national defense

Red Alert: Russia Looms Large as a Security Threat
U.S. scrambles to counter Cold War nemesis and reassure European allies

U.S. military forces deployed to Europe are tasked with two missions: Build cooperation among NATO allies and support operations in more dangerous corners of the globe. But as Russia, America’s Cold War nemesis, flexes its military muscle, these forces, which have dwindled in size in recent decades, are again on the front lines. Military leaders now say Russia is the greatest threat to U.S. security.  

That fact is not lost on Gen. Frank Gorenc, the four-star U.S. Air Force commander in Europe, who has seen Congress’ interest in his theater spike. What was recently viewed by lawmakers as a place to cut costs is now the opposite.  

McCain's Role in Party, Senate Gets New Test This Week
'Senators must choose a side'

Republican Sen. John McCain faces two big fights this election year, including the one for his seat in Arizona. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Eight years ago, Sen. John McCain stood for the Republican party. This week, he will find how much his party still stands with him.  

The Arizona senator will be shepherding floor debate on a defense policy bill that touches on such politically charged issues including women in the draft and closing the terror detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. In a period when many GOP lawmakers are intent on cutting budgets, he will ask them to support funding for defense spending. "Senators must choose a side," he has said, in his usual combative style.  

McCain to 'Shame' Senators Over Afghan, Iraqi Visas
Wants an increase in visas for civilians who helped U.S. troops

Arizona Sen. John McCain wants to increase the number of special immigrant visas for Afghan and Iraqi civilians who assisted U.S. troops. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

A provision increasing the number of visas for Afghan and Iraqi civilians who assisted U.S. troops was left out of a sweeping defense authorization bill , but Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain is not giving up without a fight.  

The Armed Services chairman said he is expecting a battle over the issue on the Senate floor when the National Defense Authorization Act comes up next week.  

LGBT Provision Divides GOP
A bipartisan group of lawmakers looks to strip provision they fear is discriminatory

Pennsylvania Rep. Charlie Dent wants to remove a provision that he says could lead to more discrimination. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

When House Republicans added a provision to a sweeping defense bill that appeared to open the door to discrimination in government-wide contracting based on sexuality and gender identity, Democrats objected.  

But when members submitted an amendment to strip that language on the floor this week, it was a Republican who led the charge.  

Standoff Brewing Over LGBT Provision in Defense Bill
Some lawmakers fear proposal could lead to more discrimination

A provision in the defense bill could lead to discrimination against LGBT Americans, say some House members. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)

Some GOP House members are trying to strip a provision from the defense authorization bill that they fear would lead to more discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.  

The provision in question was added during a late-night markup of the National Defense Authorization Act in April. Rep. Steve Russell, R-Okla., offered the amendment , which provides protections and exemptions to "any religious corporation, religious association, religious educational institution, or religious society" that receives a federal contract.  

Obama Condemns ‘Outrageous’ Brussels Attacks
President vows to provide whatever help needed to investigate deadly airport, subway blasts

Soldiers, police officers and medical personnel outside Maelbeek metro station following Tuesday’s attack in Brussels, Belgium. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)

President Barack Obama characterized Tuesday's terror attacks in Brussels that killed more than 30 people “outrageous,” pledging to do whatever necessary to help Belgium.  

Speaking from Havana, Obama said the United States and other countries must "stand in solidarity" to combat "the scourge" of terrorism.