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

Posts in "Navy"

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

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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

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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

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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

June 17, 2014

White House Pushes Back on Drive to Detain Benghazi Suspect at Gitmo

It’s a tale as old as time: From the moment a high-profile terrorist suspect is snagged, the partisan fight is renewed over whether terrorism suspects belong in the Guantanamo Bay detention facility in Cuba. It happened Tuesday, too, with Republicans — among them potential presidential candidates Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz — calling for captured Benghazi attack plot suspect Abu Khatallah to be housed at Gitmo.

The White House released a lengthy statement pushing back against that argument Tuesday. Full story

June 16, 2014

Spending Bill Adds New Requirements on Guantanamo Transfer Notification

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Republican Texas Rep. Kay Granger, who chairs the Appropriations subcommittee that assigns foreign aid, leaves the House Republican Conference meeting at the Capitol Hill Club on May 20. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Under the House’s annual State Department and foreign aid spending bill, the executive branch would have to report to Congress five days after it made any arrangements with other countries to transfer Guantanamo Bay detainees — a response to the recent transfer of five Taliban prisoners to Qatar for Bowe Bergdahl. Full story

June 12, 2014

Pentagon Agency Rid Itself of 45 Football Fields’ Worth of Storage Space, Delivering Other Stuff Elsewhere

The Department of Defense has a lot of, well, stuff. With wars winding down and amid the push to reduce the U.S. budget, the agency in charge of supplying the military with commodities like food, clothing, fuel and more has been dramatically shrinking its inventory and all the things going along with it — like demolishing 45 football fields’ worth of warehouse space in the past couple years alone.

But the Defense Logistics Agency isn’t done shrinking yet, said its director, Navy Vice Adm. Mark Harnitchek, on Thursday. And it’s firmly in the middle of gearing up for the changing needs of the military, including in places like Africa and Asia. Full story

June 11, 2014

Doubts, Questions About Qatar Watching Over Transferred Taliban Prisoners

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Hagel prepares to testify before a House Armed Services Committee hearing on the Bergdahl prisoner exchange Wednesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

One member of Congress who has read the memorandum of understanding between the United States and Qatar to host the five ex-Guantanamo Taliban detainees isn’t convinced it’s up to snuff. One committee’s staff that has examined the three-page document found it “unremarkable” and had “no antennas raised in reading it.” And the administration is “confident” in Qatar’s ability and desire to watch over the Taliban members swapped for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.

But in two different hearings Wednesday, lawmakers had a number of questions about the memorandum, and administration officials tried to answer them  (although they were confined by the classified nature of the agreement). Full story

Paul Ryan: Rebuild Military, Stay in Afghanistan Longer, Develop Lasers

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Ryan walks by reporters outside of the House Republican Conference meeting in the basement of the Capitol on May 7. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Prospective GOP presidential candidate Rep. Paul D. Ryan offered up his vision Wednesday for the military and diplomacy, contrasting himself with President Barack Obama and perhaps some potential primary challengers. And in offering up that vision, he proposed some specific ideas for what the Defense Department ought to be doing. Full story

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