- Shaheen Barely Leads in New Hampshire
- Extra Bonus Quote of the Day
- Florida Gay Marriage Ban Ruled Unconstitutional
- Minnesota GOP Bans Its Own Candidate
- Rand Paul on a Mission in Guatemala
Posts in "Authorization"
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.
July 14, 2014
The American Civil Liberties Union and a national security law professor say that when the GOP-controlled House added an amendment to the annual defense spending bill to prevent overseas prisoner transfers from the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base — a response to the prisoner exchange for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl — it endorsed language that was unconstitutional. The amendment was offered by a tea party-aligned lawmaker who has vowed to fight unconstitutional laws.
It’s not true that the Guantanamo provision is unconstitutional, though, answer a pair of GOP aides, as a Senate panel prepares to vote on its own take on the fiscal 2015 defense spending bill Tuesday morning. Full story
June 27, 2014
Two members of Congress — Republican Reps. Frank Wolf and Mike Rogers — have tried to make moves this year toward creating a “cooling off” period for former diplomats and intelligence officials before they can take jobs with shady foreign governments. But there’s some mystery in both efforts. Full story
June 23, 2014
The schedule is too jam-packed to just highlight one or two events each day. Full story
June 20, 2014
Syrian rebels couldn’t get any shoulder-fired missiles from the United States under an amendment adopted Thursday night on the House floor. The House voted down another amendment that would block them from getting any U.S. weapons at all, however. Full story
June 19, 2014
At the beginning of 2012, the head of the National Guard Bureau joined the Joint Chiefs of Staff over the objections of top Pentagon brass, in a move that amounted to a coup for the National Guard’s profile. This January, he started getting the same level of continuous physical protection and security afforded to the other leaders with access to the nation’s most sensitive military secrets — after it took two years to get the application and paperwork completed. Full story
June 18, 2014
Everywhere Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James turns to cut her budget, Congress puts up a roadblock. Trying to get rid of the A-10: “So far it’s not gone over tremendously well,” she said. A proposal to shutter bases via the Base Realignment and Closure process: “I would give that zero probability of passing this year.” The notion of slicing aircraft here and there: “That hasn’t gone over very well either.”
It leaves James with few options of her own choosing, she told defense reporters at a breakfast Wednesday, along with some alternatives she doesn’t want — and a future she views as unrealistic. Full story
— Veterans Affairs (@DeptVetAffairs) June 16, 2014
On Monday, the Department of Veterans Affairs tweeted about saving the ocean. On Tuesday, Secretary of State John Kerry and Bill Nye “The Science Guy” had a Twitter discussion where Nye asked about awareness of climate change in Iran and Iraq. Both were greeted with outrage and sarcasm, sometimes all at once, about whether the VA, Iran and Iraq had bigger things to worry about, like a patient care scandal or the march of ISIL on Baghdad.
The backlash comes at an inconvenient policy moment for the case that there’s a strong connection between national security, foreign policy and climate change. Full story
June 16, 2014
The House is about to take up its annual bill for Defense spending. It’s a $491 billion measure, $570 billion if you count the war-related spending account, so there’s a lot of money to be scrutinized.
Some of the bill’s provisions take aim at withholding funds; some of the bill’s provisions increase funds for programs the Pentagon doesn’t want; and some provisions will be targeted for new cuts or increases when the bill comes to the floor. Full story
June 12, 2014
A group of senators, after receiving a classified briefing, got spooked that maybe the Pentagon wasn’t taking seriously enough the notion that other countries are starting to tailgate the U.S. military on technology. So now they’re ordering a study “to examine the potential specific challenges to U.S. military technological superiority within the next 10 years, and the specific planned responses by the Department of Defense (DOD) to meet these challenges.”
At the same time, the department’s basic research funding is in danger of dropping. Full story
June 10, 2014
Congress is going to look very closely as soon as next year’s defense policy bill at overhauling how the Defense Department spends its massive budget on hardware and services. On Tuesday, the department official tasked with generating recommendations for Capitol Hill hinted at what the Pentagon does and does not want. Full story
June 6, 2014
Republicans in Congress, and even some Democrats, have heard the Obama administration’s explanation for why it didn’t need to notify Congress 30 days in advance of the Guantánamo Bay Taliban prisoner swap for Bowe Bergdahl and found it lacking. The Senate Armed Services Committee has a briefing this coming Tuesday, and the House panel has a hearing the next day.
But what do the legal experts say?
June 4, 2014
Since 2001, the military has spent considerable time and effort figuring out how best to do combat in Middle Eastern climes and cities. Now, with the executive branch’s “Asia pivot,” the Senate Armed Services Committee wants the Department of Defense to refocus its attention on a different terrain: the jungle.