Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
October 26, 2014

Posts in "Personnel"

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

October 21, 2014

Backlash Against Leon Panetta, Robert Gates Over Memoirs

President Obama’s former Defense secretaries are coming under fire in light of their memoirs that criticize the commander-in-chief while he’s still in office. Full story

By Tim Starks Posted at 8:33 a.m.
Personnel

October 20, 2014

Video: John Oliver Shreds U.S. Over Afghan Translators on ‘Last Week Tonight’

On HBO’s “Last Week Tonight” Sunday, John Oliver ripped into the backlog of Afghan translators awaiting special U.S. visas. The deadly threats against those translators were the subject of what has become the defining trait of Oliver’s show: a 15-minute plus segment where he lays waste to one particular problem. Full story

October 16, 2014

Shake-Ups Due on Congressional Defense Panels

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Shaheen in September. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Just like autumn leaves, the congressional defense panels are in for change. Megan Scully has an item today for CQ.com’s subscribers on the CQ on Defense blog about how the Senate Armed Services Committee’s Democratic leadership is due for a shake-up of potentially monumental proportions. And they’re not the only faction. 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

August 13, 2014

Where National Security Is (and Mainly, Isn’t) in 2014 Elections

IA POL14 063 080714 445x296 Where National Security Is (and Mainly, Isnt) in 2014 Elections

Braley helps out on the grill in the Pork Tent at the 2014 Iowa State Fair in Des Moines, Aug. 7. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

When Iraq popped up this week as an issue in the Iowa Senate race between Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley and Republican Joni Ernst based on her comments about troop levels in recent years, it marked something rare: an occasion where a national security debate surfaced in the 2014 elections for purely national security reasons.

Despite a whole host of places around the globe where security is a rising topic in the news — Iraq, Syria, Gaza, Russia — defense and foreign policy has largely been on the sidelines in congressional races. Even when it has been debated, it has usually been  for other reasons, such as how it reflects on President Barack Obama’s performance. But because of that, and more, national security could still play a role in the 2014 elections.

Full story

August 7, 2014

Defense, Security Companies Among Top 2014 Campaign Donors

The Center for Responsive Politics is keeping a running tally of which companies and organizations are best represented among 2014 donors to federal candidate campaigns. The newest updated list counts six companies with significant defense or security business among the top 50. Full story

By Tim Starks Posted at 1:39 p.m.
Personnel

July 31, 2014

Defense Industry Funds Flow to Contenders for Key House Chairmanships

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Thornberry; Rep. Martha Roby, R-Ala.; Forbes; McKeon; and Turner speak at a news conference last year. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)

In politics, money flows to power. Apparently it flows to the potential for power, too.

Four of the top five candidates for the chairmanships of the House Armed Services and Intelligence panels have raised considerably more money this election cycle than they did at a similar point in 2012. The same four have also raised much more money from the defense industry than before – in some cases, more than doubling their takes.

Most of them, too, have raised more money in the first full quarter since the departures of the incumbent chairmen became official, and donated more to other candidates and GOP party committees than in the last cycle. Full story

By Tim Starks Posted at 8:30 a.m.
Personnel

July 29, 2014

Financial Issue Earns a Weigh-In From Hagel

A company’s $92 million settlement with the federal government’s consumer financial watchdog organization doesn’t seem like an obvious concern for the secretary of Defense. That amount of money is peanuts in the defense-budget world, and those kinds of agency actions generally wouldn’t have much impact on national security. But not this settlement, and not for Chuck Hagel.

Full story

July 23, 2014

Border Task Force Boosts National Guard Role; Others Less Enthused

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Granger at a hearing of her House Appropriations Committee State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs lat year. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)

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 22, 2014

Treating PTSD in Military Dogs

WOAI in San Antonio has a piece on post-traumatic stress disorder in military dogs, highlighting the work of Walter Burghardt, a veterinarian and researcher at Lackland Air Force Base in the Texas city. Behavioral studies for pooches aren’t the same as for people, of course.
Full story

By Joe Warminsky Posted at 9:34 a.m.
Personnel

July 17, 2014

War Is Hell: Skin Cancer, Epilepsy, Sleep Disorders on Rise for U.S. Troops

147125002 3 445x296 War Is Hell: Skin Cancer, Epilepsy, Sleep Disorders on Rise for U.S. Troops

Brad Schwarz, with his service dog Panzer, attends a Cubs game with a group of veterans at Wrigley Field in 2012. Schwarz uses Panzer to help him cope with post-traumatic stress disorder issues related to his 2008 tour in Iraq. In addition to suffering from PTSD, Schwarz has memory loss related to traumatic brain injury and he must walk with a cane because of vertebrae and nerve damage in his back and legs. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Each war brings with it unique injuries and health afflictions for those who fight. For Iraq and Afghanistan, improvised explosive devices have led to extensive traumatic brain injuries and loss of limbs.

But those wounds aren’t the beginning and end of the kind of health problems this generation of the military is facing. Among those singled out by a Senate report: skin cancer, epilepsy, sleep disorders, hydrocephalus and chronic pain disorders. Full story

By Tim Starks Posted at 9:08 a.m.
Budget, Personnel, Veterans, War

July 15, 2014

Everybody Picks on Military Readiness Because It’s Easy, Panel Chairman Says

Rep. Rob Wittman, who chairs the Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness, says that the word “readiness” is a “term of art” where people “tangentially understand it, but don’t really understand that.” It also happens to be “the only area where you can quickly achieve savings” in the defense budget, since other programs have contracts attached to them that make it hard to get any short-term return with spending reductions.

That all makes it an easy place for lawmakers to seek cuts, the Virginia Republican said Tuesday at a breakfast with defense reporters. And he thinks it’s a bad idea, one that threatens to rear its head again as the defense budget continues to decline and as policymakers start to shoehorn more spending that is currently allocated via a war account back into the base budget. Full story

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 9, 2014

Pentagon Claims Low Flubbed Payment Rate, Could Be Totally Wrong

The good news for the Department of Defense: By its own estimation, less than 1 percent of its payments are improper payments (to the wrong party, or of the wrong amount), which is better than the more than 3 percent rate government-wide, with improper payments by the feds adding up to $106 billion in the past fiscal year.

The bad news for the department: The Government Accountability Office “has grave reservations even about DOD’s ability to track and accurately report its improper payments,” John L. Mica, R-Fla., said at a House subcommittee hearing Wednesday. Full story

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