defense

Air Force Opposes Creation of Space Corps
‘Pentagon is complicated enough,’ Air Force secretary says

Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson, center, says the military is complicated enough without having a dedicated Space Corps. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Air Force leaders on Wednesday pushed back on a House Armed Services panel’s plan to build a new fighting force dedicated to space.

“The Pentagon is complicated enough,” Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson told reporters following her testimony in front of the Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee. “This will make it more complex, add more boxes to the organization chart and cost more money. If I had more money, I would put it into lethality, not bureaucracy.”

Senators Look for Path on New War Authorization
Current authorization dates to 9/11 attacks

Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., said he would only pursue a new war authorization if it had bipartisan consensus. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senators on Tuesday gamely struggled to see if there was a way to set aside longstanding partisan differences over a new authorization for use of military force amid expanding military campaigns in Syria and Iraq, and under a new president who has delegated significant tactical authority to his commanders.

The Trump administration is waging its anti-ISIS campaign under the authority of the 2001 AUMF, which Congress passed shortly after the September 11 attacks. Sixteen years later, experts on both sides of the aisle increasingly agree the authorization (PL 107-40) has been stretched beyond almost all legal recognition to justify the occasional air strike on Bashar al-Assad’s forces in Syria and even far-flung groups like Al-Shabab in East Africa.

House Defense Panel Would Create Space Force

Next stop for the military, outer space? (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A House Armed Services panel intends to create a new fighting force called Space Corps within the Air Force to improve the U.S. military’s ability to address threats in space, according to a summary of the Strategic Forces panel’s forthcoming fiscal 2018 mark.

“There is bipartisan acknowledgement that the strategic advantages we derive from our national security space systems are eroding,” said a joint statement from Mike D. Rogers of Alabama and Jim Cooper of Tennessee, the panel’s chairman and ranking Democrat, respectively. “We are convinced that the Department of Defense is unable to take the measures necessary to address these challenges effectively and decisively, or even recognize the nature and scale of its problems. Thus, Congress has to step in.”

Trump Attacks Ossoff in Georgia Special Election Closing Argument
President: Dem ‘wants to raise your taxes to the highest level’

President Trump is attacking the Democratic candidate in Georgia's 6th Congressional District, Jon Ossoff, seen here at his campaign office in Roswell, Ga., on the final day of campaigning on Monday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

As voters head to the polls in a key Georgia special House election, President Donald Trump’s closing argument paints Democrat Jon Ossoff as pro-high taxes and weak on crime and security.

By all accounts, Trump had Democratic leanings for much of his adult life living high above Manhattan. But his late push for GOP candidate Karen Handel - which essentially tries to rile up Republican voters with a read meat pitch - shows how, on many issues, he has drifted to the right.

House Gets to Work on Defense Authorization Bill
GOP to push for more dollars for the Pentagon

House Armed Services Chairman Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, will begin shepherding the defense authorization bill through that chamber this week. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The House Armed Services subcommittees will all meet this week to approve their slices of the annual Pentagon policy bill, the first formal step in the months-long negotiations to move the massive measure through Congress and to the president’s desk. The Senate Armed Services panels will follow suit soon. 

Subcommittees of the House Armed Services Committee plan to mark up their portions of the fiscal 2018 defense authorization measure June 21 and 22. Then, on June 28, the full committee will hold its daylong markup. Senate Armed Services plans to hold its mostly closed markups of the bill the last week of June.

Graham ‘All In’ on Trump’s New Afghanistan Strategy
Graham and McCain among lawmakers briefed on way forward on Wednesday

Sens. John McCain, left, and Lindsey Graham have been briefed on the new plan for Afghanistan.(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Lindsey Graham is elated about President Donald Trump’s new Afghanistan strategy.  

Vice President Mike Pence and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster briefed Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain and Graham Wednesday on the new plan for the fight in Afghanistan.

US Cybersecurity in Need of Rapid Repair, Senators Told
Ex-Pentagon aide warns of large-scale attack by North Korea

Massachusetts Sen. Edward J. Markey is concerned about cybersecurity deficiencies in the private sector, particularly in utility companies. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Cybersecurity in the United States is in a severe state of disrepair, leaving the country vulnerable to attack from hacking groups backed by its opponents, two witnesses testified in a Senate subcommittee hearing Tuesday.

The witnesses told the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy that they believe a massive cyberattack is imminent unless the U.S. ratchets up its efforts to protect against and deter offensives from countries such as Russia, China, and North Korea.

Giffords Getting Navy Ship Named for Her
Hillary Clinton, Jill Biden will join Arizona Democrat at Saturday’s launch

Former Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords survived an assassination attempt in 2011 while a member of Congress. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords on Saturday will have a Navy combat ship named after her, joining Martha Washington as the only other woman so honored during her lifetime.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Jill Biden will join Giffords on Friday for the commissioning of the USS Gabrielle Giffords in Galveston, Texas. Biden took part in a christening ceremony for the ship in 2015. 

Trump Slams London Mayor Over ISIS Bridge Attack Response
President drives another wedge between U.S. and key ally

London Mayor Sadiq Khan, left, shows then-U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry the view from his office before they met in October. President Donald Trump on Monday called Khan "pathetic" for comments that Londoners should not be alarmed due to a larger police presence following an ISIS attack on Saturday night. (State Department photo via Wikimedia Commons)

President Donald Trump broke with decades of diplomatic protocol by labeling London’s mayor “pathetic” for his response to an Islamic State attack there Saturday night.

The U.S. president appeared, for the second time, to take a statement out of context that Sadiq Khan made Sunday explaining to Londoners a planned ramped up security presence around the city. And in so doing, Trump opted to drive another wedge between the United States and an ally with which American long has had a “special relationship.”

Podcast: Lawmakers Could Seek Another Funding Shortcut
Budget Tracker Extra, Episode 20

Lawmakers return to the Hill this week with a slew of committee hearings on the fiscal 2018 spending bills, say CQ budget reporters Ryan McCrimmon and Jennifer Shutt. There’s just one problem: lawmakers will be working without knowing how much they can spend.