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December 2012

Dec 11 2012

McKeon: National security and economy affected by more military cuts

The Foreign Policy Initiative, writers from the Washington Examiner and New York Post weigh in.

Chairman McKeon on Bloomberg TV
Appearing on Bloomberg TV 's "Street Smart," House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon discussed how further defense cuts, in addition to the $487 billion already made, would not only affect our national security, but also have a negative impact on our economy. 


FPI Analysis: Don’t Throw National Defense Off Fiscal Cliff

“...further cuts to Pentagon spending risks imperiling national security.” …

“Second, the Pentagon’s leaders have repeatedly warned that President Obama’s defense budget for FY 2013—which cuts $487 billion from core annual spending over 10 years—is the absolute floor for funding the military’s current strategy to defend the United States.”  …

“Contrary to the prevailing wisdom, defense spending has been repeatedly cut in recent years.” …

“Domestic spending—not national defense spending—has been and continues to be the primary driver of total federal spending, and therefore the primary driver of America’s federal debt.” … 

Hugh Hewitt: Rescuing Defense from the fiscal hostage crisis
Washington Examiner

“…I interviewed Tom Donnelly, Mackenzie Eaglen, and Gary Schmitt of the American Enterprise Institute and Max Boot of the Council on Foreign Relations -- all experts on the Pentagon and the impacts of the cuts should they fall….  All of those voices and there are many more, are unanimous in urging that the mindless cutting at the Pentagon be stopped. The president pledged that it would not occur during the campaign. So why are our troops and the equipment on which they depend and the comfort and safety of their families part of the hostage negotiations over tax rates, spending cuts and entitlement reform?” 

Arthur Herman: Gutting US defense - The other fiscal-cliff fallout
The New York Post

“If our Pentagon ends up going over the fiscal cliff, it will set off the most decisive shift in the balance of world power since the fall of the Berlin Wall.” …

“We end up with armed forces less willing and able to project power or put their remaining assets at risk—and an America with a smaller strategic footprint than at any time since the end of the Vietnam War. By the way, the cuts have grim implications for the US economy, too. A study by George Mason’s Stephen Fuller puts the impact at a loss of nearly 1 million defense-related jobs — many of them union jobs — and an $86.5 billion drop in national GDP.” …

“In short, defense cuts are going to further weaken an already feeble economy — even as friends and foes alike start the countdown on the decline of American power around the world.”

November 2012

Nov 01 2012

Washington Post: Lingering Questions about Benghazi

"The Obama administration needs to level with the country,"

The Washington Post’s David Ignatius asks in a recent Op-Ed, “Lingering questions about Benghazi”:

...So what did happen on the night of Sept. 11, when Woods, Ambassador Christopher Stevens and two others were killed? The best way to establish the facts would be a detailed, unclassified timeline of events; officials say that they are preparing one and that it may be released this week. That’s a must, even in the campaign’s volatile final week. In the meantime, here’s a summary of some of the issues that need to be clarified. ...

…. Was it wise to depend on a Libyan militia that clearly wasn’t up to the job? Could it have made a difference for those under attack at the consulate if [Tyrone] Woods had moved out as soon as he was, in one official’s words, “saddled and ready”?

"Second, why didn’t the United States send armed drones or other air assistance to Benghazi immediately? …

What more could have been done? A Joint Special Operations Command team was moved that night to Sigonella air base in Sicily, for quick deployment to Benghazi or any of the other U.S. facilities in danger that night across North Africa. Armed drones could also have been sent. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta summarized last Thursday the administration’s decision to opt for caution: 'You don’t deploy forces into harm’s way without knowing what’s going on.'

…. The Obama administration needs to level with the country about why it made its decisions.

September 2012

Sep 27 2012

WSJ Editorial: The Libya Debacle

"The more we learn, the more Benghazi looks like a gross security failure."

