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Defense & Foreign Policy Archive

Pentagon Must Follow Lengthy Process to Shutter Bases, Cut Excess Military Infrastructure

The process for shedding excess military infrastructure is unlike any other in government.

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House Bill Lays Foundation for Future Base Closings

The House Armed Services Committee is opening the door ever so slightly to the possibility of another Base Closure and Realignment Commission, laying the preliminary groundwork in its version of the fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill for the Pentagon to begin the lengthy and painful process of shuttering unneeded installations.

To Stand With Israel, Give Aid to the Palestinian Authority | Commentary

Any doubts surrounding Sen. Rand Paul’s presidential ambitions were cleared up this past week when he proposed the “Stand With Israel Act” (S. 2265). However, the bill’s good ideas are not new, and its new ideas are not good. The legislation calls for all U.S. aid to the Palestinian Authority (PA) to be suspended until it publicly recognizes Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state, purged everyone from the security services with ties to terrorism and renounced terrorism more generally, stopped supporting anyone responsible for anti-Israeli or anti-American incitement, publicly committed to no longer fighting Israel, and honored it’s previous diplomatic commitments. Demanding the PA recognize Israel’s right to exist is a good idea, but it’s already on the books; threatening to cut off aid from the PA for a litany of reasons is a new idea, but would likely backfire.

A Big Win for American Manufacturers | Commentary

Right now, we send millions of dollars — and potentially American jobs — overseas when we purchase footwear for the brave men and women serving our country. But Acting Deputy Secretary of Defense Christine H. Fox recently called me to let me know about a shift in Department of Defense policy as it relates to the procurement of athletic footwear for our service members — and the decision is nothing short of a huge win for American manufacturers.

In Dealing With Iran, Human Rights Must Have Priority | Commentary

Iran has maintained its constant place as a generator of trouble on the international scene. When concern over Iran’s nuclear program subsides temporarily, concern about its meddling in countries in the region surface; when those concerns subside, its state sponsorship of terrorism takes the center stage. Suppression and flagrant violations of human rights, the regime’s main tools of governance, have a permanent place in the litany of concerns.

Making History Together: Strengthening the U.S.-Irish Relationship | Commentary

The United States and the island of Ireland have had a storied transatlantic history. The George J. Mitchell Scholarship is one way we honored this legacy, a vibrant reminder of the U.S. senator who brokered the Good Friday Agreement that ended the Troubles in Northern Ireland. The scholarship enabled students and leaders to serve as modern-day ambassadors and stewards of the U.S.-Ireland relationship.

Let the Diplomats do the Driving with Iran | Commentary

As the United States and Iran begin a new round of expert-level talks in New York next week, Congress must resist the urge to back-seat drive the diplomatic process. While our diplomats are working to drive us toward a deal guarding against a war and a nuclear-armed Iran, some members of Congress have tried to take the wheel and steer us in a different direction.

WGDB: John McCain Laughs at Ted Cruz

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The United States and Cuba Should Play Ball | Commentary

It was late afternoon on a hot day in Havana. Since 8:30 a.m., we’d been in a series of meetings, in which we’d discussed everything from the state of U.S.-Cuba relations, to the structure of the Cuban government, to the future of foreign investment in Cuba. We were badly in need of a break. Fortunately, our last meeting was about sports education, and so a short while later, as the day cooled off, we found ourselves outside on a diamond, speaking a language our long-estranged nations have in common: pickup baseball.

218: House Members Push for Open Debate on NSA Snooping

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

218: Biden Meets U.S. Congressional Delegation in Ukraine

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

WGDB: Menendez Not Staying Quiet at Foreign Relations

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Lessons Learned From Successful Iran Diplomacy | Commentary

Despite warnings that the first-step nuclear deal with Iran is a “historic mistake,” it is safe to say that the sky is not falling. In fact, at the halfway mark of the implementation of the Joint Plan of Action, it is clear that Iran is upholding its commitments — and is actually ahead of schedule in eliminating its stockpile of 20 percent enriched uranium.

Cuban Twitter: Not as Silly (or Stupid) as it Sounds | Commentary

When the Associated Press revealed that the State Department’s U.S. Agency for International Development had funded ZunZuneo as a sort of Twitter for Cuba, it provoked peals of laughter, ridicule and criticism. Sen. Patrick J. Leahy called it “dumb, dumb, dumb.” The senator has a point. The program did not last more than two years and USAID’s attempt to hide the U.S. government’s involvement in it clearly failed. In other words, the only the thing ZunZuneo did was embarrass the American people; Cubans are not more free and ZunZuneo has gone the way of many tech startups: failure and dissolution.

Fears of Israeli Spying Underlie Reluctance on Visa Waiver Program

Lawmakers and staffers on two House committees are concerned that admitting Israel to a program that eases entry of foreigners into the United States would increase the risk of Israeli espionage, congressional aides say.

Defense Hawks May Look to Boost Competition in Air Force Satellite Launches

The Air Force’s space program is facing tough scrutiny on Capitol Hill as influential lawmakers in both parties publicly question the service’s commitment to competition in the increasingly lucrative area of satellite launches.

Russian Engine Used in Atlas V Rocket Under Scrutiny

The Pentagon has launched a review to determine whether using a Russian-built rocket engine to launch military satellites has any national security implications, following Russia’s seizure and annexation of Crimea.

Republicans Poised to Slam Obama on Defense

Republicans are likely to pounce on the Pentagon’s $34 billion list of unfunded priorities as evidence that President Barack Obama is intentionally underfunding the military.

The US-China Relationship Begins With Our Young People | Commentary

First Lady Michelle Obama recently traveled to China to promote educational exchange, and she called on young Americans — from every background, every walk of life — to study in China, learn Mandarin and forge friendships that will deepen cross-cultural understanding. Her message: Understanding China is a critical skill, one that all Americans must gain in order to compete, collaborate and succeed in the 21st century.

Filling Gaps in the Fight Against Nuclear Terror | Commentary

A little past midnight at a gas station in Mexico a man approached a car, forced the driver and passenger out at gunpoint and bound them in an empty parking lot before driving off. In the carjacked vehicle was Cobalt-60, a highly radioactive material that could be used to make a dirty bomb. The radioactive cargo disappeared for two days before eventually being recovered.

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