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AppointmentsBarack ObamaDepartment of Homeland SecurityExecutive BranchGridlockHeather HurlburtJeh JohnsonSenateSaturday, December 21, 2013

Heather Hurlburt Quoted In Politico On New Cabinet Appointees

Obama appointees may launch 2014 policy blitz By Darren Samuelsohn and Manu Raju December 21, 2013 | Politico The Senate may be drenched in dysfunction, but it still just gave President Barack Obama a much-appreciated Christmas present: a whole bunch of freshly confirmed agency appointees. Thanks to Harry Reid’s filibuster changes, a spate of Obama appointees are headed to many of the vital departments involved in implementing the regulations, policy and executive functions that Congress won’t be touching next year — and they won’t have to worry about Senate Republicans anymore. … “These are the people who make government go and make their bosses look good,” added Heather Hurlburt, senior adviser at the National Security Network. For the original piece, click here. Read More ›

IranFriday, December 20, 2013

Proposed Legislation Would Undermine Efforts to Prevent a Nuclear Iran

Yesterday, Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Mark Kirk (R-IL) introduced new legislation that could increase sanctions on Iran and compel the United States to support Israel if it launches a pre-emptive attack on the Iranian nuclear program.  If passed, such a measure from Congress would likely be seen as a violation of the international agreement negotiated between the P5+1 and Iran last month in Geneva, which is why President Barack Obama has issued a veto threat. The legislation would essentially derail the already delicate international negotiations, as a recent intelligence assessment found. The collapse of talks would leave few options to prevent a nuclear Iran, all of which are less likely than diplomacy to achieve the goal. As NSN Executive Director John Bradshaw said in… Read More ›

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

An Improved NDAA Still Misses Target on Managing Drawdown

The recently finalized version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) is expected to pass before Congress leaves for the holidays. While the final version of the bill yields some improvement from the earlier House version – and takes some steps backward from the Senate version – it nonetheless contains a number of examples of expenses that should not be part of a well-managed drawdown. The bill authorizes the Pentagon to spend over $550 billion on its base budget for FY14. That’s more than $30 billion above the already increased caps on spending that would be put in place by the Ryan-Murray budget deal and would therefore trigger another round of sequester (unless appropriators reduce the amount given to DoD to be in line with… Read More ›

diplomacyMonday, December 16, 2013

Top Diplomatic Setbacks of 2013

Last week, NSN explored the Top Five Diplomatic Efforts of 2013, taking a look at the past year and a number of initiatives at conflict prevention and economic growth. But 2013 has also seen a number of setbacks for advancing America’s security, some resulting from Congressional actions and others from intractable challenges such as Syria, which presented no good options for the international community as the humanitarian crisis continues to spiral downward.  Diplomatic setbacks of 2013 include: Canceling Asia trip because of the government shutdown. The government shutdown in October had a negative impact on perceptions of America’s standing in the world. Most notably, the shutdown affected the Asia rebalance, a long term priority for U.S. foreign policy. Because of the battles with conservatives in… Read More ›

diplomacyHeather HurlburtIranFriday, December 13, 2013

Heather Hurlburt Quoted In The Heritage Florida Jewish News On Iranian-French Nuclear Talks

Why is France taking a harder line on Iran than the United States? By Ron Kampeas and Cnaan Liphshiz December 13, 2013 | Heritage Florida Jewish News WASHINGTON (JTA)-When reports emerged over the weekend that France’s hard line was responsible for the failure of negotiations over Iran’s suspected nuclear weapons program, supporters and critics of the diplomatic push resorted to familiar stereotypes. Conservatives scoffed that even the conflict-averse French had outflanked President Obama. Leftists accused Laurent Fabius, the French foreign minister, of doing Israel’s bidding.   For the original piece, click here. Read More ›

diplomacyFriday, December 13, 2013

Top Five Diplomatic Efforts of 2013

This year has seen a number of important developments in diplomacy. Efforts at conflict prevention and trade promotion were high on the agenda for U.S. foreign policy. 2013 saw progress on a number of issues that have been worked on for years, even decades. While there remains work to be done on all of these issues, notable advances have been made in a number of areas. Earlier this week, Secretary of State John Kerry addressed a conference held by Foreign Policy magazine highlighting a number of diplomatic efforts underway. As John Bradshaw, NSN executive director who previously served as a career foreign service officer, said in response, “Secretary Kerry has reminded us of a powerful proposition that had been lost in a decade of reflexive, ‘first… Read More ›

Thursday, December 12, 2013

NSN Mentioned In Politico’s Morning Defense Brief On Latest Budget Deal

House to vote on bipartisan budget deal today — NDAA is also up for a vote — Hagel talks to Ukrainian counterpart By Kate Brennan December 12, 2013 | Politico With Jonathan Topaz, Leigh Munsil and Philip Ewing BUDGET DEAL UPDATE: House Republicans are preparing to vote on the bipartisan budget agreement crafted by Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) later today, reports POLITICO’s Jake Sherman. “Despite some conservative opposition inside and outside the Capitol, Speaker John Boehner and his leadership team are confident they will secure enough votes from House Republicans to pass the bill,” Sherman writes. http://politi.co/1fkslbj   For the original piece, click here. Read More ›

Department of DefenseNDAAThursday, December 12, 2013

Paul Eaton Quoted In National Defense Magazine On DoD Budget

Budget Deal Moves Goalposts to 2016 By Sandra I. Erwin December 12, 2013 | National Defense A bipartisan budget accord reached this week by congressional negotiators — and not yet approved by the House or Senate — gives the Defense Department a big break from the sequester. The concern now for the defense sector is whether the Pentagon will seize the budget deal as an opportunity to shape a new debate on defense priorities. “The question now is how does the Defense Department get ready for 2016?” asked Charles F. Wald, retired Air Force general and head of the Deloitte defense practice.   For the original piece, click here. Read More ›

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Budget Deal: Pentagon Gets Unneeded Increases but Still Faces Longer-term Drawdown

On Tuesday evening, a deal was announced to increase the Budget Control Act (BCA) caps imposed on defense and non-defense discretionary spending. For the Pentagon, if passed, the deal would increase the BCA caps by $22 billion in FY14 to $520 billion (up from $498 billion) and $9 billion in FY15 to $521 billion (up from $512 billion). While the need for these funds is questionable – especially given the level of Pentagon resources even before the deal far outmatch any conceivable competitor in the world – the longer-term defense drawdown would continue as the BCA caps after FY15 remain untouched. That means the Department of Defense still has the need to make smart choices to reduce spending while maintaining military power, only now with… Read More ›

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