Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
September 16, 2014

September 16, 2014

Video: Jetpack Makes Guy Run Fast

Vroom vroom. Arizona State University has teamed with the Pentagon on a project to help soldiers run faster while carrying heavy loads — in the case of this jetpack, it adds 11 pounds but shaves off seconds — with the goal of running a four-minute mile. Full story

September 15, 2014

IG: Missile Defense Agency Could’ve Saved Millions on Contract, Didn’t

1474748 445x296 IG: Missile Defense Agency Couldve Saved Millions on Contract, Didnt

(FILE PHOTO) An unarmed Minuteman II intercontinental ballistic missile launches from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. (USAF/Getty Images)

[Updated Sept. 16, 11:03 a.m.] If only the Missile Defense Agency had taken a look at some audits, it could’ve saved millions of dollars on a $1 billion contract, according to a Defense Department inspector general report released Monday. Full story

By Tim Starks Posted at 3:21 p.m.
Budget, Procurement

Presidential Politics and Defense, ISIS Hearings in the Week Ahead

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Rubio, July 9. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The first order of business this week on the Hill is passing a stopgap spending bill, which is of course of interest to the defense and national security world. You could also throw a rock and hit any given Iran nuclear event in D.C., so we’ll mostly focus on other things… Full story

September 12, 2014

ISIS and Twitter

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McKeon delivers an address during a National Press Club luncheon in February. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Islamic State terrorist group will have no safe haven if they threaten America, President Obama said in address to the nation on Wednesday night.

But they have been threatening America, in particular by using social media. Full story

Event: National Security in the 2014 Elections, Then After

image001 445x148 Event: National Security in the 2014 Elections, Then After

There’s an event coming up here in Washington, D.C. that CQ Roll Call is co-hosting with Just Security, the excellent blog about national security law that Five By Five has been quoting almost literally since day one. The event is on Sept. 22 and it’s about the role national security is playing in the elections, then what the post-election picture looks like for Congress and national security.

Full story

September 11, 2014

9/11 Political Commercials

There is a fresh pair of 2014 election season ads up that are tied to Sept. 11.  One has already endured some backlash. Full story

Rhetoric Aside, Signs of Bipartisanship After Obama ISIS Speech

portman 273 042914 445x296 Rhetoric Aside, Signs of Bipartisanship After Obama ISIS Speech

Portman. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

If you were just judging by the tone of the GOP response to Barack Obama’s speech Wednesday night about the terrorist group that calls itself the Islamic State, you might get the impression that Republicans were on very opposite pages with the Democratic president.

Look a little closer and you’ll see some similarities. Full story

#ThrowbackThursday: the Red Baron

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Manfred von Richthofen, former President of the German Sport Federation and nephew of the Red Baron himself, attends the “Der Rote Baron” premiere in 2008 in Berlin. (Andreas Rentz/Getty Images)

Wired just had an interesting piece on the Red Baron and how the aircraft most famously associated with him is a ripoff of a British plane. It’s well worth reading, and a reminder about the power of stolen military technology — in the analog age, it enabled one of history’s most famous warriors, and in the digital age we’re only beginning to grasp what the effects of cyber theft might be.

It’s also an excuse to talk about the Red Baron, real name Manfred von Richthofen, on Throwback Thursday. Here are some random facts! Full story

September 10, 2014

Effective Middle East Coalition Against ISIS No Given for Obama

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President of Iraq Fuad Masum (R) greets U,S. Secretary of State John Kerry (L) before a meeting in Wednesday in Baghdad. Kerry is visiting Iraq where he will meet with leaders, including new Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, to talk about the threat presented by ISIS and other issues. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)

Ahead of President Obama’s big speech Wednesday evening on his plans for combatting the terrorist group commonly known as ISIS, CQ Roll Call’s Jonathan Broder spoke with a number of experts about the United States teaming up with Middle Eastern countries. They told him: It’s complicated. Full story

Brain-Controlled Drone? Yes, Brain-Controlled Drone

Freaky: The Department of Defense has awarded a research contract to the University of Texas at San Antonio for brain-controlled drone research. Sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction.

Full story

September 9, 2014

Early Reviews, Clip of ‘Good Kill,’ First Major Film on U.S. Drone Strikes

Hollywood and the Pentagon might work symbiotically on some films, but “Good Kill,” a movie about about U.S. drone policy directed by Andrew Niccol and starring Ethan Hawke and January Jones, isn’t one of them. This clip hints at why.

Said Jones: “The fact that it even got financed was a miracle,” she told The Hollywood Reporter. “When production went to ask for [Department of Defense] support, they very respectfully declined. They didn’t know if they wanted to lend their support. They’re just confused themselves as how to talk about it, so we’ll talk for them.”

So how well is doing at the talking as it makes the rounds at various festivals? Full story

Armored Vehicles That Dodge, Duck, Dip, Dive and Dodge

The above newly-released video is what the Defense Department’s futuristic technology shop hopes to see among the potential approaches to its Ground X-Vehicle Technology. The idea would be to use the rules of “Dodgeball” as spelled out by Patches O’Houlihan: dodge, duck, dip, dive and… dodge. Full story

By Tim Starks Posted at 11:35 a.m.

Benghazi, Judiciary Chairmen File Bill to Block Libyan Pilot Training in U.S.

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Gowdy speaks with the media on the East Front of the Capitol after a vote in the House, July 31. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A group of Republican House members — including the head of the special Benghazi investigative committee and the chairman of the Judiciary Committee — are now pushing legislation that would block the Obama administration from lifting a ban on Libyans training at U.S. flight schools, or receiving training in nuclear science.

Their objection: Libya is getting worse security-wise, so maybe the timing of the Department of Homeland Security’s regulatory change is poor. Full story

September 8, 2014

The Problem With Congressional Authorization of Military Force

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Nelson waits for the start of a May 6 Finance Committee hearing. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Congress is wrestling with its role in authorizing military action in Iraq, Syria and overall. And it’s not that it doesn’t matter. It’s just that it might not make a difference — at least not soon. Full story

Security Clearance Contractor USIS Rebuffs Edward Snowden Attack (and More)

452723352 445x586 Security Clearance Contractor USIS Rebuffs Edward Snowden Attack (and More)

A man holds up a placard during a protest march outside the American NSA facility “Dagger Complex” in Griesheim near Darmstadt, central Germany on July 26. (Boris Roessler/AFP/Getty Images)

USIS, the biggest federal contractor for background checks for security clearances, had to be happy to get a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services contract worth $190 million recently, because the company had been on a bad news streak. All the contract seemed to do, though, was give ammunition to its critics — including a chorus of them from Capitol Hill — prompting USIS to issue a “myth vs. fact” declaration Monday. Full story

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