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Friday, July 11, 2014

Critical Issues in the Senate Defense Appropriations Bill

  Service members from the Senegal Military Police, United States Army, United States Marines and Senegalese Paratroopers stand in formation for Exercise Western Accord opening ceremony [US Army Africa photo by by Staff Sgt. Donna Davis, 6/16/14]As the Senate begins consideration of Pentagon spending next week, several issues in the proposed defense budget warrant closer scrutiny. The Defense Appropriations Bill will be marked up at the subcommittee level next week and legislators should pay careful attention to  the Administration’s proposals for a Counterterrorism Partnerships Fund (CTPF) and European Reassurance Initiative (ERI); both programs have been framed with sound policy objectives, but Congress should not fund these expensive measures without greater clarity about their implementation, which could circumvent base defense budget caps and critical human rights… Read More ›

FY15 BudgetOCO BudgetPoliticsFriday, June 27, 2014

Overseas Contingency Operations Funding: Vigilance Required

Overseas Contingency Operations Funding: Vigilance Required June 27, 2014 Yesterday, the White House submitted its Fiscal Year 2015 request for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) funding. The request totaled $65.8 billion – what would be the  fifth highest-funded military in the world if it were a stand-alone force – $58.6 billion of which is slated for the Pentagon. While modestly below last year’s $80 billion, this year’s request appears larger than necessary to fund ongoing contingency operations given that the expected cost of war in Afghanistan this year was previously cited at $20 billion by administration officials. This $40 billion difference fuels the bipartisan concern already voiced by lawmakers that OCO dollars will continue to be used as a slush fund to avoid the spending caps… Read More ›

NATOOCO BudgetT-TIPUkraineWednesday, June 4, 2014

Challenges and Opportunities in Europe

 Challenges and Opportunities in Europe June 4, 2014 This week, President Obama is meeting with European leaders to discuss security and economic issues amidst continued uncertainty surrounding Ukraine’s future and recent European elections. The European tour offers the opportunity to further the kind of multilateral leadership the President reiterated during his foreign policy speech at West Point last week. And there’s no shortage of challenges. With uneasy NATO allies in Eastern Europe, the United States must offer right-sized reassurance to partners without unnecessarily provoking a Russian response. While this mark may have been hit by Obama’s announced $1 billion initiative to adjust U.S. military activity in Europe, follow-through will depend upon finding the right funding sources in the Pentagon’s half-a-trillion-dollar base budget. While Ukraine’s recent… Read More ›

Frank KnappFriday, May 30, 2014

John Bradshaw on Progressive Talk Radio Discussing Pentagon Budget with Frank Knapp

  A member of the 380th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron assists in the removal of the temporary landing gear on a U-2 April 19, 2014, in Southwest Asia. [U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Russ Scalf, 4/20/13]Progressive Talk Radio’s Frank Knapp interviews NSN’s John Bradshaw on the NDAA May 30, 2014 | Frank Knapp Show On Frank Knapp’s “U Need 2 Know,” radio program, Executive Director for the National Security Network, John Bradshaw, discussed the House’s defiance of the Pentagon over its defense budget in the recent passage of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Uncharacteristically, the House Armed Services Committee went against the Pentagon’s request for a more realistic budget to accommodate its shifting defense strategies. The House’s budget included measures to overhaul outdated… Read More ›

AUMFGuantanamoNDAAOCO BudgetWednesday, May 21, 2014

Improving the House NDAA: Top 5 Amendments

Improving the House NDAA: Top 5 Amendments May 21, 2014 This afternoon, the House will debate and vote on floor amendments to the FY 2015 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The NDAA has so far been riddled with problematic provisions in terms of both Pentagon budget andpolicy issues. But a number of the offered amendments can improve the House version of the bill. In terms of policy, Congress has the opportunity to approve measures that would clear the way for closing the Guantanamo Bay detention facility and allow the trial of detainees in the U.S. federal court system. There is also a measure that would sunset the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), something consistent with avoiding the risk of perpetual war and capitalizing on gains… Read More ›

