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December 19, 2014

Posts in "War"

December 18, 2014

A-10 Goes to War Against ISIS in Iraq, After Winning War in Congress

151274549 A 10 Goes to War Against ISIS in Iraq, After Winning War in Congress

A U.S. flight technician checks the body of a A-10 Thunderbolt parked on the tarmac at the Namest air force base near Brno where it is taking part in joint NATO military exercises in 2012.
(Radek Mica/AFP/GettyImages)

The A-10 was one of the biggest and most controversial weapons systems on the chopping block in Obama’s budget, and Congress refused to do the chopping last week. Now, the close air support plane commonly known as the Warthog is firing at ISIS in Iraq. Full story

December 15, 2014

National Security Work Done, and Still Undone, in Congressional Stretch Run

It’s been an exceptionally hectic stretch run for Congress. For such an unproductive 113th session, a great deal has sped up as the finish line nears, likely this week. Here’s a rundown of what’s happened on the national security and foreign policy fronts, and some of what still hasn’t happened, with links to CQ.com ($) stories. Full story

Army’s Future, Syria, Defense Tech in the Week Ahead

dw110608 Crocker206 445x295 Armys Future, Syria, Defense Tech in the Week Ahead

Crocker at his confirmation hearing to serve as U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan in 2011. (Scott J. Ferrell/Congressional Quarterly)

All the big ticket congressional items on the defense agenda are finished, and now it’s down to the Senate fighting over a number of nominees, most prominent among them in the national security sphere Antony Blinken, for deputy secretary of State. Elsewhere… Full story

December 12, 2014

Weekly Recap: Torture Report Times Infinity, Laser Cannon, ISIS

It was a bonkers week in the national security world. We had the Senate Intelligence Committee report on Bush administration-era detention and interrogation practices dominating the news to such a degree that the mammoth “cromnibus” spending bill for the Defense Department and other agencies was overshadowed. Even a video of a real life laser cannon – a laser cannon!!!! – couldn’t steal much of the spotlight. Full story

Exclusive: Dollar Amounts and Conditions on Syrian Rebel Funding

460184122 445x250 Exclusive: Dollar Amounts and Conditions on Syrian Rebel Funding

Syrian youths take part in their last training on Dec. 8 before being sent to the frontline along with rebel fighters from the Jaysh al-Islam brigades (Army of Islam) in Eastern al-Ghouta, a rebel-held region outside the capital Damascus. (Abd Doumany/AFP/Getty Images)

John M. Donnelly has a scoop up for CQ.com subscribers about Congress approving $721 million for Syrian rebels in two swoops.

Under a reprogramming request, Donnelly writes, the administration would get $220.5 million for the cause. And the big spending bill referred to as the cromnibus provides $500 million.

A couple passages from his story:

The $220.5 million will be used for training the first two classes of 300 recruits, with an annual goal of 5,400 fighters, according to the Pentagon comptroller’s request…

The $500 million can only be spent if certain conditions are met, the bill says. It cannot be used to supply shoulder-fired missiles, which many lawmakers worry could end up in the hands of insurgents who might use them to shoot down military planes or even civilian passenger jets.

What’s more, the bill says, the Syrian recruits cannot be associated with any of several named militant groups. And, the appropriators wrote, the provision is not “a specific statutory authorization for the introduction of the United States Armed Forces into hostilities or into situations wherein hostilities are clearly indicated by the circumstances. . . .”

The full story goes into much greater depth about where the money comes from and where it’s going. What’s more, Donnelly has details on what the impact of the funding is likely (or unlikely) to be.

