Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
October 24, 2014

Posts in "Marines"

October 15, 2014

Chemical Weapons Might be Another Gift for Militants

The New York Times’ blockbuster story about how U.S. forces discovered chemical weapons in Iraq and suffered injuries due to chemical exposure — unbeknownst to the public — is almost sure to provoke congressional overseers of the armed forces and veterans’ affairs. But the story also contains some worrying information that has implications for future U.S. action against the militant group that calls itself the Islamic State or ISIL.

American troops found thousands of warheads after the 2003 invasion, and a large number remain in Iraq — in easy reach of ISIL, the Times reports. Many of the chemical incidents and discoveries took place around a chemical weapons plant known as the Muthanna State Establishment, which was operational in the 1980s.

“Since June, the compound has been held by the Islamic State, the world’s most radical and violent jihadist group,” the Times reported. “In a letter sent to the United Nations this summer, the Iraqi government said that about 2,500 corroded chemical rockets remained on the grounds, and that Iraqi officials had witnessed intruders looting equipment before militants shut down the surveillance cameras.”

The military contends those weapons are old and pose no threat, but the story notes that Iraqi chemical munitions have a habit of staying dangerous after their expiration dates.

The reporting could prove to be another black mark for the government of Nouri al-Maliki, prime minister until this year, that gave ISIL an advantage. The al-Maliki government was also in charge of maintaining the Iraqi armed forces that collapsed as ISIL advanced.

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October 10, 2014

Five By Five Friday Q&A: Dan Perez of America’s Impact

dan perez 240x224 Five By Five Friday Q&A: Dan Perez of Americas Impact

How foreign policy/national security is figuring into the midterm elections is something of a preoccupation around these parts. Dan Perez, executive director of America’s Impact, has his own interest in the matter — he’s part of an organization devoted to increasing the topic’s prominence in the 2014 races, and aiding Democrats on the subject.

This week, America’s Impact joined with several other similarly-minded groups as part of a “6 PAC” event to raise funds for a list of Democratic candidates, featuring Maryland Rep. Donna Edwards (@repdonnaedwards), who is heading up the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s “Red to Blue” program. Perez spoke with Five By Five about his group’s goals and how the 2014 elections have evolved with recent world events (and he just might’ve concluded with a less-than-subtle diss of John Bolton [@ambjohnbolton]). Full story

October 7, 2014

Northrop Grumman Pitches a Modernized Humvee

469168113 2 445x297 Northrop Grumman Pitches a Modernized Humvee

A military Humvee drives by as people cross 16th Street NW in front of the White House after a February winter storm. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)

Figuring out how to make U.S. military ground vehicles more maneuverable and cheaper while maintaining armor is a big dilemma these days. And the military has been, specifically, looking to upgrade the Humvee for a while. Northrop Grumman wants to tackle some of those issues, a company official said Tuesday, with a new Humvee chassis it plans to show off next week. Full story

September 29, 2014

White House Security Breach, Video Games/Future of Unknown Conflict in the Week Ahead

 

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A member of the Park Police keeps watch infront of the White House on Sept. 25. The Secret Service is reviewing new security measures inside and outside the White House fence after a man made it all the way inside the presidential mansion before being tackled. (Mandel NganAFP/Getty Images)

A handful of congressional panels are in action this week despite the prolonged recess, and naturally there’s some discussion of Iraq and Syria around Washington, D.C. Also, video games.

Full story

September 15, 2014

Presidential Politics and Defense, ISIS Hearings in the Week Ahead

rubio 157 070914 445x291 Presidential Politics and Defense, ISIS Hearings in the Week Ahead

Rubio, July 9. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The first order of business this week on the Hill is passing a stopgap spending bill, which is of course of interest to the defense and national security world. You could also throw a rock and hit any given Iran nuclear event in D.C., so we’ll mostly focus on other things… Full story

July 28, 2014

Africa, Korea, Gaza in the Week Ahead

With the United States-Africa Leaders Summit starting Aug. 4, there is a preponderance of events about the continent this week in advance. President Barack Obama himself will kick off some of the pre-Summit activities. Africa has been a growing national security concern, given events in Nigeria, Libya and elsewhere.