Read the full article

"None of the initial explanations offered by the White House and State Department since the assault on the Benghazi consulate has held up. First the Administration blamed protests provoked by an amateurish anti-Islam clip posted on YouTube. Cue Susan Rice, the U.N. Ambassador and leading candidate for Secretary of State in a second Obama term: 'What happened initially was that it was a spontaneous reaction . . . as a consequence of the video, that people gathered outside the embassy and then it grew very violent.'"


"Journalists have stayed on the case, however, and their reporting is filling in the Administration's holes. On Friday, our WSJ colleagues showed that starting in spring, U.S. intelligence had been worried about radical militias in eastern Libya. These armed groups helped topple Moammar Ghadhafi last year but weren't demobilized as a new government has slowly found its legs. As we've noted since last winter, the waning of American and European interest in Libya could have dangerous consequences."

"Deteriorating security was no secret. On April 10, for example, an explosive device was thrown at a convoy carrying U.N. envoy Ian Martin. On June 6, an improvised explosive device exploded outside the U.S. consulate. In late August, State warned American citizens who were planning to travel to Libya about the threat of assassinations and car bombings."

Despite all this, U.S. diplomatic missions had minimal security. Officials told the Journal that the Administration put too much faith in weak Libyan police and military forces. The night of the Benghazi attack, four lightly armed Libyans and five American security officers were on duty. The complex lacked smoke-protection masks and fire extinguishers. Neither the consulate in Benghazi nor the embassy in Tripoli were guarded by U.S. Marines, whose deployment to Libya wasn't a priority.

Read the full article

Sep 27 2012

House Members Seek Answers on Libya Terrorist Attack

House Chairmen, Reps. Thornberry, Turner Continue to Press for Information


Fox Special Report Highlights House Letter to President on Libya

Rep. Mac Thornberry on CNN Outfront to Discuss Unanswered Questions on Libya
Rep. Michael Turner on CNN to Discuss Breaking News on Libya

Sep 20 2012

Sequestration Begins: Northrop Grumman says it wil cut its payroll by nearly 600 employees

U.S. Air Force says it may cancel Boeing Refueling Tanker Contract because of coming defense cuts

"Northrop to shed nearly 600 jobs"                                  
"Responding to proposed Pentagon budget cuts, Northrop accepts buyouts from about 590 workers in its aerospace unit....."

"In January 2011, Boeing cut 900 jobs at its sprawling Long Beach plant, where it builds C-17 cargo jets. Later that year, Lockheed Martin Corp. cut about 1,500 positions across its aeronautics business, including jobs in California. Northrop cut 500 jobs in its aerospace division last year."


The Los Angeles Times
September 18, 2012
Read Full Article by W.J. Hennigan Here

"In another wallop to Southern California's aerospace industry, defense giant Northrop Grumman Corp. said it is preparing to trim its payroll by nearly 600 workers. Responding to billions of dollars in proposed Pentagon budget cuts, Northrop confirmed it has accepted buyouts from about 590 employees in its aerospace division. Most employees participating in the voluntary buyout program, which began in July, will leave by the end of September. The rest will remain as long as Dec. 14.

'Because of defense budget uncertainties and pressures on current and projected business, we must adjust our budgets by the end of this year to be prepared to meet the challenges of what shapes up as a demanding 2013," Northrop spokesman Thomas Henson said in a statement. "This is a necessary step to address the affordability that will allow us to effectively compete in a very cost-conscious marketplace.'"


"Under a law approved last year, federal funds of all kinds would be held back, or "sequestered," until there is budget agreement, at which time the funds may be reinstated. The buzzword used by contractors for the cutbacks is "sequestration."

Although there is much speculation about whether Congress would let those automatic cuts actually occur in January, military contractors have been ringing alarms about the potential fallout.

In a worst-case scenario, the Aerospace Industries Assn., an Arlington, Va., trade group, estimated 1 million jobs of all kinds would be lost nationwide, including 126,000 in California.

