Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
January 28, 2015

Posts by Tim Starks

353 Posts

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.

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

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