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Defense & Foreign Policy Archive

Who Made Who: BRAC Came From Congress

Closing big military bases has always been politically difficult, given the economic benefits of their payrolls and purchases to surrounding areas. Congress made it even more difficult in 1977 with a law restricting the militaryís ability to shed excess infrastructure.

Back in BRAC: Advocates Say It's Been Too Long

Rep. Adam Smith, the ranking Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee, was trying again this week to persuade his colleagues that they should allow a round of military base closings and realignments in the interest of saving money.

Japan Taps Lobbyists to Bolster U.S. Ties

The government of Japan knows its way around K Street.

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A Cybersecurity Turf War at Home and Abroad

The House passed not one, but two, bills last week to provide immunity from consumer lawsuits to companies that share with each other, and with the government, information about cyber-threats and attacks on their networks.

Sharing Threat Intel Is Voluntary in New Bills

Neither cybersecurity bill passed by the House last week would require that companies share information about cyber-threats. Itís voluntary.

Congress Must Act to Protect Military Readiness | Commentary

Military readiness and federal regulation of the greater sage grouse ó a bird ó are not things the average American would consider connected but unless Congress acts, they may well be.

Appropriations Markup Puts GOP in Tough Position Of Balancing Defense, Veterans Spending

The Military Construction and Veterans Affairs bill House appropriators planned to mark up Wednesday clearly illustrates the dilemma of Republican congressional leaders this year in trying to hold the line or reduce spending while not shortchanging their most sacrosanct areas of government ó national defense and the care of veterans.

Congress' Surveillance Views Have Changed

When Congress last reauthorized the Patriot Act in 2011, it went fairly easily. A majority of House Democrats objected, but support was strong among House Republicans and in both parties in the Senate. But lawmakers began to have second thoughts last year.

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Conservatives Push for Patriot Act Limits as June 1 Expiration Date Nears

With key provisions of the Patriot Act set to expire on June 1, conservative advocacy groups are telling Republican lawmakers they should make significant changes to the governmentís authority to collect data about Americans.

Iran Bill One Vote Away From Veto-Proof Majority

A key Iran bill moved this week to being just one vote away from having the necessary Senate support to overcome a promised presidential veto. However, the Thursday release of a framework for a political agreement with Tehran has added enough new variables to the congressional debate that it could enable the White House to peel away some Democratic supporters of the legislation.

New Top Dem on Foreign Relations Offers Cautious Support for Iran Bill

The new top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Thursday offered guarded support for high-profile legislation on Iran that is scheduled to be voted on shortly after Congress returns from its recess.

Lobbyists-Turned-Staffers Disclose Salaries, Clients

Lobbyists who left K Street in recent months to take jobs on Capitol Hill left behind big salaries and numerous clients that have a stake in the debates their new bosses are engaged in.

Obama Policies Favor Illegal Immigrants Over American Citizens | Commentary

We have immigration laws in this country for two basic reasons: to preserve American jobs and to protect national security. President Barack Obamaís unlawful executive actions to grant amnesty to at least 5 million illegal immigrants violate both of those principles. Any objective review must find that the presidentís policies have placed the concerns of those who have broken our laws ahead of the interests of citizens and legal residents of the United States.

No Iran Nuclear Treaty Without Congressional Action | Commentary

Iran is on course to develop nuclear weapons. Few foreign policy challenges pose a greater threat to the security of the United States and our allies. To permanently and verifiably prevent Iranian nuclear weapons, America must be united and resolute. History and common sense indicate this is more likely if congressional approval is required of any final agreement negotiated by the president.

Crystal and Shamrock Ritual Obscures Irish Economic Woes

It's one of Washington's most time-worn rituals: the St. Patrick's Day journey of Ireland's Prime Minster, or Taoiseach, to the White House with a group of Irish dignitaries to present the sitting president with a crystal bowl of Shamrocks. Ireland's Enda Kenny posed for the cameras today with President Barack Obama and the story behind the photo op said more about Ireland's current economic state than the tradition itself, which dates back to John F. Kennedyís day.

Pentagon to 'Adversaries': Space Is Not A Good Place to Start War

Worried that U.S. military satellites have become increasingly vulnerable to attack, the Pentagon plans to spend a scarce $5 billion on new initiatives over the next five years to protect them.

The Right Way to Sanction Iran | Commentary

While lawmakers discuss how best to undo the nuclear deal President Barack Obama and his team have diligently pursued over the past 18 months, they leave fallow a far more important and positive area in which they could contribute: How to respond in the event a deal is not reached.

Congress Must Bind Iran's Nuclear Program ... or Else | Commentary

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu didnít spell out an effective way to block Iranís path to the bomb in his address to Congress. If Netanyahu were more candid, he would acknowledge the only way to achieve his aims is through military strikes rather than negotiations. In this event, Iran would have far more reason to build nuclear weapons. If members of Congress who favor an agreement were candid, they would acknowledge it will weaken global norms for non-proliferation. If, however, Congress kills a deal that effectively constrains Iranís nuclear capabilities, the consequences for proliferation will be far worse.

Cooking Up Food Aid Reform | Commentary

As a chef, itís my job to feed people delicious, fresh and nutritious food in a reasonable amount of time. Doing this well is often a race against the clock and it always requires working together.

Budget Panels Attempt to Please Caucus Factions

Republicans on the House and Senate Budget committees are striving to craft fiscal 2016 budget resolutions tailored to win the support of their divergent GOP caucuses, but still similar enough to allow for compromise.

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