Defense & Cyberspace

Trump Paris-Bound in November to Watch a Military Parade Instead
President blames city for postponing military parade he wanted in Washington

President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron attend the traditional Bastille day military parade on the Champs-Elysees on July 14, 2017 in Paris (Thierry Chesnot/Getty Images file photo)

President Donald Trump plans to go to Paris in November to celebrate the Armistice Day, rather than hosting his own military parade in Washington, D.C.

Trump tweeted that he would also, “attend the big parade already scheduled at Andrews Air Force Base on a different date.”

Space Force Could Be Compromised From the Get-Go, Watchdog Warns
Malicious actors could take advantage of Air Force’s laxity, according to report

An Air Force communications satellite is launched from Cape Canaveral in March 2017. (Courtesy U.S. Air Force)

The Air Force is not adequately monitoring the pedigree of parts that go into critical space systems, and they are consequently at risk of being compromised by America’s enemies, according to a Pentagon inspector general report released Thursday.

It was the second of four audits that Congress has ordered on the subject, and the results so far indicate a systemic failure to safeguard what goes into U.S. weapons and satellites.

America’s Largest Veterans Group Rains on Trump’s Parade
Trump appears to put blame for higher estimate on D.C. officials who ‘know a windfall when they see one’

President Donald Trump viewed a traditional Bastille Day military parade in Paris — and apparently liked what he saw. (Thierry Chesnot/Getty Images file photo)

Opponents to President Donald Trump’s plans for a costly military parade in Washington now include the American Legion, the nation’s largest wartime veterans service organization.

“The American Legion appreciates that our President wants to show in a dramatic fashion our nation’s support for our troops,” American Legion National Commander Denise Rohan said in a statement Thursday night. “However, until such time as we can celebrate victory in the War on Terrorism and bring our military home, we think the parade money would be better spent fully funding the Department of Veteran Affairs and giving our troops and their families the best care possible.”

Artificial Intelligence May Help Match Veterans with Civilian Jobs
Software translates military job codes into relevant info for civilian employers

Artificial intelligence could help veterans find jobs in the civilian sector that make the most of their military training. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images file photo)

One of the problems military veterans have long faced is matching their skills learned in the armed forces to the needs of civilian employers, an issue Congress continues to grapple with in the fiscal 2019 spending bills.

Many military jobs translate perfectly into the civilian sector — repairing an Abrams tank is much like repairing any heavy piece of machinery, for example — but many combat and leadership skills do not, on the surface, directly transfer.

Space Force Proposal Comes With Little Political Risk for Trump
It ‘will look like a quaint idea by 2020,’ one analyst says

Vice President Mike Pence announces the Trump administration’s plan to create a space force by 2020 during an Aug. 9 speech at the Pentagon. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Whether the Space Force becomes a reality or not, the Trump re-election campaign will likely face few consequences in 2020 for shooting for the stars.

Speaking at the Pentagon last week, Vice President Mike Pence laid out an ambitious agenda for standing up a new branch of the military by 2020. Establishing a new agency — much less a new military department to stand beside those of the Army, Navy and Air Force — is a complicated, time-consuming affair, filled with bureaucratic headaches.

Ben Foster and Being Part of a ‘Continuing Conversation’ About Veterans
Political Theater Podcast, Episode 32

Ben Foster, left, discusses his latest movie "Leave No Trace," with Political Theater host Jason Dick. (David Banks/CQ Roll Call)

“For being an actor, being of the generation of the desert war, these questions are ever-present,” Ben Foster says about a body of work that has seen him portray veterans of America’s current conflicts. For the Boston native, veterans’ re-entry to civilian life is part of what he says is “a continuing conversation” he says is important. His latest movie, “Leave No Trace,” is the story of a veteran who is “slipping through the cracks.” For a country still at war and embroiled in extensive debate about veterans, and their well-being, it is a timely movie. Foster discussed the movie recently with Political Theater. 

Space Force: Trump Drives New Partisan Split Over Old Issue
Democrats and Republicans divided on proposal, new poll says

President Donald Trump’s public embrace of the Space Force has driven a deep partisan divide on the effort, a new poll found. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Its cool science-fiction title alone practically oozes nostalgia for the starbound adventures of American astronauts, the spirit of Cold War competition and pride for American dominance in space. So why are most Democrats not on board with the Space Force?

Sixty-nine percent of them disapproved of the White House’s effort to establish a sixth branch of the military focused on defending U.S. interests in space, according to a new poll released Wednesday. And only 12 percent supported it. The reaction from Republicans was almost exactly flipped: 68 percent of Republicans supported the proposal, while only 14 percent opposed it. 