December 10, 2014

Afghanistan Corruption Could Trigger Security Collapse, Watchdog Says

479343227 445x291 Afghanistan Corruption Could Trigger Security Collapse, Watchdog Says

An Afghan construction worker makes concrete tubes on the outskirts of Kabul on March 18. Afghanistan’s economy has improved significantly since the fall of the Taliban in 2001, but despite international assistance the country needs to overcome challenges including low revenue collection and job creation, corruption, weak government capacity and poor public infrastructure. (Wakil Kohsar/AFP/Getty Images)

The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction says that corruption in the country, among other woes, could lead to a collapse of security forces. “Corruption,” he says, “can exact a toll in blood.” Full story

December 8, 2014

Arms Control, Human Rights, Afghanistan in the Week Ahead

armed services013 060513 445x293 Arms Control, Human Rights, Afghanistan in the Week Ahead

Kilmer attends a House Armed Services Committee markup of the fiscal 2014 defense authorization bill in 2013. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Congressional votes on Defense spending and policy bills are expected this week. Wait! That’s not all! Full story

December 5, 2014

Weekly Recap: SecDef, Defauth, Diamond Dave

There were two obviously major storylines this week: A new Defense secretary is on the way, and the fiscal 2015 defense policy bill hit the streets. There were plenty of other stories elsewhere, too. Full story

December 2, 2014

Ted Cruz Fires Up Conservatives in Foreign Policy Speech

cruz008 111314 445x296 Ted Cruz Fires Up Conservatives in Foreign Policy Speech

Cruz on Nov. 13. (Tom Williams, CQ Roll Call)

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz served up a big plate of red meat to a conservative audience at a lunch Tuesday, decrying the “Obama-Clinton foreign policy” in forceful and colorful language. No doubt looking to polish his conservative credentials for a potential GOP presidential run (against, maybe, Hillary Clinton), he didn’t hold back in his criticism of the current administration. Full story

Iranian Jets Over Iraq?

909554 445x294 Iranian Jets Over Iraq?

FILE PHOTO: An F-4 Phantom II aircraft takes part in Amalgam ’87, a joint U.S./Canadian air defense exercise. (Photo by USAF)

Whatever the original Al Jazeera footage showed, it doesn’t seem to be online anymore. It was nonetheless enough to fuel talk of Iranian involvement in the fight against ISIS, aka the Islamic State. Full story

November 25, 2014

How the Departure of Chuck Hagel Affects the Defense Agenda

On one level, the exit of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel represents a break from what was before. On another level, nothing on the agenda will change, at least not because of his departure. Full story

November 24, 2014

Intentionally or Not, Hagel News Distracts From Other Administration News

syria hearing029 090413 445x296 Intentionally or Not, Hagel News Distracts From Other Administration News

Hagel, left, and Kerry, right, at a September House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Over the weekend, news broke of a change in the administration’s policy on Afghanistan. On Monday, Secretary of State John Kerry announced an extension of Iranian nuclear talks. Yet it is the newly announced departure of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel that has sucked up most of the news energy today. Full story

By Tim Starks Posted at 3:22 p.m.
Foreign Policy, War

Afghanistan, China, Turkey in the Week Ahead

133977112 Afghanistan, China, Turkey in the Week Ahead

(Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)

It’s a short week due to the Thanksgiving holiday. Congress is gone. There are still a few worthwhile national security and foreign policy events around D.C., though, at least during the early part of the week. Full story

November 21, 2014

Weekly Recap: F-35, Iraq Weapons, Congress, Uber

Let’s review the week that was. Would you say we would be venturing into a zone of danger? The zone will be one of danger. Full story

November 18, 2014

Not Enough Drones? And Are More Coming, Or Not?

457656304 Not Enough Drones? And Are More Coming, Or Not?

A drone flies over Kobani, as seen from near the Mursitpinar crossing on the Turkish-Syrian border Oct. 22. (Gokhan Sahin/Getty Images)

According to one story, there might be a military drone “shortage.” And the recently announced Pentagon “offset strategy” suggests an increased reliance on them in the future. But also, there might not be enough money or political will for them. Full story

By Tim Starks Posted at 2:30 p.m.
Budget, Drones, War

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