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February 1, 2015

Posts in "War"

January 30, 2015

Weekly Recap: White House Drone, Super Bowl Drones, Budget Red Zone

A Kurdish fighter walks with his child in the center of the Syrian border town of Kobane, known as Ain al-Arab, on Jan. 28. Kurdish forces recaptured the strategic town on the Turkish frontier in a symbolic blow for the jihadists who have seized swathes of territory in a brutal onslaught across Syria and Iraq. (Bulent Kilic/AFP/Getty Images)

A Kurdish fighter walks with his child in the center of the Syrian border town of Kobane, known as Ain al-Arab, on Jan. 28. Kurdish forces recaptured the strategic town on the Turkish frontier in a symbolic blow for the jihadists who have seized swathes of territory in a brutal onslaught across Syria and Iraq. (Bulent Kilic/AFP/Getty Images)

The re-taking of Kobani was one of the things we didn’t cover this week. It wasn’t alone. Let’s catch up on our hits and misses. Full story

January 28, 2015

Big Pentagon Budget Details Leak

U.S. aircraft carrier USS George Washington sits at anchor in Busan port on July 11, 2014 in Busan, South Korea. (Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

U.S. aircraft carrier U.S.S. George Washington sits at anchor in Busan port on July 11, 2014 in Busan, South Korea. (Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

CQ.com had the scoop on the big picture Pentagon budget proposal figures for fiscal 2016. Now the floodgates are open. Full story

January 27, 2015

John McCain on Those Soaring Hawks

“The situation in the world has obviously changed American public opinion dramatically, so I think that also bolsters us. Our base has broadened dramatically.”

— Armed Services Chairman John McCain, R-Ariz., in Megan Scully‘s CQ Weekly cover story ($) on how McCain is positioned as a defense hawk in his caucus and the Senate overall (McCain prefers the term “internationalist” to “hawk,” FWIW)

By Tim Starks Posted at 7:06 a.m.
War

January 16, 2015

Five By Five Friday Q&A: Sunjeev Bery, Amnesty International USA

SBery-photo-formal-suit - cropped 2The conflicts in Syria and Iraq have taken a humanitarian toll, with all sides playing a part in it.

Sunjeev Bery, advocacy director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International USA, spoke with Five By Five about some of those humanitarian costs and what can be done about them. Full story

By Tim Starks Posted at 7 a.m.
War

January 14, 2015

New House Armed Services Chairman Plans Focus on Unconventional Warfare

Thornberry at a 2013 hearing. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)

Thornberry at a 2013 hearing. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)

In an interview with CQ Roll Call, new House Armed Services Chairman Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, said he planned to focus the committee on unconventional warfare by the likes of China, Russia and others. Full story

By Tim Starks Posted at 7 a.m.
War

January 9, 2015

New Defense Budget Plans Trickling Out

An Afghan policeman (L) and a U.S. soldier look on at the site of a suicide attack targeting foreign troops on the outskirts of Jalalabad on Jan. 5. (Wakil Kohsar/AFP/Getty Images)

An Afghan policeman (L) and a U.S. soldier look on at the site of a suicide attack targeting foreign troops on the outskirts of Jalalabad on Jan. 5. (Wakil Kohsar/AFP/Getty Images)

We’re on the precipice of getting a new federal government budget proposal from President Barack Obama. Some plans for the Pentagon are already trickling out. Full story

By Tim Starks Posted at 8:03 a.m.
Budget, War

December 29, 2014

National Security in the New Year

New Year's Eve numerals arrive in Times Square prior to installation atop One Times Square, at Times Square on Dec. 16. (Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images)

New Year’s Eve numerals arrive in Times Square prior to installation atop One Times Square, at Times Square on Dec. 16. (Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images)

There are big changes afoot in 2015: a new Congress, a new Pentagon chief, an evolving battlefield. Here’s a look ahead to some of the developments you can expect, as covered here in 2014 by Five By Five. Full story

December 22, 2014

The Best of Five By Five in 2014

A Palestinian man, wearing a Santa Claus costume and waving the national flag, is confronted by Israeli soldiers during a weekly demonstration on Dec. 19 against Israel's controversial separation barrier, in the village of Maasarah, near the biblical West Bank city of Bethlehem. (Musa Al-Shaer/AFP/Getty Images)

A Palestinian man, wearing a Santa Claus costume and waving the national flag, is confronted by Israeli soldiers during a weekly demonstration on Dec. 19 against Israel’s controversial separation barrier, in the village of Maasarah, near the biblical West Bank city of Bethlehem. (Musa Al-Shaer/AFP/Getty Images)

This holiday season, consider using Five By Five to warm your family instead of a fireplace. Here are the hot hot hot highlights of the CQ Roll Call defense and national security blog since we began back in June. Full story

December 18, 2014

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)

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

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

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

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)

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

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)

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

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

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

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