Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 2, 2015

January 30, 2015

Weekly Recap: White House Drone, Super Bowl Drones, Budget Red Zone

A Kurdish fighter walks with his child in the center of the Syrian border town of Kobane, known as Ain al-Arab, on Jan. 28. Kurdish forces recaptured the strategic town on the Turkish frontier in a symbolic blow for the jihadists who have seized swathes of territory in a brutal onslaught across Syria and Iraq. (Bulent Kilic/AFP/Getty Images)

A Kurdish fighter walks with his child in the center of the Syrian border town of Kobane, known as Ain al-Arab, on Jan. 28. Kurdish forces recaptured the strategic town on the Turkish frontier in a symbolic blow for the jihadists who have seized swathes of territory in a brutal onslaught across Syria and Iraq. (Bulent Kilic/AFP/Getty Images)

The re-taking of Kobani was one of the things we didn’t cover this week. It wasn’t alone. Let’s catch up on our hits and misses. Full story

Pentagon Hardware Budget Fights: Fiscal 2016 Forecast, Fiscal 2015 Review

We’ve seen enough of the fiscal 2016 budget plan for the Pentagon from the Obama administration to get a sense of where it comes down on some of the biggest-ticket hardware. Let’s review some of last year’s biggest fights, and where they might go this year. Full story

Top Defense Contractors Still Making Money, Mostly

An Indian Navy Boeing P-8I Poseidon anti-submarine warfare and maritime patrol aircraft (C) flies in formation with Indian Navy MiG-29K carrier-capable multirole fighter aircraft during a flypast for the country's Republic Day Parade in New Delhi on Jan. 26. (Tengku Bahar/AFP/Getty Images)

An Indian Navy Boeing P-8I Poseidon anti-submarine warfare and maritime patrol aircraft (C) flies in formation with Indian Navy MiG-29K carrier-capable multirole fighter aircraft during a flypast for the country’s Republic Day Parade in New Delhi on Jan. 26. (Tengku Bahar/AFP/Getty Images)

With year-end and fourth-quarter reports out for all the major defense contractors, it’s a mixed bag on how well they’re doing. Ultimately, they’re not doing so bad for what was supposed to be an era of decline. Full story

January 29, 2015

Security Takeaways From the Loretta Lynch Hearings

(Bill Clark/Roll Call)

(Bill Clark/Roll Call)

The transcripts of the Senate Judiciary nomination hearings for Loretta Lynch from Wednesday alone run 63,928 words. Although immigration has been the top issue the attorney general nominee has faced, she also has talked about torture, cybersecurity, surveillance and terrorism suspect detention in military vs. civilian courts.

Here are the highlights, with one of her answers in full: Full story

Military, Homeland Security Focuses of Obama Budget Pitch

Obama delivers the State of The Union address on Jan. 20. (Credit: Mandel Ngan / Pool)

Obama delivers the State of The Union address on Jan. 20. (Credit: Mandel Ngan / Pool)

Barack Obama is making defense and homeland security big parts of his pitch on the budget when he speaks to House Democrats Thursday at their retreat in Philadelphia. Full story

Fiscal 2016 Budget Preview: Intelligence

Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., greets Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond Odiernoa, before a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing titled "Impact of the Budget Control Act of 2011 and Sequestration on National Security" on Wednesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., greets Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond Odiernoa, before a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing titled “Impact of the Budget Control Act of 2011 and Sequestration on National Security” on Wednesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

We haven’t seen as much leg on President Obama‘s fiscal 2016 intelligence budget proposal as we have on his defense budget, but then, we hardly ever see much of that classified spy agency spending. We do know a few things, however. Full story

January 28, 2015

Big Pentagon Budget Details Leak

U.S. aircraft carrier USS George Washington sits at anchor in Busan port on July 11, 2014 in Busan, South Korea. (Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

U.S. aircraft carrier U.S.S. George Washington sits at anchor in Busan port on July 11, 2014 in Busan, South Korea. (Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

CQ.com had the scoop on the big picture Pentagon budget proposal figures for fiscal 2016. Now the floodgates are open. Full story

Military Technology, Enforcement: Answer to White House Drone?

