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December 20, 2014

Posts in "Authorization"

December 19, 2014

Five By Five Friday Q&A: Arnold Punaro, NDIA

bio punaro hires 220x330 Five By Five Friday Q&A: Arnold Punaro, NDIARet. Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Arnold L. Punaro is the chairman of the National Defense Industrial Association, as well as CEO of the Punaro Group. He’s also a former long-time Hill staffer.

With Congress wrapping up its work this week, Five By Five spoke with him for the industry perspective on what Congress did this year, what it didn’t do and what it might do next. (The interview is edited slightly for clarity and length.) Full story

December 15, 2014

National Security Work Done, and Still Undone, in Congressional Stretch Run

It’s been an exceptionally hectic stretch run for Congress. For such an unproductive 113th session, a great deal has sped up as the finish line nears, likely this week. Here’s a rundown of what’s happened on the national security and foreign policy fronts, and some of what still hasn’t happened, with links to ($) stories. Full story

December 12, 2014

Exclusive: Dollar Amounts and Conditions on Syrian Rebel Funding

460184122 445x250 Exclusive: Dollar Amounts and Conditions on Syrian Rebel Funding

Syrian youths take part in their last training on Dec. 8 before being sent to the frontline along with rebel fighters from the Jaysh al-Islam brigades (Army of Islam) in Eastern al-Ghouta, a rebel-held region outside the capital Damascus. (Abd Doumany/AFP/Getty Images)

John M. Donnelly has a scoop up for subscribers about Congress approving $721 million for Syrian rebels in two swoops.

Under a reprogramming request, Donnelly writes, the administration would get $220.5 million for the cause. And the big spending bill referred to as the cromnibus provides $500 million.

A couple passages from his story:

The $220.5 million will be used for training the first two classes of 300 recruits, with an annual goal of 5,400 fighters, according to the Pentagon comptroller’s request…

The $500 million can only be spent if certain conditions are met, the bill says. It cannot be used to supply shoulder-fired missiles, which many lawmakers worry could end up in the hands of insurgents who might use them to shoot down military planes or even civilian passenger jets.

What’s more, the bill says, the Syrian recruits cannot be associated with any of several named militant groups. And, the appropriators wrote, the provision is not “a specific statutory authorization for the introduction of the United States Armed Forces into hostilities or into situations wherein hostilities are clearly indicated by the circumstances. . . .”

The full story goes into much greater depth about where the money comes from and where it’s going. What’s more, Donnelly has details on what the impact of the funding is likely (or unlikely) to be.

December 8, 2014

Arms Control, Human Rights, Afghanistan in the Week Ahead

armed services013 060513 445x293 Arms Control, Human Rights, Afghanistan in the Week Ahead

Kilmer attends a House Armed Services Committee markup of the fiscal 2014 defense authorization bill in 2013. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Congressional votes on Defense spending and policy bills are expected this week. Wait! That’s not all! Full story

December 5, 2014

Weekly Recap: SecDef, Defauth, Diamond Dave

There were two obviously major storylines this week: A new Defense secretary is on the way, and the fiscal 2015 defense policy bill hit the streets. There were plenty of other stories elsewhere, too. Full story

December 4, 2014

Defense Commissaries Get a Few Tweaks in Policy Bill

Coming to a Defense Department commissary near you soon, maybe: generic products. On their way out: discounted tobacco and $100 million. Full story

December 3, 2014

Adam Smith Warns That Congress Is Punting, Dangerously, on Defense Cuts

smith 207 091614 445x296 Adam Smith Warns That Congress Is Punting, Dangerously, on Defense Cuts

Smith on Sept. 16. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Amid the buzzsaw of news stories at, here and elsewhere about specific parts of the newly completed fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill, this big picture take might have been overlooked: The top Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee is sounding the alarm that Congress is playing a risky game with weapons systems, other cost savings and the budget under current law. Full story

November 21, 2014

Weekly Recap: F-35, Iraq Weapons, Congress, Uber

Let’s review the week that was. Would you say we would be venturing into a zone of danger? The zone will be one of danger. Full story

November 18, 2014

Military Benefits Feud Holds Up Defense Policy Bill

A dispute over military benefits is complicating efforts to complete a fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill, one of the big ticket items of the lame-duck congressional session currently underway.

Per Megan Scully (@CQMeganScully), writing for subscribers Tuesday on talks between the House and Senate Armed Services panel:

Committee leaders had hoped to finalize the negotiated bill early this week, but they have reached an impasse over differences in the two measures on cost-saving Pentagon proposals to increase some TRICARE pharmacy co-pays and reduce the basic housing allowance for military personnel.

The House basically said “no” to those proposals and the Senate basically said “yes.” You’ll have to read the full story for the details on how this all might be resolved. There’s still hope, though, according to the negotiators.

November 14, 2014

Weekly Recap: Syrian Rebel Vetting, Defense Bills, Veterans

The video will make sense shortly. Here are some highlights from the week that was at Five By Five, and in reporting elsewhere. Full story

October 16, 2014

Shake-Ups Due on Congressional Defense Panels

shaheen 197 091614 445x296 Shake Ups Due on Congressional Defense Panels

Shaheen in September. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Just like autumn leaves, the congressional defense panels are in for change. Megan Scully has an item today for’s subscribers on the CQ on Defense blog about how the Senate Armed Services Committee’s Democratic leadership is due for a shake-up of potentially monumental proportions. And they’re not the only faction. Full story

October 2, 2014

U-2: Here to Stay?

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Bono, in Italy in September, from the other U2. (Andreas Solaro/AFP/Getty Images)

I have a story up for CQ Weekly subscribers about the U-2 spy plane, which has endured for decades despite constant debates about its relevance — not unlike the band U2. Full story

September 26, 2014

Weekly Recap: ISIS, Qassem Suleimani & Eric Holder

Broadcast live streaming video on Ustream

Welcome to the new Weekly Recap, featuring highlights of Five By Five posts you may have missed as well as interesting reads from around the web. Full story

September 24, 2014

‘Bizarro World’ Indeed: Wall Street Journal Backs Obama on Syria, New York Times Doesn’t


Mark Dubowitz of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies isn’t wrong: He did wake up in Bizarro World. That said, the split between the editorial pages of the reliably liberal New York Times and reliably conservative Wall Street Journal over President Obama’s bombing campaign in Syria isn’t so much a simple “yes/no.” Full story

September 23, 2014

Sen. Tim Kaine: Congress Shouldn’t Allow Broader ISIS War Without Vote

“The president shouldn’t be doing this without Congress,” Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., said Tuesday of strikes against the Islamic State group, and “Congress shouldn’t be allowing it to happen without Congress.” Otherwise, Capitol Hill is embracing the policy of preemptive war favored by former Vice President Dick Cheney that it rejected back in 2001, right after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, he said at a Center for American Progress Action Fund event. Full story

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