defense

Defiant Obama to Congress: Give Gitmo Plan 'Fair Hearing'

President Obama speaks in the White House’s Roosevelt Room on Tuesday about his plan to close the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, military prison. He was joined by Defense Secretary Ashton Cater (right), with a painting of former President Theodore Roosevelt on horseback behind them. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

President Barack Obama on Tuesday delivered a passionate call for Congress to give his plan to close the Guantánamo Bay military prison a “fair hearing,” casting the terrorist detention center as a hindrance to national security.  

Even before Obama spoke about the plan , Republican lawmakers dubbed it  “illegal” and made clear it has almost no chance of being enacted. But Obama ended his remarks with a defiant tone.

Saudi, UAE Forces Likely Too 'Stretched' to Fight Islamic State

Members of Iraqi pro-government forces ride atop their vehicle on the outskirts of Ramadi on Wednesday after they took back the area from ISIL forces. (Photo by MOADH AL-DULAIMI/AFP/Getty Images)

Key U.S. allies in the Middle East could be stretched too thin militarily to provide the ground combat troops the Obama administration, Republican lawmakers and experts agree are needed to defeat the Islamic State.  

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates this week both signaled a willingness to send elite commandos to Iraq and Syria. But an Obama administration official on Friday said those forces likely would only assist American troops with providing training and advice to local forces there.  

John McCain Joins Call to Register Women for the Draft

McCain ripped reports of a possible extension in the Iran nuclear deal deadline. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee is the latest to say that women should be registering for the draft.  

While there's no expectation the U.S. military will return to conscription any time soon, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., is siding with service chiefs who say that with all combat roles opened to women, the Selective Service system should include them, too.  

How Cruz the Outsider Won Purple Hearts for Fort Hood Victims

The U.S. flag flew at half staff over the U.S. Capitol in honor of the victims of the 2009 shooting at Ft. Hood in Texas. (Photo by Scott J. Ferrell/Congressional Quarterly File Photo)

Updated 7:40 p.m. | On Ted Cruz's Senate office wall hangs a framed copy of one of the Texas Republican's proudest legislative accomplishments. And like the outsider persona he touts on the presidential campaign trail, Cruz eventually voted against the bill that made it happen.  

Cruz added an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act last year in the Armed Services committee that ultimately awarded the Purple Heart to victims of the 2009 massacre at the Fort Hood military facility in Texas. Thirteen people were killed and more than 30 injured.  

Defense Hawks Fine With Boost in War Account

McCain talks to reporters on Capitol Hill. (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Top Senate defense hawks are satisfied with the increased Pentagon spending in the new budget deal, and several Democrats doubt that section will mean trouble for the sweeping package.  

The spending plan, which many senators on Tuesday said they are still reviewing, would boost discretionary spending caps by $50 billion in fiscal 2016 and $30 billion in 2017, with those hikes divided evenly between defense and domestic spending. But it also proposes something Democrats and the Obama administration for months have opposed: About $16 billion more than the $58 billion the White House had requested in 2016 for a Pentagon war account.  

In Final Act, Coburn Objects to Bundling Lands, Defense Bills

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

You could call it Sen. Tom Coburn's last stand.  

The Oklahoma Republican, who is retiring early at the end of the current Congress, is expected to force the Senate to jump through procedural hoops because of the bundling of unrelated lands bills in the National Defense Authorization Act.