Congress

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 →

Reaping the Benefits of a Global Defense Industry

The U.S. defense industry, being reshaped by declining post-war budgets, globalization, and the increased pace of technological change, must work with the Pentagon and take proactive steps to maintain our historic preeminence on the battlefield. Our industry does not easily embrace change. In fact, history demonstrates that shifts in the defense industry have largely been… 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 →

An Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine.

KINGS BAY NAVAL SUBMARINE BASE, GEORGIA: Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel came here Wednesday to celebrate the Navy’s nuclear deterrence force. But just 20 minutes in, a petty officer second class stood up in front of almost 200 of his comrades and pointed out the $95 billion elephant in the room: Can the Navy afford to… Keep reading →

An Ohio-class nuclear missile submarine (SSBN).

WASHINGTON: “Unsustainable.” That’s the Navy’s own official assessment of the spending rates required to keep the fleet large and modern enough to do its missions. For the service to state this in writing ratchets up not just the rhetoric but the likelihood of future budget battles in the Pentagon and on the Hill — especially… Keep reading →

Obama Holds News Conference On Debt Ceiling Talks At White House

WASHINGTON: President Barack Obama today outlined a careful commitment of US forces to Iraq, pledging to watch any “mission creep” as he sends an initial 300 special operations advisors to gauge the strengths, weaknesses and cohesiveness of Iraq’s security forces as they battle the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). The U.S., Obama… Keep reading →

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WASHINGTON: “Dear Congress: Please stop helping us. Sincerely, the Pentagon.” That’s a form letter the Defense Department might do well to buy in bulk. It’s not what every administration official thinks every time a legislator comes up with an unsolicited bright idea, but when it comes to the thorny thicket of the military acquisition system, Congress’s… Keep reading →

Most Apache units, both active-duty and Guard, have spent the last decade operating in two-gunship teams like this one, not the larger formations required for conventional wars.

WASHINGTON: In the emotionally charged debate over the Army National Guard, the “don’t cut our Guard!” side has been much louder than the pro-cuts camp. That’s why it’s interesting to read this pretty low-key letter from Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel defending the cuts. The simple fact it’s Hagel’s signature on the letter speaks to the… Keep reading →

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