Defense

House Eyes Overhaul of Defense Intelligence Agency
Handful of offices and missions targeted for elimination

Lt. Gen. Vincent Stewart, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, could see his agency change if the House Intelligence Committee gets its way. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency is in the cross hairs of the House Intelligence Committee, which is aiming for a radical overhaul of the military’s spy arm.

The committee sees it as bloated and ineffective. But how far such an effort would go remains to be seen as several other congressional oversight panels that would have a say are waiting for a fuller assessment to emerge before they sign off on major changes.

Military Groups Join Democrats’ Defense of Arbitration Rule
‘We will not accept a future where our military veterans’ financial protections are chipped away’

Rhode Island Sen. Jack Reed in the Senate subway before a lunch in the Capitol on July 27. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Service member and veterans groups on Wednesday criticized a Republican effort to overturn the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s rule barring mandatory arbitration in many consumer contracts. 

The groups joined Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and a member of the Senate Banking Committee, to oppose Senate Republicans’ plan to pass a measure that would repeal the CFPB rule. The rule took effect Monday, but the agency is giving companies until March 2018 to comply.

Civil Rights, Racial Disputes Fuel Divide Over Judicial Nominee
North Carolina senators defend Thomas Farr

Sens. Richard M. Burr, right, and Thom Tillis prepare for a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Sept. 20. The two support North Carolinian Thomas Farr for a federal judgeship, a nomination that has raised the ire of civil rights groups and African Americans. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump’s pick for a federal judgeship in North Carolina has drawn the opposition of the Congressional Black Caucus and civil rights groups in part because of past work defending the state’s congressional redistricting plans and voter ID law, which courts have struck down as unfair to minorities.

The vacancy in the Eastern District of North Carolina has fallen victim to the Tar Heel State’s contentious politics and the Senate’s confirmation process — making it now the oldest judicial vacancy in the country at 11 years and 9 months.

Republican Senators Mostly Silent After Trump’s North Korea Threat
President would hit regime, military targets - not civilians, White House says

Republican Sens. Bob Corker (center), Marco Rubio (seated right) and Jim Risch (standing right) all declined to comment on GOP President Donald Trump's threat to "totally destroy" North Korea if it attacks the United States. Also pictured are GOP Sens. Cory Gardner (standing left) and Ron Johnson (seated left). (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker hurried into an elevator. Sen. Marco Rubio quickly ducked into the Capitol Visitor Center television studio. And Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain shut down reporters’ repetitive questions.

No Republican senator could be found Tuesday who was willing to question President Donald Trump’s threat before the United Nations General Assembly to “totally destroy” North Korea unless it gives up its nuclear arms and long-range missile programs, which he views as a direct threat to the sovereignty and security of the United States and its allies.

Space Corps Proposal Has Military Brass Going Orbital

Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson, center, seen here with Gen. David L. Goldfein, right, chief of staff of the Air Force, is opposed to the creation of Space Corps, seeing it as within the purview of her service branch. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

It was, to be sure, a bold and audacious move from a relatively unknown member of Congress, who moved forward despite fervent objections from both the Defense Department and the White House and not so much as a full committee hearing or debate.

Alabama Republican Mike D. Rogers nevertheless used his perch atop a House Armed Services subcommittee to slip language into the annual Pentagon policy bill to create an entirely new military service focused on space.

Opinion: Strange Times for Mitch McConnell in the Alabama Senate Race
A Moore victory could be a big headache for the Senate majority leader

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has become the Nancy Pelosi of the right, Murphy writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

When President Donald Trump tapped Sen. Jeff Sessions to be his attorney general last year, the last thing on anyone’s mind was what would happen to the Alabama Senate seat that Sessions would leave behind. With a Republican governor in a reliably Republican state, the assumption was that the governor would appoint a safe placeholder for the seat, who would then easily get elected to finish out Sessions’ term in the next election.

But fast forward nine months, and the Alabama governor who appointed that placeholder has resigned in disgrace. The placeholder, Sen. “Big” Luther Strange, finished second in the GOP primary to former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, who has been removed from the bench twice.

'America First' Approach to Dominate Trump's UN Address
President's foreign policy philosophy irks many Republican lawmakers

President Trump delivers remarks Friday at Joint Base Andrews in front of a B-2 bomber as he marked the Air Force’s 70th birthday as a standalone military service. (White House photo via Twitter)

President Donald Trump on Tuesday will take his vision to the United Nations for an America that leads on the global stage only when its sovereignty is threatened, a message that in the past has drawn howls from his own political party.

American allies reportedly are still struggling to fully understand Trump’s “America first” governing philosophy — and what it means for how it will shape foreign policy. Some of his top aides often say “America first” does not mean America alone, and the president will have an opportunity to reassure Washington’s longtime friends when he addresses the United Nations General Assembly for the first time.

Trump Again Floats Military Parade That Pentagon Once Vetoed
President wants July 4 parade of combat hardware down Pennsylvania Avenue

French military troops march in the annual Bastille Day military parade down the Champs-Elysees in Paris on July 14. (Courtesy Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Dominique Pineiro/Wikimedia Commons)

The Pentagon might have vetoed President Donald Trump’s idea of parading U.S. military vehicles across the streets of Washington during his inauguration festivities. But now he’s the commander in chief and talking about holding such a show of military might on July 4.

Trump floated the idea to reporters during a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron, whom he joined in Paris in July for that country’s Bastille Day festivities. Trump was the VIP guest on the French president’s viewing stand for a parade of French military troops and equipment.

Podcast: Lifting the Spending Caps
Budget Tracker Extra, Episode 31

House Budget Committee Chairwoman Diane Black, R-Tenn., and Ranking Member John Yarmuth, D-Ky., listen to testimony by OMB Director Mick Mulvaney during a committee hearing on May 24, 2017. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle would like to lift the spending limits established by law, says CQ budget reporter Jennifer Shutt, adding that it's just the latest budget issue to confront lawmakers along with passing a budget resolution and a tax overhaul.

 

Which of These Bills Is Not Like the Others? The Defense Budget
Testy and balky debate, like this year, still has ended with authorization for 57 straight years

Two U.S. army Blackhawk helicopters approach for landing at an airfield in Australia during a joint U.S. and Australian training exercise in July. (Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images File Photo)

For the uninitiated, it might have seemed last week like the annual legislation authorizing the nation’s military was about to come off the rails. And only now does it appear to be clamoring out of some thick mud — yet another example of a Congress so challenged when it comes to discharging even its most fundamental responsibilities.

Rest assured, though: There’s truly nothing more certain in the Capitol’s life cycle than enactment of the annual National Defense Authorization Act.