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December 22, 2014

Posts in "Budget"

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

Weekly Recap: Torture Report Times Infinity, Laser Cannon, ISIS

It was a bonkers week in the national security world. We had the Senate Intelligence Committee report on Bush administration-era detention and interrogation practices dominating the news to such a degree that the mammoth “cromnibus” spending bill for the Defense Department and other agencies was overshadowed. Even a video of a real life laser cannon – a laser cannon!!!! – couldn’t steal much of the spotlight. Full story

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 9, 2014

Pentagon Contractor, Subsidiaries Hit With $434 Million in Fines

For $48 million worth of fraud on a contract to provide food and water to troops in Afghanistan, Supreme Group B.V. and its subsidiaries are paying $434 million in criminal and civil fines. Full story

December 8, 2014

Arms Control, Human Rights, Afghanistan in the Week Ahead

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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 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

Not Enough Drones? And Are More Coming, Or Not?

457656304 Not Enough Drones? And Are More Coming, Or Not?

A drone flies over Kobani, as seen from near the Mursitpinar crossing on the Turkish-Syrian border Oct. 22. (Gokhan Sahin/Getty Images)

According to one story, there might be a military drone “shortage.” And the recently announced Pentagon “offset strategy” suggests an increased reliance on them in the future. But also, there might not be enough money or political will for them. Full story

By Tim Starks Posted at 2:30 p.m.
Budget, Drones, War

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

November 10, 2014

The Week Ahead: Congress Returns, Veterans Day

187711865 445x295 The Week Ahead: Congress Returns, Veterans Day

A female member of the U.S. Army takes part in the 94th annual New York City Veterans Day Parade on 5th Avenue on Nov. 11, 2013 in New York City. (Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)

Congress is back in town, with plans to needle administration officials over Ebola and ISIS. Bruce Springsteen will be in town, too, for a Veterans Day concert. Full story

November 5, 2014

Election Reaction From Defense Industry, Other Countries, Intel World

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Mark Udall is interviewed by Roll Call outside of a Denver Rustlers event in Greenwood Village, Colo., on Aug. 26 (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

We already have talked about how the 2014 elections will reshape the legislative agenda on foreign affairs and national security. But the elections will also affect things in subtler ways, as reaction from around the defense, intelligence and foreign policy communities show. Full story

How a GOP Senate Transforms the Defense, Homeland Security and Foreign Policy Agendas

KYPOL14 151 110414 445x296 How a GOP Senate Transforms the Defense, Homeland Security and Foreign Policy Agendas

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. – now in position to become Majority Leader – raises hands with top aide Josh Holmes, during a party for Kentucky Republicans in Louisville, Ky., Nov, 4. McConnell defeated Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

[Updated 1:56 p.m.] It was a big Tuesday night for Republicans, big enough to take control of the Senate. That’s going to have a big impact on the national security and foreign policy agendas. Full story

October 31, 2014

Weekly Recap: Obama National Security Team in Turmoil, ISIS Fight Rolls On

It was an eventful week before the midterm elections, both around the globe and within the United States’ borders. Here’s some of what we covered, and some of what you might have missed elsewhere.

  • Important. We wrote about how ISIS continues to evolve as an organization, as well as how the cost of the war against the group is rising.  We also wrote about how anonymous administration officials keep shooting Democrats in the foot at exactly the time when they need it least.
  • Neat. We provided video of a super soldier suit, plus video of a ride in a U-2 cockpit.
  • Inside the Building. Technocrat had a talk with Chris Calabrese of the Center for Democracy and Technology about the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act, and dipped into how Orbital Sciences’ rocket explosion could impact military rocket procurement. The Container ran a number of items about airline security.
  • Outside the Building. The New York Times had a splashy story about the Obama administration’s national security and foreign policy team being under duress, filled with anecdotes that generated headlines in and of themselves. One of those was about Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel taking issue with the White House on Syria policy, which the Los Angeles Times then expounded upon in their own piece.

October 22, 2014

Coburn Wastebook: Iron Man Suit, FEMA Golf Courses, Navy Magazines

coburn 067 011414 445x279 Coburn Wastebook: Iron Man Suit, FEMA Golf Courses, Navy Magazines

Sen. Tom Coburn on Jan. 14. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Retiring Sen. Tom Coburn (@tomcoburn) is out with his final edition of his annual Wastebook of government spending, and besides the massages for rabbits and money to watch grass grow, a variety of Defense Department projects and other national security-related programs get the Oklahoma Republican’s sardonic smack. Full story

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