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New Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter has already made news a couple times for suggesting a possible slowdown of the Afghanistan troop withdrawal timeline. That notion is getting some backing from Capitol Hill Democrats.
Reports John M. Donelly for CQ.com subscribers:
Republicans have long criticized the administration for setting dates for the withdrawal, and now Democrats who oversee the Pentagon have gradually begun to agree — and they have done so more and more openly. They appear concerned that without U.S. troops, the situation in Afghanistan could quickly deteriorate, as it did in Iraq after U.S. forces left more three years ago.
Among the Senate Democrats voicing levels of concern or opposition in the piece: Jack Reed of Rhode Island (the top Democrat on Armed Services), Joe Manchin III of West Virginia, Joe Donnelly of Indiana and Tim Kaine of Virginia.
A version of the story appears on the Roll Call website as well.
Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain, R-Ariz., said Thursday that the wisdom of the Afghanistan troop drawdown being decided based on the calendar rather than events is challenged by the Islamic State group making a showing there. His panel’s top Democrat, Jack Reed of Rhode Island, also said the group’s appearance is worrisome.
The U.S. Army general serving as commander of International Security Assistance Force and United States Forces-Afghanistan talked of a potential silver lining. Full story
Busy, busy day in the defense world this Wednesday. To wit:
It’s a slow stretch at the beginning of the week, unless you’re keen on German-U.S. relations, which is a perfectly fine thing to be. (In case you’re wondering about that photo, here you go.) Full story
It was almost all about the fiscal 2016 budget proposal and the nomination hearings for a new Defense secretary this week. Almost. Full story
Ukraine, Guantanamo, Afghanistan, the defense budget — anyone listening to Ashton Carter at Wednesday’s Senate Armed Services confirmation hearing could hear some verbiage suggesting differences with the president.
More likely, the space between the two isn’t what it looks like. And even if it is, it might not matter. Full story
Ashton Carter gets a full day of congressional interrogation Wednesday, starting this morning, with the Senate Armed Services Committee set to vet his nomination for Defense secretary. He’s already shared some of his views via written answers to the panel’s questions.
Here are his answers to those pre-hearing questions on a number of countries. Full story
Jon Stewart thought he was on the verge of a “classic ‘Daily Show’ gotcha.” An “Orwellian government cover-up” about Afghanistan security forces. “Very suspicious, we thought here at the show.” Even had a graphic made up, “Adventures in Previously Routine Military Bookkeeping.”
And then something bad happened, relative to the show’s needs. Ended up just making fun of Mike Huckabee, mainly. It probably would’ve been a good segment, that Afghanistan bit.
Here are your highlights for President Barack Obama‘s fiscal 2016 budget proposal for defense, security and foreign policy. This is the opening bid. Expect a lot of debate and reaction from the GOP-controlled Congress in the weeks and months to come. Full story