It’s also the last week Congress is in town for a while. The schedule is a bit ambiguous, but before everyone leaves, there could be action at various levels on a new secretary for the Department of Veterans Affairs; legislation addressing the VA’s health care backlog; a bill overhauling the National Security Agency’s bulk record collection programs; and declassification of a report on the Central Intelligence Agency’s interrogation and detention practices under President George W. Bush. Full story

July 21, 2014

Taxpayer Group Knocks Senate Defense Spending Bill

490421347 445x296 Taxpayer Group Knocks Senate Defense Spending Bill

Pilots in a EA-18G Growler complete a nighttime, touch-and-go landing during Field Carrier Landing Practice for the Carrier Air Wing 5 of U.S. Naval Air Facility Atsugi in Japan on May 14. (Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

Taxpayers for Common Sense found fault with the House’s fiscal 2015 Defense spending bill, and the group now has its share of gripes with the Senate’s $549.7 billion version, too, for spending money on programs the Defense Department doesn’t want and adding money beyond what the Obama administration requested. Full story

July 17, 2014

Gen. Dunford on What’s Different From Iraq to Afghanistan Withdrawal

armed hearing003 031214 445x299 Gen. Dunford on Whats Different From Iraq to Afghanistan Withdrawal

Dunford, commander of the International Security Assistance Force, testifies during a Senate Armed Services hearing in March on the situation in Afghanistan. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A nomination hearing Thursday for Gen. Joseph F. Dunford, Jr. to take command of the Marine Corps spent most of its time focusing on his current job as commander of NATO troops in Afghanistan. He backed the Afghanistan withdrawal plan as different from what happened in Iraq, where the Obama administration is encountering a lot of second guessing based on the chaos there — but he also gave some fuel to critics of the president’s plan in Afghanistan. Full story

By Tim Starks Posted at 11:13 a.m.
Marines, War

July 14, 2014

Killer Robots, Outer Space and Defense Spending Bill in Week Ahead

There are three hearings this week on the president’s war-related spending account budget request and two committee votes on the fiscal 2015 defense spending bill. But, yes, killer robots and outer space are also on the agenda. Full story

July 10, 2014

Some ‘Told You So,’ Some Uncertainty on the F-35

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This picture taken Oct. 28, 2013, shows a model of the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II during a press day of the Seoul International Aerospace and Defense Exhibition in Goyang. (Jung Yeon-Je/AFP/Getty Images)

A mysterious F-35 engine fire, the grounding of the fleet, a visit from Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel scheduled for Thursday and the resulting possible pullback from an international debut at a British air show have put the Joint Strike Fighter — the most expensive weapon system ever — in the, well, hot seat. Full story

July 1, 2014

Sway Moderate Sunni Tribes to Begin Iraq Victory, Paper Suggests

“There is no security without us,” Iraqi tribes are fond of saying, according to a paper released Tuesday by CNA Corp., a nonprofit research and analysis organization.

That’s a lesson the United States learned in turning back al-Qaida in Iraq and would be wise to heed again now that its successor, the Islamic State (aka ISIS aka ISIL), is gaining ground in the country, Patricio Asfura-Heim writes. Full story

By Tim Starks Posted at 2:06 p.m.
Marines, Terrorism, War

Future Military Helicopters Program to Slim Down One Way, Not Another, Leader Says

451550778 445x295 Future Military Helicopters Program to Slim Down One Way, Not Another, Leader Says

U.S. Army soldiers stand next to a Black Hawk helicopter during a military exercise near the town of Gjakova, Kosovo on July 1. (Armend Nimani/AFP/Getty Images)

In about a month, the number of designs moving forward for the technology demonstration program that’s associated with a long-term plan for replacing the current fleet of military helicopters will be pared down, a top program official said Tuesday. And he’s not worried about the rug being pulled out from underneath the program because of budget pressures. Full story

June 23, 2014

Cybersecurity, Drones and the Marines in the Week Ahead

The schedule is too jam-packed to just highlight one or two events each day. Full story

June 9, 2014

CENTCOM Doesn’t Know How to Shrink or Shift, Report Finds

U.S. Central Command, with a geographic region that encompasses hotspots like the Middle East, North Africa and Central and South Asia, has seen its number of regular personnel increase by nearly 70 percent since around the time of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

But with the war in Iraq over, the war in Afghanistan winding down and pressure from Pentagon leadership to reduce its headquarters spending, that figure and other CENTCOM-related funding is expected to shrink and move to another part of the budget. Only the Department of Defense isn’t ready for it, according to a Government Accountability Office report released Monday. Full story

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