defense

Brennan Fracas Could Rip Through Senate’s Defense Spending Debate
Security clearances, abortion among amendment topics floated

Senate Intelligence Vice Chairman Mark Warner, here with Chairman Richard Burr, says he plans to introduce an amendment to the 2019 defense spending bill that would block the president from revoking security clearances. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate is ready to start voting on amendments to the fiscal 2019 Defense spending bill, possibly including several that could stir spirited debate.

Senators have only agreed so far to vote on two relatively uncontroversial amendments to the the two-bill package that includes both the $675 billion Defense bill and the $179.3 billion Labor-HHS-Education measure. Those first two votes are scheduled for Monday evening.

Trump Essentially Dares Brennan to Sue Over Stripped Clearance
President wants former CIA director’s ‘records, texts, emails and documents’

President Trump and his legal team are essentially daring former CIA Director John Brennan to sue the president over a terminated security clearance. (Photo By Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)

Donald Trump on Monday essentially dared former CIA Director John Brennan to sue him over the security clearance the president revoked last week.

Trump ordered Brennan’s security clearance turned off after the former Barack Obama aide and Cabinet official harshly criticized the sitting president, even dubbing his performance last month alongside Russian President Vladimir Putin as “treasonous.”

Road Ahead: Appropriations on Senate Floor, Russia Talk Away From It
Senators to vote on spending for four cabinet departments

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, left, actually had better attendance last week. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

With the Senate back to legislating, more attention will be on lawmaker attendance than it was during last week’s abbreviated session.

At the high-water mark, only 90 senators  were present for votes during the two-day workweek, with most of the absentees being members of the GOP. That led a reporter to quip to Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer of New York that his Democrats actually had the majority.

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.”

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.

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.