'We are absolutely anticipating more cuts in employment numbers as Jan. 2 approaches," association spokesman Dan Stohr said. "There's still a great amount of detail that companies need in order to plan a way forward.'

The new budget realities have especially stung Southern California's aerospace industry.

In January 2011, Boeing cut 900 jobs at its sprawling Long Beach plant, where it builds C-17 cargo jets. Later that year, Lockheed Martin Corp. cut about 1,500 positions across its aeronautics business, including jobs in California. Northrop cut 500 jobs in its aerospace division last year."
"Sequestration Threatens Tanker Deal: USAF Official"

Defense News
September 19, 2012

Read Full Article by Marcus Weisgerber Here

"The U.S. Air Force might have to cancel its contract with Boeing to buy refueling tankers if Congress fails to modify a law mandating federal spending cuts before January, according to a senior service official.

The announcement that the Pentagon might have to cancel the KC-46 contract and renegotiate a multibillion-dollar deal with Boeing is one of the most direct examples of how those budget reductions, know as sequestration, would impact the military.

“I don’t want to break my contract and I’m fearful sequestration may force me to do that,” Maj Gen John Thompson, tanker program executive officer and KC-46 program director, said during a Sept. 18 briefing with reporters at an Air Force Association-sponsored conference in National Harbor, Md.

Since the KC-46 contract award in February 2011, the Air Force has touted its ability to sign a fixed-price development contract for the initial batch of tankers, which are part of a 179-aircraft buy."                                  

Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Full Committee (POSTPONED)
(10:00am – 2118 Rayburn – Open)

Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations
(2:00pm – 2212 Rayburn – Open)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Full Committee
(10:00am – 2118 Rayburn – Open)

Thursday, September 13, 2012
Subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces
(10:00am – 2118 Rayburn – Open)

Subcommittee on Military Personnel 
(11:30am – 2212 Rayburn – Open)

Subcommittee on Strategic Forces
(2:00pm – 2118 Rayburn – Open)

Friday, September 14, 2012
Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations
(9:00am – 2118 Rayburn – Open)

Full Committee
Tuesday, September 11, 2012 –10:00am –2118 Rayburn – Open
The committee will meet to receive testimony on a framework for building partner capacity programs and authorities to meet 21st Century challenges.

Mr. Michael Sheehan
Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict
U.S. Department of Defense

Lieutenant General Terry Wolff, USA
Director, Strategic Plans & Policy (J5), Joint Staff
U.S. Department of Defense

Ms. Janet St. Laurent
Managing Director, Defense Capabilities and Management Team
U.S. Government Accountability Office

Full Committee
Wednesday, September 12, 2012 –10:00am –2118 Rayburn – Open
The committee will meet to receive testimony on Operational Contracting Support: Learning from the Past and Preparing for the Future.

Honorable Alan F. Estevez
Assistant Secretary of Defense for Logistics and Materiel Readiness

Brigadier General Craig C. Crenshaw, USMC
Vice Director, J-4, Joint Staff

Mr. Moshe Schwartz
Specialist in Defense Acquisition
Congressional Research Service

Mr. Tim DiNapoli
Acting Director for Acquisitions and Sourcing
U.S. Government Accountability Office

Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations
Tuesday, September 11, 2012 –2:00pm –2212 Rayburn – Open
The subcommittee will meet to receive testimony on Navy shipbuilding and impacts on the defense industrial base in a time of fiscal uncertainty.

The Honorable Sean J. Stackley 
Assistant Secretary of the Navy 
Research, Development and Acquisition

Rear Admiral Thomas J. Eccles, USN
Chief Engineer and Deputy Commander for Naval Systems Engineering
Naval Sea Systems Command

Subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces
Thursday, September 13, 2012 –10:00am –2118 Rayburn – Open
The subcommittee will meet to receive testimony on F-22 pilot physiological issues.

