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Posts in "Homeland Security"
August 18, 2014
This is the slowest week event-wise of the August congressional recess so far, at least as it pertains to defense and national security. There are, however, a few items of note. Full story
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.
August 11, 2014
It’s a week that’s heavy in the middle with defense and national security-related events. Full story
July 30, 2014
“Top Gun,” a film about Navy pilots, did wonderful things for Air Force recruiting. Real-life submariners found “Crimson Tide” to be “laughable.” Those are just two of the anecdotes loading up this Al Jazeera America story on the collaboration between Hollywood and the Defense Department. Full story
July 25, 2014
July 23, 2014
A House GOP border task forces recommended Wednesday that the National Guard be deployed to the southern border in response to a surge of unaccompanied minors entering the country, the same week Texas Gov. Rick Perry announced plans to use the Guard for just that. Others are less sure it’s the right answer. Full story
July 21, 2014
There were two developments Monday meant to ensure visas for Afghans and Iraqis who helped the United States in wars in those countries: 1., the announcement of a lawsuit filed by an Iraqi who served as a translator but has been waiting more than two years on his visa; and 2. the introduction of a bipartisan bill to boost the number of Special Immigration Visas (SIVs) available to Afghan civilians who served in a similar role. Full story
By the reckoning of a new report by the left-leaning Center for New American Security, we screwed it up from the start when designing the architecture of digital computing — security just wasn’t drawn into those original blueprints. Now we have to live with it. The report, helmed by Richard Danzig, a former Navy secretary who currently serves as a member of the Defense Policy Board and The President’s Intelligence Advisory Board, makes recommendations on how. Full story
Former Army Staff Sgt. Ryan J. Pitts will be at the White House on Monday to receive a Medal of Honor from President Barack Obama. His story is both heroic and a tale of missteps by superiors, as he fought to fend off a wave of insurgents in Afghanistan in a patrol base in the bloody Battle of Wanat, all while badly wounded by shrapnel himself. Obama is awarding more Medals of Honor to Iraq and Afghanistan veterans than his predecessor, but the process has become slower.
The week’s offerings also include a confirmation hearing for a new leader at the Department of Veterans Affairs, a review of the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 Commission report and discussions on the cyber threat, the shape of U.S. Combatant Commands, Iraq and the Navy budget. Full story
July 18, 2014
Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., told the Washington Post Friday that, in the aftermath of the Malaysia Airlines MH17 disaster and with shoulder-fired missiles proliferating in places like Libya in Iraq, he would press the Federal Aviation Administration to install anti-missile defenses on commercial airliners.
It probably won’t be an easy sell. Right after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the idea had some real momentum. But it eventually suffered a long, slow death over cost, reliability and need. Full story
June 27, 2014
Rob Zitz has worked on national security for 35 years, 32 of them in the intelligence community, and now is a senior vice president at Leidos, the company that split last year with SAIC. It’s a top contractor for the Defense Department with nearly $6 billion in annual revenue.
Zitz spoke with Five By Five in an interview Friday about cybersecurity and the Department of Homeland Security. (Leidos has a number of prime contracts with DHS, some of which are related to cybersecurity, and Zitz is a former DHS official himself.) Here are some highlights: Full story
June 23, 2014
The schedule is too jam-packed to just highlight one or two events each day. 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
Wednesday’s hearing of the Senate Appropriations Defense Subcommittee was informative on a great many serious subjects. It also revealed that the United States isn’t prepared to take aggressive action against its looming menace to the north, according to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Full story
A New York Times story on the military giving equipment like grenade launchers and M-16s to local law enforcement caused a stir when the newspaper published it earlier this month. The American Civil Liberties Union has an ongoing project to detail such militarization.
On Wednesday evening, Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Fla., offered an amendment on the House floor to block military-to-police transfers of specific equipment. It didn’t make it very far. Full story