(via U.S. Secret Service)

(via U.S. Secret Service)

This week, a drone landed on the White House lawn thanks to a reportedly drunken pilot, causing a mild security panic. It got President Obama himself talking about the need to regulate drones in civilian airspace. And most everybody agrees that the behind-schedule Federal Aviation Administration regulations in the works would at least clarify some things, if the lawn crash doesn’t slow them down even more. But it might not be the best answer to the security threat posed by civilian drones. Full story

January 27, 2015

Iraq/Afghanistan, Drone Contractors Penalized for Alleged Misbehavior

A man walks past Composite Engineering Inc.'s BQM-167A, a remote controlled aerial target used for air-to-air tests,  at the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) annual show in Washington, D.C. in 2011. (Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images)

A man walks past Composite Engineering Inc.’s BQM-167A, a remote controlled aerial target used for air-to-air tests, at the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) annual show in Washington, D.C. in 2011. (Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images)

A pair of national security contractors are taking some serious financial heat from the federal government over some alleged misbehavior. Full story

John McCain on Those Soaring Hawks

“The situation in the world has obviously changed American public opinion dramatically, so I think that also bolsters us. Our base has broadened dramatically.”

— Armed Services Chairman John McCain, R-Ariz., in Megan Scully‘s CQ Weekly cover story ($) on how McCain is positioned as a defense hawk in his caucus and the Senate overall (McCain prefers the term “internationalist” to “hawk,” FWIW)

By Tim Starks Posted at 7:06 a.m.
War

January 26, 2015

Assessing the United States-India Defense Agreements

Obama stands for the U.S. National Anthem during the official welcome ceremony for his arrival at the Presidential Palace in the Indian capital New Delhi on Jan. 25. (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

Obama stands for the U.S. National Anthem during the official welcome ceremony for his arrival at the Presidential Palace in the Indian capital New Delhi on Jan. 25. (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

The United States-India defense agreements announced over the weekend as part of President Obama‘s trip are already being hailed as a big deal. Full story

Acquisition Overhaul, Benghazi, Bobby Three Sticks in the Week Ahead

Mueller (aka "Bobby Three Sticks); Director of National Intelligence James Clapper; and CIA Director Brennan testify at a House Intelligence hearing in 2013. ( Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)

Mueller (aka “Bobby Three Sticks”); Director of National Intelligence James Clapper; and CIA Director Brennan testify at a House Intelligence hearing in 2013. ( Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)

Busy, busy week. Full story

Weekly Recap: Yemen, Syria, Saudi Arabia

  • State of the Union. We wrote many, many things about the State of the Union address. One was a more in-depth exploration of the Pentagon’s role in cybersecurity legislation.
  • Yemen. Yemen was thrust into turmoil last week. We warned you early that it would be a big deal for the United States if there was a coup, and brought you a variety of congressional perspectives just before everything fell apart.
  • India. There are some very significant ramifications for the U.S. defense industry to President Obama‘s trip to India; read our interview with the Wilson Center’s Michael Kugelman for what they are.
  • CQ.com. Subscribers got a glimpse into House Armed Services Chairman Mac Thornberry‘s (R-Texas) thinking on ground troops in Syria and minimizing Pentagon budget woes. They also read about foreshadowing for the fight over the House GOP border security plan. And CQ.com had a story on movement for a veterans suicide prevention bill.
  • Elsewhere. The death of Saudi King Abdullah must be mentioned, although it looks like it won’t change much geopolitically. Japan might’ve botched its handling of the Islamic State group kidnapping. Iran sanctions legislation had a rough week. And Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu‘s trip to the United States in March has gotten awkward.

January 23, 2015

Friday Five By Five Q&A: Michael Kugelman on the Obama India Trip

michael-KugelmanThis weekend, President Obama leaves for a major trip to India, following on new Indian President Narendra Modi‘s successful trip to the United States.

Michael Kugelman is the senior program associate for South and Southeast Asia at the Woodrow Wilson Center. He spoke with Five By Five about the defense and security implications of the Obama India trip. Full story

About That ‘Scary’ ‘Terminator’ DARPA Robot

Surely the Terminator had to crawl before he could walk, then stalk, Sarah Connor. But some of the fears about the new “scarier” robot prototype for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s Robotics Challenge seem a bit overblown based on the video above, released this week.

That Boston Dynamics donkey is creepier. Honda’s Asimo, sure. And these emoting humanoid baby robots, absolutely.

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