General Gregory S. Martin, USAF (ret)
Aircraft Oxygen Generation Study Chair 
USAF Scientific Advisory Board

Major General Charles W. Lyon, USAF
Director of Operations, Headquarters Air Combat Command
U.S. Air Force

Mr. Clinton H. Cragg
Principal Engineer
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Engineering and Safety Center

Subcommittee on Military Personnel 
Thursday, September 13, 2012 –11:30am –2212 Rayburn – Open
The subcommittee will meet to receive testimony on the Federal Voting Assistance Program.

Ms. Pamela S. Mitchell
Acting Director, Federal Voting Assistance Program
U.S. Department of Defense

Subcommittee on Strategic Forces
Thursday, September 13, 2012 –2:00pm –2118 Rayburn – Open
The subcommittee will meet to receive testimony on Y-12 Intrusion: Investigation, Response, and Accountability.

The Honorable Daniel B. Poneman 
Deputy Secretary of Energy
U.S. Department of Energy

The Honorable Neile L. Miller
Principal Deputy Administrator
National Nuclear Security Administration

Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations
Friday, September 14, 2012 –9:00am –2118 Rayburn – Open
The subcommittee will meet to receive testimony on Department of Defense Auditability Challenges.

Ms. Elizabeth A. McGrath
Deputy Chief Management Officer
U.S. Department of Defense

Mr. Robert F. Hale
Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller)
U.S. Department of Defense

The Honorable Gladys J. Commons
Assistant Secretary of the Navy
Financial Management and Comptroller
U.S. Department of the Navy

Dr. Mary Sally Matiella
Assistant Secretary of the Army
Financial Management and Comptroller
U.S. Department of the Army

Ms. Marilyn M. Thomas
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Financial Management and Comptroller
U.S. Department of the Air Force
August 2012


Florida, Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Missouri will be impacted by defense cuts, voters say they want a resolution before the election 

The survey released today was conducted by Harris Interactive on
  behalf of the Aerospace Industries Association of 4000 likely
  voters in five states impacted by sequestration
  cuts (Florida, Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Missouri). The
  results showed that by large margins voters are well aware of the
  sequestration cuts to defense and want Congress to act to resolve them
  before the November elections. Here are some key findings:    

- 80 percent of voters agree that leaders
  in Washington, DC should find an alternative to sequestration before the
  November elections take place

 -In Florida, Virginia and Ohio, the percentage of voters who
  want an alternative before November are 77 percent, 85 percent and 77
  percent, respectively. 

  -77 percent of voters are at least somewhat aware of the sequestration
  cuts to defense. 

  -41 percent of voters had heard or read about Secretary of
  Defense Panetta's statement that the defense cuts would do catastrophic
  damage to our military and its ability to protect this country. 

  -24 percent had heard or read about the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of
  Staff's statement that the defense cuts would bring to an end the United
  States’ role as a global power.

  See Full Results 

  Chairman McKeon made the following statement in
  reaction: "This survey is the latest example of a great
  and growing consensus amongst the American people that sequestration must be
  resolved before it is too late. House Republicans have already acted and
  passed a plan to resolve sequestration for a year by replacing the cuts
  to the military with domestic spending reductions and reforms that
  can attract bipartisan support. Unfortunately, Senate Majority Leader
  Reid has refused to let the Senate consider any plan that would enable
  both chambers to move to a conference and avert these devastating and
  dangerous cuts.” 

  For more information about the House Republican solutions, see the HASC Sequestration Resource Kit


 "Building a Durable Afghanistan Peace"

  General John R. Allen

The Washington Post

  August 26, 2012 

  Read Online 

  General John R. Allen, commander of the NATO International Security
  Assistance Force and U.S. forces in Afghanistan, published the
  following op-ed in Sunday's Washington Post. General Allen
  wrote that with continued commitment we can prevail in a part of the
  world vital to U.S. national security and the mission in Afghanistan is more
  accurately characterized  by "green and blue" cooperation
  rather than "green ON blue" violence.  

