Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
January 25, 2015

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.

January 22, 2015

Congress on Yemen

Ellison in a file photo. (Tom WIlliams/CQ Roll Call)

Ellison in a file photo. (Tom WIlliams/CQ Roll Call)

Things have settled down, at least for now, after Houthi rebels reached an agreement with Yemen’s president, Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi. Here’s what some lawmakers said about the situation in recent days, across a range of political spectrums: Full story

By Tim Starks Posted at 11:17 a.m.
Foreign Policy, Marines

January 21, 2015

Lindsey Graham Proposes Iran ‘Alternative’

Graham in June of last year. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Graham in June of last year. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

CQ Roll Call’s Niels Lesniewski passed along this offer from Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., over Iranian nuclear negotiations and legislation expected to move next week that would propose new sanctions on Tehran (which President Obama mentioned in his State of the Union address that he he would veto): Full story

By Tim Starks Posted at 11:19 a.m.
Foreign Policy

Tim Kaine Wanted More From State of the Union on War Authorization

We touched on it a bit earlier, how President Obama in his State of the Union address called for a war authorization to fight the Islamic State group, but didn’t specify what the war authorization should say. Here’s Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., a leading thinker and advocate in Congress on the topic, with a fairly resounding condemnation of that portion of the speech:

“I’m pleased that President Obama addressed the need for Congress to pass an Authorization for Use of Military Force against ISIL but I am disappointed he did not signal an intention to send a draft to Congress for consideration. I was pleased the Senate Foreign Relations Committee acted last month. But Congress as a whole will be better prepared to act with specific guidance from the Administration on the language of an AUMF. I hope that guidance is forthcoming soon.  Five months of war has been far too long to make our servicemembers and their families wait for a political consensus on the scope of the U.S. mission. The President is right that as a nation, we are stronger when Congress and the President are united behind our mission. But additional delay — which I fear may be the case absent an administration draft — dishonors our servicemembers and further cements a dangerous precedent for the future.”

In Ernst GOP SOTU Response, No Security Disagreement

Ernst on Jan. 8. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Ernst on Jan. 8. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, said at the beginning of her official GOP response speech Tuesday night to the president’s State of the Union address, “Even if we may not always agree, it’s important to hear different points of view in this great country.” Then, on security, she proceeded to offer no different point of view from Barack Obama. Full story

January 20, 2015

Yemen Conflict Complicates U.S. Policy, Politics Picture

Members of the Houthi movementsit on a pick up truck mounted with a machine gun at a checkpoint in the Yemeni capital Sanaa on Jan. 18. (Mohammed Huwais/AFP/Getty Images)

Members of the Houthi movementsit on a pick up truck mounted with a machine gun at a checkpoint in the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, on Jan. 18. (Mohammed Huwais/AFP/Getty Images)

There are a couple major ways that the attack on Yemen’s presidential palace by Shia Houthi rebels causes problems for the Obama administration: Full story

The Pentagon Angle on Obama’s State of the Union Cybersecurity Pitch

McCaul and Thompson at a Sept., 2014 hearing. (Tom Williams, CQ Roll Call)

McCaul and Thompson at a Sept., 2014 hearing. (Tom Williams, CQ Roll Call)

The role of the Pentagon in President Obama‘s proposed cybersecurity legislation — expected to get the spotlight in Tuesday evening’s State of the Union speech — could decide its fate in Congress. Full story

By Tim Starks Posted at 10:06 a.m.
Cyber

Defense Intellligence, Health Care & Cyber in the Week Ahead

Scowcroft at a 2009 hearing. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

Scowcroft at a 2009 hearing. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

The big event of the week is the State of the Union, and we’ll surely provide coverage of the security ramifications thereof. Until then, here are some other things happening around Washington, D.C. Full story

January 16, 2015

Weekly Recap: Mac Thornberry, Cybersecurity, Butt Bomb

“American Sniper” is getting Oscar love and some scrutiny. Here at Five By Five this week, we scrutinized all the subjects in the headline and more. Let’s review what we wrote about, and what slipped through the cracks. Full story

Drone-Related Shortages Abound

Two months ago came news that there was a shortage of military drones. Thursday came news that there’s a shortage of drone pilots, too.

Per Deborah Lee James, secretary of the Air Force…

The number of Air Force pilots needed to fly a growing number of missions worldwide has not kept up with demand. There are currently 988 Predator and Reaper pilots, but the Air Force is supposed to have 244 more drone pilots, James said, and not as many new pilots are coming in annually to replace the 240 who leave the drone force each year.

“This is a force that is under significant stress from what is an unrelenting pace of operations,” said James.

Oh, and “the sensor operators, the maintenance teams and the intelligence analysts” who are part of the drone-related workforce are also under stress, according to the Pentagon.

Five By Five Friday Q&A: Sunjeev Bery, Amnesty International USA

SBery-photo-formal-suit - cropped 2The conflicts in Syria and Iraq have taken a humanitarian toll, with all sides playing a part in it.

Sunjeev Bery, advocacy director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International USA, spoke with Five By Five about some of those humanitarian costs and what can be done about them. Full story

By Tim Starks Posted at 7 a.m.
War

January 15, 2015

Father of Alleged U.S. Capitol Terror Plotter Calls Him ‘Momma’s Boy’

Christopher Lee Cornell, arrested for an alleged plot to attack the Capitol, is a “momma’s boy who never left the house,” according to his father, who made these remarks and others to the Cincinnati Enquirer:

“Everything you’re hearing in the media right now, they’ve already painted him as some kind of terrorist,” John Cornell said. … “They’ve painted him as some kind of jihadist. … (Christopher) is one of the most peace-loving people I know.”

By Tim Starks Posted at 12:04 p.m.
Terrorism

U-2 Spy Plane Lives — Again

A U.S. Air Force U-2 spy plane flies in this undated file photo. (USAF/Getty Images)

A U.S. Air Force U-2 spy plane flies in this undated file photo. (USAF/Getty Images)

The fate of the U-2 spy plane has flipped more often than an Anton Chigurh coin. Now, it looks like it’s back to having Obama administration support. Full story

Five More Guantanamo Detainees Transferred — Can GOP Stop Obama?

McCain and Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., conduct a news conference in the Senate studio on Guantanamo detainees, Jan. 13. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

McCain and Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., conduct a news conference in the Senate studio on Guantanamo detainees, Jan. 13. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Late Wednesday, the Pentagon announced the transfer of five more Guantanamo Bay Naval Base detainees, part of a stepped up pace by the Obama administration. The new all-GOP Congress, despite its desires, might not be able to act fast enough to prevent many more. Full story

By Tim Starks Posted at 7:51 a.m.
Navy

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