Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
October 22, 2014

Posts in "Navy"

October 10, 2014

Weekly Recap: Syria Air Strikes, Operation Blue Spoon, Hawk Vs. Drone

This week, we recap the subjects in the headline, plus some Guantanamo, some politics, some cybersecurity, some Iran and more. Full story

Curious Timing on This ‘Close Guantanamo’ Story, No?

493344533 445x296 Curious Timing on This Close Guantanamo Story, No?

Protesters demand the closure of the Guantanamo Bay detention center on May 23 in New York City. (Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

[Update at 3:18 p.m.: The White House has issued a denial of its reported plans.]

Writing of President Obama’s consideration of closing the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base detainee facility “by overriding a congressional ban on bringing detainees to the U.S..,” the Wall Street Journal on Friday added that “It would likely provoke a sharp reaction from lawmakers…”

There’s no “likely” about it: It definitely would, and the mere idea already has. And it has thrown red meat to the GOP in an election season when it already had plenty. One wonders why this came out now. Full story

By Tim Starks Posted at 1:02 p.m.
Navy, Terrorism

September 23, 2014

Watch the U.S. Strikes in Syria, Via Pentagon Videos

The Navy and U.S. Central Command have released multiple videos of Monday night’s strikes in Syria, and related footage. As always, the videos only present one side of the conflict, and in the way it chooses to show the military action. All descriptions are via the Pentagon, with some analytical links at the end.

Full story

By Tim Starks Posted at 3:42 p.m.
Navy, War

July 30, 2014

GAO: Littoral Combat Ship Too Fat

162936806 445x317 GAO: Littoral Combat Ship Too Fat

The littoral combat ship USS Freedom, LCS 1, departs San Diego Bay for deployment to the Asia-Pacific region last year in San Diego, Calif. (Christine Walker-Singh/U.S. Navy via Getty Images)

Moving from the construction phase into testing, it turns out the littoral combat ship has gotten too heavy, and that has slowed it down, according to the Government Accountability Office. Full story

By Tim Starks Posted at 2:24 p.m.
Navy, Procurement

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

Obama Adviser on Cybersecurity: Limit Cyber Capabilities, Regulate Sometimes

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

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

Medal of Honor Recipient Ryan Pitts, 9/11 Commission, VA Secretary in the Week Ahead

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

Russian RD-180 Not the Only Rocket Worry on Capitol Hill

Concerns over the Defense Department’s reliance on the Russian RD-180 rocket engine are just one aspect of the Senate’s worries about foreign-supplied rocket propulsion methods and instances where the Pentagon is counting on one vendor. In a report on the fiscal 2015 defense spending bill the Appropriations Committee approved Thursday, the panel expresses dismay about the overall state of the United States’ ability to produce rocket motors and the department’s tendency to award sole-source contracts. Full story

July 14, 2014

Constitutionality Debate Over Guantanamo Provision Sets Up House-Senate Fight

495393297 445x296 Constitutionality Debate Over Guantanamo Provision Sets Up House Senate Fight

A sign showing support for Bergdahl sits along Main Street in Hailey, Idaho, on June 2. He was released from captivity on May 31 in exchange for the freedom of five Taliban prisoners being held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

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

July 8, 2014

How the Defense Industry Might Become More Like the Automobile Industry

495261817 2 445x296 How the Defense Industry Might Become More Like the Automobile Industry

LEIPZIG, Germany: The future of the defense industry? The new Honda Civic Type R Concept at the 2014 AMI Auto Show on May 30. (Jens Schlueter/Getty Images)

William J. Lynn III, the former No. 2 man at the Defense Department, compares the state of the defense industry to the car business from the late 1970s to the early 1980s. “It was basically unpatriotic to drive a European or an Asian car,” he said Tuesday. “Look what’s happened now. Of the top 10 most American-made cars now, five have foreign name plates.” Full story

July 1, 2014

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

Insert ‘War of Fog’ Joke Here

In Neal Stephenson’s nanotech-oriented novel The Diamond Age, microscopic “mite” robots are everywhere, sometimes forming clouds and waging war among themselves. That 1995 book was set in a relatively distant future; in 2014, the scale of warfare involving clouds isn’t quite so tiny.

Full story

June 20, 2014

White House Releases Plan for Fighting Sea (Rather Than Internet) Piracy

Type “piracy” into Google News and you’re more likely to get stories back about people stealing episodes of “Game of Thrones” than you are about the sea scourge that led to the film “Captain Phillips.” Perhaps that’s because, after a resurgence, sea piracy is on the wane, down to its lowest levels since 2006.

Nonetheless, as of Friday, there’s a White House plan for it, and the Department of Defense has a role. Full story

By Tim Starks Posted at 4:30 p.m.
Foreign Policy, Navy

June 18, 2014

Exhibit: When Guantanamo Wasn’t Always So Controversial, and Its Present and Future

Courtesy Alex Macleod Devil Pups Company Competition GITMO 1980 copy 445x296 Exhibit: When Guantanamo Wasnt Always So Controversial, and Its Present and Future

Courtesy Alex Macleod, 1980

For a younger generation that became aware of the word “Guantanamo” only after the naval base’s prison turned internationally infamous and politically divisive in Congress, the images of earlier times at the island Navy facility are jarring: children playing tug of war, or jumping rope.

Those images and others — some jarring in other ways — are coming to Rayburn House Office Building Monday, June 23 as part of a touring exhibit by the Guantanamo Public Memory Project. The exhibit is making its first trip to Washington, D.C., and for only one day at Rayburn, accompanied by a reception featuring people who have worked at the base, were detained at the base or who cover the base. Full story

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