“But the real story here is green and blue. Every day, hundreds of
  thousands of Afghan soldiers and police across this nation work and fight
  side by side with coalition troops to defeat our common enemies and protect
  the civilian population. We interact closely on numerous operations,
  extending security for the Afghan people.”

 “These trends speak well for the future of Afghanistan, but the
  international community should know these gains are fragile, and reversible,
  if we lose our will to succeed.”

 “This struggle is far from over, but the solution will be found in
  our growing strength and will not be defined by incidents of “green-on-blue”
  violence. Our cause is right, our determination is clear and our sacrifices
  have not been in vain. We are, in fact, prevailing.”


“We can achieve what we set out to do in Afghanistan, defeating al-Qaeda
  and denying it a haven, but that depends on achieving an Afghanistan that can
  stand on its own.”

“This moment in Afghan history has arrived not by accident or luck but in
  the wake of powerful events: the growing strength and capability of Afghan security
  forces; the signing of bilateral and multilateral strategic partnerships; and
  the international community’s pledge of substantial support for the next
  “These accomplishments have been borne on the backs of remarkable allied and
  Afghan forces — those serving today and those who have gone before. Their
  tremendous sacrifices are creating security conditions that, finally, are
  bringing a real sense of confidence to the Afghan people.”

“We will not allow our efforts to be derailed by the so-called
  “green-on-blue” attacks — Afghans shooting coalition troops — that have
  received so much attention recently. Each instance is a tragedy, and we mourn
  every loss.”

  “This is playing out in another important color combination: white on red.
  The Afghan population is organizing to drive the hated Taliban from their
  villages. This movement is emerging in areas where the heavy hand of the
  Taliban has created a popular groundswell against the insurgents. These
  trends speak well for the future of Afghanistan, but the international
  community should know these gains are fragile, and reversible, if we lose our
  will to succeed.”

“U.S., allied and Afghan security forces will continue to deal with
  “green-on-blue” attacks. We will mourn our precious dead, but we will not
  permit this threat to derail the progress being made by coalition and Afghan
  forces. We also resolve to protect the civilian population, the 'white,' from
                 the scourge of the Taliban, the ‘red.’"               

Aug 16 2012

“Budget Cuts Could Cost Thousands of Jobs in Ohio, Impact Military”

Rep. Turner’s Forum Brings Focus to Sequestration Impacts on Local Communities

Washington - House Armed Services Committee Member Michael Turner (OH) hosted a community forum this week featuring local business leaders who all attested to the damage that sequestration would have on jobs and defense in the Dayton, Ohio area. 

"We are drowning in a sea of uncertainty,” Panel Member Sam Greenwood said about sequestration. Excerpts from a Dayton Daily News story about the forum are featured here with more news on the forum below:

Budget Cuts Could Cost Thousands of Jobs in Ohio, Impact Military

Dayton Daily News

DAYTON — Congressional and defense industry leaders worry impending automatic budget cuts — known as sequestration — could cost thousands of jobs and mean deep cuts to weapon systems and operations, and some observers don’t expect a solution before the November election.

“There is a broad feeling that implementation in this fashion would cause chaos,” said Michael Gessel, vice president of the Dayton Development Coalition’s Washington, D.C. office. “That this is a catastrophic way to deal with government spending.”

The stakes are high in Dayton, home to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base which has more than 27,000 military and civilian employees and is the largest single site employer in Ohio with a $5 billion impact on the local economy. Outside the gate, Wright-Patterson has estimated the base indirectly supports about 35,800 jobs, according to a spokesman. Gessel has estimated the number of direct defense contractor jobs off the base could reach about 10,000.

U.S. Rep. Mike Turner, R-Centerville and a member of the House Armed Services Committee, has projected cuts of 4,000 to 5,000 civilian job losses in the Miami Valley region tied to Wright-Patterson and a $1.5 billion toll to Ohio’s economy.   

“These jobs go right to the heart of being able to maintain our national defense,” Turner said.