Cost Isn’t Everything. Pentagon Should Judge Contractors on Cybersecurity, Report Says
Security would be ‘fourth pillar’ in weapons purchase decisions

Aerial view of the Pentagon building photographed on Sept. 24, 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Pentagon should take into account the cybersecurity capabilities of defense contractors in addition to cost and performance measures when awarding contracts, a U.S. government-funded think tank recommended in a report published Monday.

Through its buying process, the Pentagon “can influence and shape the conduct of its suppliers,” the Mitre Corp. said in a report titled “Deliver Uncompromised: A Strategy for Supply Chain Security and Resilience in Response to the Changing Character of War.”

Trump Won’t Follow Congressional Directives on Russia and Crimea
Defense authorization signing statement effectively discards restrictions on recognizing Crimea as Russian

President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin answer questions about the 2016 U.S election collusion during a joint press conference after their summit in July. Trump now objects to efforts by Congress to prevent his administration from recognizing Crimea as part of Russia. (Chris McGrath/Getty Images file photo)

President Donald Trump objects to an effort by Congress to prevent his administration from recognizing Crimea as part of Russia.

Crimea is a region in Ukraine that has been occupied by Russia for several years, with the Russian Federation having claimed to have annexed the region in March 2014. Russian President Vladimir Putin has claimed the territorial matter is settled, but many in Washington disagree.

7 Ways the Senate Can Spend the Rest of August
A few real problems have bubbled up while senators were away

There’s no shortage of things for senators to do while in town this month, Murphy writes. Above, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., arrives at the Capitol for a vote in April. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — Welcome back to the grind, senators and staff. If you were only watching cable news over your abridged recess, you might have been lulled into the idea that the only messes in Washington you would come back to were Omarosa’s habit of recording conversations in the Situation Room and what we’ve learned so far about Paul Manafort’s choice of outerwear from his trial — ostrich. So gross.

But while some in the D.C. media were caught up in the Trump train wrecks of the day, a few real problems bubbled up while you were gone. Somebody has to deal with them, so as long as you’re here — why not you?

At Fort Drum Event, Trump Boosts McSally, Does Not Mention McCain
Arizona GOP Senate candidate among lawmakers highlighted in New York's North Country

Rep. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., received a boost from President Donald Trump. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Arizona politics headed eastward to New York’s North Country on Monday, as President Donald Trump signed a Pentagon policy bill there named after one of his frequent nemeses, Republican John McCain, who went unmentioned by the president, and singled out for praise a woman seeking to become McCain’s Senate colleague: Rep. Martha McSally.

McSally made the trip across the country to the Army’s Fort Drum and was  rewarded with a shout-out from Trump, although not an endorsement.

FBI Agent Peter Strzok Fired For Anti-Trump Texts
Counterterrorism official had been in the hot seat since anti-Trump texts with alleged mistress were discovered

FBI Deputy Assistant Director Peter Strzok was fired for his text messages criticizing President Donald Trump. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

Peter Strzok, the senior FBI counterintelligence official who has been in the hot seat since the Justice Department’s inspector general discovered his anti-Trump text messages with DOJ lawyer Lisa Page, has been fired from the bureau, his lawyer told multiple news outlets.

Strzok, 48, was one of the main targets of a faction of House Republicans who have sought information on anti-Trump bias in the upper reaches of the DOJ.

House GOP Appropriators Facing Steep Turnover in 116th Congress
Both parties have endured upheaval in wave elections in the past

Two senior House GOP appropriators,  John Culberson, R-Texas, left, and Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-N.J., personify the challenged facing the Appropriations panel heading into the 2018 midterms. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A Democratic “wave” this November, should one materialize, could result in the departure of as many as five senior House Republican appropriators, which would mark the biggest wipeout of major players from one side of the dais in 26 years.

Three subcommittee “cardinals” are facing tough re-election fights this November: Commerce-Justice-Science Chairman John Culberson and Military Construction-VA Chairman John Carter, both of Texas, and Homeland Security Chairman Kevin Yoder of Kansas.

Spending Bonanza Heads to Senate Floor: Podcast
CQ Budget, Episode 73

Appropriations Chairman Richard Shelby, R-Ala., speaks with reporters last month. The Senate is expected to return this week and begin considering a roughly $857 billion fiscal 2019 spending package. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Space Farce? The Challenges of Creating a New Military Department in Just 2 Years: Podcast
CQ on Congress, Episode 115

On Thursday, Vice President Mike Pence announced the Trump administration's plan to create a U.S. Space Force by 2020. ( Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Space is the “next battlefield,” Vice President Mike Pence said this week. CQ editor Patrick B. Pexton talks with reporter Andrew Clevenger about all the steps needed to create the Space Force. The biggest challenge? A just-passed, two-year defense authorization bill that’s on the president’s desk awaiting his signature. That bill has no extra funds for such an ambitious enterprise that critics say isn’t even necessary to protect the U.S. from space-based threats.