado

Colorado Republican Doug Lamborn is a fervent advocate for US aid to Israel’s missile defense programs, especially the celebrated Iron Dome. In this op-ed, the House Armed Services Committee member argues that such technologies are just one part of a larger strategy for the survival of Israel: living with perennial threats by regularly cutting them back — often… Keep reading →

The amphibious ship USS San Antonio, LPD-17.

CAPITOL HILL: Sometimes $800 million is not enough. Congress really, really wants the Navy to buy a 12th San Antonio­-class amphibious warship. The Marine Corps really, really wants the ship, which would be designated LPD-28. And of course shipbuilder Huntington-Ingalls really, really wants the contract, which would help fill a multi-year gap in amphib construction.… Keep reading →

Brad Carson, Under Secretary of the Army, talks to solders in Afghanistan.

WASHINGTON: This hurts us more than it hurts you. That’s the essence of the regular Army’s message to the National Guard about the Aviation Restructure Initiative (ARI), a controversial cost-cutting plan that — among other things – strips the Guard of all its AH-64 Apache attack helicopters. Pain is on its way for all of… Keep reading →

Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work (center) settles in for a brutal hearing, flanked by Adm. James Winnefeld (left) and comptroller Mike McCord (right).

CAPITOL HILL: It was a bad day to be Bob Work. At his first public hearing before Congress as Deputy Secretary of Defense, Work received a bipartisan battering from a House Armed Services Committee deeply dissatisfied with the administration’s $58.6 billion request for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) funding. At issue was not the $53.7 billion… Keep reading →

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WASHINGTON: The chairman of the House Armed Services readiness subcommittee, Rep. Rob Wittman, is strikingly optimistic about the chances for consummating the so-called grand bargain and ending the automatic budget cuts known as sequestration. When I buttonholed him after a Tuesday Defense Writers’ Group breakfast, Wittman went so far as to say that “I think there’s… Keep reading →

Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James

FARNBOROUGH AIR SHOW: Deborah Lee James had been in office a very short time when she learned of a crisis in the Air Force’s nuclear force and had to hold her first press conference as the service’s top civilian to discuss cheating and drugs. A tough start to a new job. She still faces a myriad… Keep reading →

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CAPITOL HILL: This morning’s Senate subcommittee mark-up of the annual defense spending bill meant good news and extra money for a host of interests, from upstart rocket-maker SpaceX to the giant Boeing company. On the bitterly contentious issue of the Army National Guard’s endangered Apache helicopter fleet, however, the Senate defense appropriations subcommittee put down a… Keep reading →

Defense Sec. Chuck Hagel jokes with reporters at Eglin Air Force Base. (The aircraft behind him is an F-35A).

Defense Secretaries always “try to get out of Washington and visit as many of our bases and talk to as many of our people” as they can, as Sec. Chuck Hagel said this week at Kings Bay submarine base in Georgia. But when you’re SecDef, you always take Washington with you. Physically, that means the… Keep reading →

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