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Defense & Foreign Policy Archive

After 20 Years of Trade Relations, Vietnam and U.S. Look Forward | Commentary

Twenty years ago this month, trade relations between Vietnam and the United States were restored when President Bill Clinton lifted a punishing trade embargo. This was an important step toward normalizing relations between our countries, putting our interactions on a course that continues to deepen, expand and benefit both nations.

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Issa, Cummings Feud Over Investigation Into Navy Yard Security Clearances

In their first hearing examining last year’s Navy Yard shooting, Republicans and Democrats on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee clashed on lessons to be learned from the tragedy.

Pentagon Struggles to Find Solution to Soaring Health Costs

Even as the Defense Department’s budget grew at historic rates during the height of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Pentagon officials began to voice concerns that the military’s rising health care costs would threaten other spending priorities.

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Chambers Consider Reversing Defense Pension Cuts

Both Congress and the Pentagon oppose a cut to military pensions contained in last year’s bipartisan budget deal, but the rush to legislative action underscores a potentially big problem for the military: There is deep reluctance on Capitol Hill to make cost-saving changes to the military’s increasingly expensive benefits and compensation system.

Security Secrets Create Hurdles for Lawmakers

While lawmakers this week were looking to get to the bottom of the recent data breaches at Target and Neiman Marcus and possibly craft legislation to respond to those attacks, they were faced with a stark reality from the investigations: They and the public won’t be getting solid answers anytime soon.

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Retailers Push Back on Proposed Banking Legislation Following Massive Data Security Breaches

Retailers including Target and Neiman Marcus made the rounds on Capitol Hill this week, testifying at three days’ worth of hearings with the dual mission of apologizing for recent large-scale data breaches and discouraging any new regulatory legislation.

It's Time to Listen to What Africans and Latin Americans Really Want | Commentary

As attention shifts to fiscal 2015 appropriations, interest groups, from farmers to big pharma, are all weighing in. But one group is missing from the conversation: the intended beneficiaries of America’s assistance programs abroad.

A New Approach to Iran | Commentary

Serious doubts over the interim agreement with Iran have come swiftly. A “train wreck” is how CNN’s Fareed Zacharia described this agreement following an interview with Iran’s President Rouhani just days after this new compact was announced to the world with glowing optimism.

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Holder Sees Constitutional Basis for Obama's Executive Actions

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. rebutted Republican accusations that President Barack Obama’s use of executive power is unconstitutional during a lengthy Senate oversight hearing Wednesday that touched on policy areas ranging from government surveillance to the dangers of marijuana.

Iran is not Monolithic: When Dealing with Iran, the U.S. Should Have All the Facts | Commentary

The fanatical musings of the Mullahs in Iran and their nuclear ambitions have been on the radar of the U.S. and western analysts for decades. With the Obama administration’s seemingly deep desire to leave a legacy in rapprochement with Iran, it is imperative that Congress provide significant oversight, perspective and, if necessary, intervention to protect the interests of the U.S.

Ships Could Be Essential to Meet Navy Fleet Quota

While the Littoral Combat Ship would fill three distinctive Navy needs — countering submarines, mines and fast small boats — it plays a far larger role for lawmakers and some Navy officials and experts that isn’t laid out in its military specifications.

Littoral Combat Ships Shore Up Support, Despite Their Costs and Questions

The woes and ultimate truncation of a major Pentagon weapon acquisition program has become a Washington cliche.

EPA's Biofuels Proposal Creates National Security Risks | Commentary

The Environmental Protection Agency has long led the way for the development, production and expansion of advanced biofuels through the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). However it appears that later this year, for the first time ever, the EPA may become a roadblock on the path to America’s post-oil future if it issues a change to the RFS that will hobble the growth of advanced biofuels by freezing their volume requirements below 2014 levels.

What Crisis in U.S.-Israeli Relations? | Commentary

The U.S.-Israeli relationship is so popular in the U.S. and the level of collegiality and cooperation is so high, that the slightest disagreement or hostile word leads to a media consensus that a “crisis” between Jerusalem and Washington is upon us.

Modernize Nukes, Save Billions in Taxpayer Dollars | Commentary

While much of the United States was preparing for the holidays, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released a 25-page report outlining the expected cost to modernize U.S. nuclear weapons over the next decade. The 10-year cost of refurbishing nuclear warheads, replacing delivery vehicles, and maintaining and expanding the laboratory infrastructure to support the nuclear arsenal is a colossal $355 billion. Another recent assessment by the Monterey Institute of International Studies pegged the 30-year cost at $1 trillion.

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Obama Tries to Put Snowden Behind Him

President Barack Obama announced a host of tweaks and trims to the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs on Friday, aimed at quelling the firestorm created by Edward Snowden’s leaks.

CodePink Protests Democratic Supporters of Iran Sanctions

With an Iran sanctions bill cruising towards 60 co-sponsors in the Senate, CodePink visited the offices of two vocal Democratic backers on Thursday, trying to steer the measure off a filibuster-proof course.

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Congress Considers the Balancing Act Between Security and Privacy

Former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden’s disclosures about the agency’s surveillance programs have left Congress stuck between two hugely influential groups: a technology industry that’s long been unhappy about forced cooperation with intelligence operations and an intelligence community that says the work is vital to national security.

Telecoms Will Publish Online Privacy Reports

Thanks to federal restrictions, technology companies and communications providers largely have their hands tied when it comes to providing the public with information about how much customer data they turn over to intelligence agencies.

Congress Needs to Offer an Alternative Policy on Syria | Commentary

Last September, Congress played an important role in deflecting U.S. military action in Syria, paving the way for a diplomatic solution that is destroying Syria’s chemical weapons. Today, bipartisan leaders of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee lament the Obama administration’s “lack of strategy” to end the spreading violence. Yet, as the “Geneva 2” peace conference looms, the critics are not offering an alternative policy.




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