sequestration

Capitol Dome 6080048121_00bf30d50e_b

Despite concurrent crises in Ukraine and Iraq, defense issues will hardly decide the November elections — but the outcome of those elections will prove decisive for defense. The top candidates for the chairmanship of the House Armed Services Committee both told me that they have their fingers crossed for a GOP takeover of the Senate… Keep reading →

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[UPDATED with Hagel, Shaffer comments] NATIONAL PRESS CLUB: The four armed services only submitted their draft 2016 budgets to the Office of the Secretary of Defense “basically yesterday,” Undersecretary Frank Kendall said this morning — and he’s already “concerned.” As the Pentagon’s top weapons buyer, Kendall sees worrying signs. With the automatic budget cuts known as… Keep reading →

uscapitoleast

WASHINGTON: Summer is done. Elections loom. Senators and representatives spent August wining and dining donors and kissing babies in pursuit of a job. In the next few days most of Capitol Hill’s workforce will return from the summer recess and most efforts will be focused on winning reelection and ensuring the primacy of whichever tribe one… Keep reading →

Rep. Randy Forbes.

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 →

lockheed boeing long range strike bomber

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 →

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 →

Gen. William Shelton, commander of US Air Force Space Command.

WASHINGTON: Watch the skies. While they’re far from falling, the head of Air Force Space Command said today, the heavens aren’t the “peaceful sanctuary” they once were, either. Nothing short of a nuclear missile could pull the plug on a satellite constellation as robust as the Global Positioning System (GPS), Gen. William Shelton said, semi-reassuringly.… 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 →

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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