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Defense & Foreign Policy Archive

Customs and Border Protection Authorization Act Can Improve Trade, Training and Stakeholder Engagement at the Border | Commentary

The U.S. Mexico Border Mayors Association is heartened by Congressional steps these past few weeks to formally authorize the security functions of U.S. Customs and Border Protection for the first time since the Department of Homeland Security was created in 2002.

U.S. and Vietnam Share Human Rights Agenda | Commentary

Visiting Vietnam last December, 44 years after he first arrived as a U.S. Navy officer, Secretary of State John Kerry spoke movingly about how our nations are putting the past behind us.

White House Ducks Questions on Deporting Child Migrants

The Obama administration stressed Monday that child migrants entering the country illegally must go through deportation proceedings, but continued to avoid answering questions about how many of them actually show up and end up getting deported.

Don't Cut Programs that Help Communities Adjust to Pentagon Spending Reductions | Commentary

Spring budget season is almost over, and the House and Senate have once again placed parochial politics above budget discipline in their consideration of the Pentagon budget. The most extreme example came in the House version of the National Defense Authorization Act, which rejected virtually every cost-cutting measure put forward by the Pentagon, from base closings to retiring unneeded weapons systems. If the Houses actions arent reversed, they would bust the current budget caps to the tune of $50 billion over the next five years.

One Year Later: Snowden Disclosures' Effect on Secret Laws| Commentary

One year ago, on June 5, 2013, Edward Snowden revealed that he had provided several reporters with access to documents he had taken from the National Security Agency. The subsequent carefully researched and thoughtfully written stories blew the lid off much of the secrecy that the National Security Agency, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, the Department of Justice, and the intelligence community had imposed on the communications surveillance in which our government had been engaging.

Honoring Frank Lautenberg's Legacy for Refugees | Commentary

Growing up poor as the son of Jewish immigrants in Paterson, New Jersey, Frank R. Lautenberg became a fighter not just for the people of New Jersey, but also for those living in danger many thousands of miles away.

White House Boosts Response to Surge in Child Migrants

President Barack Obama ordered the creation of a high-level working group to respond to the recent surge in unaccompanied immigrant children, following congressional criticism that he has neglected to acknowledge the extra money and effort needed to handle the crisis.

If it Ain't Broke, Don't Fix it: Grimm Situations May Occur | Commentary

Americans have a funny penchant for fixin things that aint broke. American voters, in particular, really like to fix things. We regularly vote elected officials out of office who are doing a fine job in favor of someone else who seems newer and shinier only to find later that we have chosen badly and have to live with the grim results.

Even Nuclear Planners Can't Have It All | Commentary

Congress is conducting its annual debate over the defense budget and programs in the National Defense Authorization Act. Sadly missing is a debate over the nuclear weapons budget. The United States plans to spend more than $1 trillion over the next thirty years to maintain and modernize its nuclear arsenal. Some of this spending is truly needed and can help ensure that Washington maintains a safe, secure, and effective arsenal to defend itself and its allies. But many of the projects are too expensive or redundant, and out of step with todays strategic and budgetary environment. Put simply, the United States does not need a penetrating stealth bomber, a new air dropped bomb AND a long-range standoff cruise missile armed with nuclear weapons on top of a new submarine and new ICBM. Priorities have to be set and choice have to be made.

Alone, Illegal and Underage: The Child Migrant Crisis

On Americas southern border, officials have watched for the past few years as a trickle of children crossing the Rio Grande illegally without their parents has turned into a veritable flood. So many kids, in fact, that the issue has triggered a crisis, as Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson had to issue an emergency alert this month establishing a shelter at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas to house the thousands of youths entering each week.

Egyptian Presidential Election Opportunity to Renew Strategic Partnership | Commentary

In the coming days, Egypt will elect a new president. This will be a historic moment for the people of Egypt and an important step in the journey that they began more than three years ago, when millions took to the streets to demand change.

Chairman McKeon: Apres Moi, le Deluge | Commentary

No matter your position on the Pentagons choices regarding force structure, weapons and doctrine, one has to give the building some credit for attempting to face up to the current tough budgetary environment.

The EA-18G Growler: A Milestone and a Call to Action | Commentary

I was proud to celebrate recently with thousands of Boeing Co. aerospace workers in St. Louis and across the country as they delivered the 100th EA-18G Growler to the Navy, on time and on budget. Thats a feat in and of itself at a time when other defense contracts get more attention for cost overruns and delays.

Look West, Ukraine | Commentary

Russian tanks rolling toward Ukraine, citizens being attacked and buildings burning to the ground. One would think these images came from the days after World War II, but sadly history is repeating itself.

The Critical Infrastructure Protection Act | Commentary

On Thursday, May 8 at 2 p.m., in Cannon 311, my expert colleagues and I testified in an open hearing on the threat of electromagnetic pulse to critical infrastructures. The hearing will prepare members of the Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection and Security Technologies to consider a vitally important bill, arguably the most important bill before this Congress the Critical Infrastructure Protection Act (HR 3410) that would prepare the nation for a natural or nuclear EMP catastrophe.

Congress Should Support, Not Sabotage, Nuclear Talks with Iran | Commentary

Reaching a comprehensive nuclear deal with Iran faces formidable challenges. As negotiators meet in Vienna this week to begin drafting a long-term deal that will limit Irans nuclear program, they do not need the U.S. Congress throwing additional roadblocks onto the path.

Letter From Yemen: How to Undermine al-Qaida | Commentary

For many in Congress, Yemen evokes a predominantly negative image, one characterized by al-Qaida. Recent targeting of German and Russian nationals in Sanaa doesnt help. Preparing for my recent trip there, I was warned about kidnapping. While kidnapping of foreigners is not uncommon, my time in Yemen offers a more positive perspective.

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 Pauls presidential ambitions were cleared up this past week when he proposed the Stand With Israel Act (S. 2265). However, the bills 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 Israels 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 its previous diplomatic commitments. Demanding the PA recognize Israels right to exist is a good idea, but its 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.

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