- McConnell Campaign Manager Quits Amid Scandal
- Obama Weighs Delay in Action on Immigration
- Judge Strikes Down Texas Abortion Law
- Neck-and-Neck in Arkansas
- Judge Dismisses McDaniel Challenge
August 30, 2014
On Friday, the Pakistani Army clarified their involvement in negotiations between two leading political parties, all in one simple tweet. But that doesn’t mean everything is settled in a democratic nation where the Army’s role in governing has sometimes been a source of complexity. Full story
August 26, 2014
A pair of senior senators on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee want President Barack Obama to come to Congress for authorization of any air strikes in Syria targeting the group popularly known as ISIS, which has made big gains in Iraq. Others? Not so interested in Congress getting involved. Full story
August 21, 2014
President Barack Obama sent a tough message after an American journalist was murdered by the extremist group, Islamic State (also known as ISIS or ISIL), but the actions that the administration will take in response to the murder, and the timeline for them, are still not fully known.
But what are his options? Many of them range from vague to unlikely.
August 20, 2014
As international menaces go, the Islamic State group has stolen headlines from Russia, but that doesn’t mean Vladimir Putin has gone away as a threat. But how much of a threat is he, and why? Full story
August 18, 2014
This is the slowest week event-wise of the August congressional recess so far, at least as it pertains to defense and national security. There are, however, a few items of note. Full story
August 15, 2014
With images of heavily armed police confronting protesters in Ferguson, Mo., sparking a national debate about police militarization, a campaign finance research organization has released a study showing how much defense industry money House members got before a June 19 vote that rejected Rep. Alan Grayson’s amendment to block military equipment transfers to local law enforcement. The organization, MapLight, found that those who voted against it got 73 percent more in defense industry donations than those who voted in favor.
But there are probably bigger reasons for the vote going the way it did. And the issue could come up again in Congress — Senate Armed Services Chairman Carl Levin, D-Mich., promised Friday to review the program before his committee’s fiscal 2015 defense policy bill comes to the floor; Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Ga., has put forward new legislation; and others are calling for hearings. So it’s worth reviewing the motivations for those votes.
August 13, 2014
When Iraq popped up this week as an issue in the Iowa Senate race between Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley and Republican Joni Ernst based on her comments about troop levels in recent years, it marked something rare: an occasion where a national security debate surfaced in the 2014 elections for purely national security reasons.
Despite a whole host of places around the globe where security is a rising topic in the news — Iraq, Syria, Gaza, Russia — defense and foreign policy has largely been on the sidelines in congressional races. Even when it has been debated, it has usually been for other reasons, such as how it reflects on President Barack Obama’s performance. But because of that, and more, national security could still play a role in the 2014 elections.
August 12, 2014
Legendary actor and comedian Robin Williams, who was found dead Monday from an apparent suicide, played an airman in “Good Morning Vietnam.” His connections to the military go beyond that, so much so that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and others have remarked upon his passing. Full story
August 11, 2014
It’s a week that’s heavy in the middle with defense and national security-related events. Full story
August 7, 2014
The Center for Responsive Politics is keeping a running tally of which companies and organizations are best represented among 2014 donors to federal candidate campaigns. The newest updated list counts six companies with significant defense or security business among the top 50. Full story
August 6, 2014
Just before Congress left for recess last week, it did something rare: It worked across the aisle to quickly clear legislation that filled what the Obama administration had declared an urgent need: authorization of 1,000 additional special visas to bring over Afghan citizens who helped the United States during the war there.
But the number of so-called Special Immigrant Visas only tell part of the story. The way they are processed has also raised questions.
Three years after the United States went to war in Afghanistan, an 18-year-old Afghan man who goes by the nickname “Outback” decided to become an interpreter for the U.S. Armed Forces. He had some insight into that world since his brother, Humayoun, 31, had started working as a translator in 2003. But neither of them expected to leave Afghanistan because of their jobs.
After receiving death threats for working with the U.S. military, Humayoun applied for a Special Immigrant Visa in 2006. He had to leave Kabul for his safety and changed his cell phone number numerous times. Gunmen shot dead his friend’s father inside his home. Humayoun eventually received his visa. Now Outback is trying to come to the United States, too — unsuccessfully so far.
The tale of these two siblings signifies one of the lesser-discussed casualties of a decade of war: how vulnerable are Afghan citizens who helped the United States , and how hard it has been for many of them to get protective assistance from the U.S. government. Full story
August 5, 2014
Syria and Iraq have spiraled out of control, and Libya feels like it could be next on the list, now that the United States and other countries have evacuated many of their diplomats and officials amid fighting between Islamists and those opposed to them. But the rest of the world doesn’t appear eager to intervene militarily in either Syria or Iraq, and any financial aid so far has been limited. So what could be done to help Libya, then? Full story
August 4, 2014
Programming note: Even during the August congressional recess, we’ll still be posting here at Five By Five, just maybe less each day than usual. Don’t let that stop you from visiting frequently. Full story
August 1, 2014
Say you’re trying to design a hypersonic plane. It will have to deal with shell temperatures of several thousands of degrees of steel-melting heat.
That’s where the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency plans to start — with an “outer aerodynamic shell for a hypersonic vehicle that would glide through the atmosphere” — in testing a new development concept for speeding up the deployment of new military materials into the field. Full story
The National Nuclear Security Administration dedicated $300 million from fiscal 2011 to fiscal 2013 for a space-based Nuclear Detonation Detection Program, used for, among other purposes, monitoring nuclear treaty compliance. (That’s kind of a hot issue with Russia right now.)