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Gordon Adams and Lawrence Korb Quoted in Army Times after Pentagon Budget Press Call

Pay reform unlikely for years, budget experts say Critics say House committee members ‘chose pork and hardware over readiness’ By Leo Shane III May 14, 2014 | Army Times Meaningful military compensation reform is likely years away, and even then will happen only if the White House insists on a major overhaul, defense budget experts said Wednesday. In a conference call with reporters, a panel of progressive defense critics with the National Security Network blasted the House Armed Services Committee’s recently passed defense authorization bill for fiscal 2015, calling it a shortsighted plan that ducks budget realities. Committee members “chose pork and hardware over readiness,” said Gordon Adams, a former Clinton administration defense budget official. “They seem to imagine a parallel future where defense budgets… Read More ›

FY15 BudgetGuantanamoIranNDAARussiaWednesday, May 14, 2014

Top Policy Problems in the NDAA

Top Policy Problems in the NDAA May 14, 2014 Last week, NSN discussed key ways the current House version of the FY 2015 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) hampers smart and effective Pentagon spending. But problems with the NDAA are not only budgetary. The bill also includes policy provisions that would undermine U.S. national security. The legislation that was marked up by the House Armed Services Committee last week includes measures that would hurt the chances of a comprehensive deal with Iran over the nuclear issue by suddenly changing the subject to broader and non-nuclear concerns and provisions that would continue to forestall the closure of Guantanamo despite the cost the facility imposes on America’s image and ability to conduct diplomacy abroad. The bill also… Read More ›

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Press Call: Pentagon Budget

Pentagon Budget: Insights into the NDAA Wednesday, May 14, 2014 9:00 AM Eastern Time The Pentagon Budget Campaign co-hosts press call with the National Security Network. With the full House of Representatives preparing to consider the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the experts on this call will provide insights into some of the contentious issues that might arise during the debate. The experts will also discuss questions surrounding the Overseas Contingency Operations account, and assess the impacts of sequestration on the Defense Department. Speakers, Gordon Adams Professor of International Relations at the School of International Service, American University Dr. Adams served as Associate Director for National Security and International Affairs at the Office of Management and Budget, from 1991 through 1997. In that position he… Read More ›

F-35FY15 BudgetNDAAOCO BudgetFriday, May 9, 2014

Playing Politics with the Post-War Drawdown

Playing Politics with the Post-War Drawdown May 9, 2014 This week, the House Armed Services Committee completed its markup of the FY 2015 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). While the bill respects the caps on Pentagon spending, it misses the opportunity to make hard and smart choices about weapons programs and reforms to help the Pentagon adapt to future threats and budgetary realities. By forestalling these choices to protect pet in-district projects, the current bill exacerbates the challenge of responsibly managing the post-war drawdown. The bill includes funding for weapon systems the military didn’t ask for – like upgrades to tanks the Army doesn’t want and more funding for aircraft carriers the Navy didn’t request – that ultimately tie the Pentagon’s hands in adapting the… Read More ›

F-35FY15 BudgetNDAAOCO BudgetWednesday, April 30, 2014

Putting Pentagon Spending in Context

Putting Pentagon Spending in Context April 30, 2014 This week, House Armed Services subcommittees are preparing their portions of the Fiscal Year 2015 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that will go before the full committee next week. This year’s NDAA and appropriations process will have to navigate a number of tough issues, especially the addition of more money to the Administration’s $496 billion request for the Pentagon by way of budget gimmicks to skirt the caps on spending imposed by the Budget Control Act. Such back-door increases are unnecessary and fail to appreciate the proper context in which Pentagon spending should be assessed. In a global and strategic context, total U.S. military expenditures remain well above the Cold War average and are multiple times larger… Read More ›

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