Other News About the Forum:

WDTN-TV: Turner to Host Sequestration Forum 

WYSO RADIO: Congressman Mike Turner Hosts Forum on Looming Sequestration Cuts 

WDTN-TV: Turner Hosts Sequestration Forum 

WDTN-TV: Big Word Could Create Big Problems 

WRGT/WKEF-TV: Turner Hosts Sequestration Forum 

DAYTON DAILY NEWS: Possible Military Cuts Unnerve Contractors 

DAYTON BUSINESS JOURNAL: Forum – Sequestration Already Hitting Defense Contractors

WASHINGTON, DC – In the Weekly Republican Address for the U.S. Senate, Senator Roger Wicker (R-Mississippi) spoke about the effects of sequestration and how “severe and indiscriminate cuts that harm our security are not the way to address America’s fiscal challenges.” A full transcript of the address follows:

“Hello.  I’m Senator Roger Wicker from Mississippi.

“A little over a year ago, Congress and the White House enacted the Budget Control Act as yet another attempt to reach a bipartisan agreement on how to fix America’s unprecedented debt crisis.

“The national debt, a staggering $16 trillion, is unsustainable, and we need to change course.   

“The goal of the Budget Control Act was to have a long-term debt reduction plan that seriously addressed federal spending, soaring entitlement programs, and healthcare costs. 

“A bipartisan committee was created to make tough but necessary budget decisions, and as an incentive to get the job done, a very drastic fallback plan was put in place—automatic, across-the-board cuts falling heavily on our military.  This is known as budget sequestration. 

“Our expectation was that the so-called super-committee would work harder and come together on a solution to avoid sequestration’s devastating, meat-ax approach, while tackling federal spending in a meaningful way. 

“With bipartisan goodwill, there was a chance for real and lasting budget reform. 

“But at a moment when presidential leadership could have helped, President Obama was silent.  The committee eventually disbanded in failure. 

“Our country now faces unacceptable consequences that will become a reality on January 3rd when sequestration goes into effect. 

“Unless the current law is changed, sequestration will force another half a trillion in cuts to defense programs over the next 10 years.  Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has described the effect on our national security as devastating, and I agree. 

“Although the full impact of these cuts remains unknown, some very startling projections have emerged. 

“Under sequestration:

  • Army units would receive less training before they deploy to the Middle East.
  • Marine Corps troop levels would be cut by 10 percent, leaving our Marines without sufficient manpower to meet even one major overseas operation.
  • The Navy fleet would drop to 230 ships, the lowest number since World War I. 
  • And the Air Force would lose vital maintenance funds required to keep our fighters, bombers, and remotely-piloted aircraft flying around the world.
  • “The stakes are unmistakably high.  Crippling defense cuts are just around the corner, and we have an obligation to make tough decisions on how to avoid sequestration and balance the budget long-term. 

“Some defense manufacturers have already begun the process of issuing legally required layoff warning notices to shareholders and employees.  According to multiple forecasts, up to 1 million jobs are at risk.  One report estimates that my home state of Mississippi alone could lose more than 11,000 jobs.  

“With the Administration having kept its plans hidden from public view, Congress overwhelmingly passed the Sequestration Transparency Act, requiring the Obama Administration to submit a report to Congress on the impact that sequestration will have.  This bill will shine light on the President’s plans.  

“It’s time for President Obama to inform our men and women in uniform—as well as Congress and the American public—how it will move forward in the wake of devastating cuts.  The millions of Americans who defend our country and work to build our military equipment should not have to wait until after Election Day. 

“Severe and indiscriminate cuts that harm our security are not the way to address America’s fiscal challenges. 

“Republicans have repeatedly reached out to President Obama with responsible plans to cut spending without crippling our military.

“The Republican-controlled House has already passed legislation to postpone the sequester.  Republicans in the Senate have offered plans of their own. 

“Last month, Republican leaders in the Senate and House sent a letter to the President offering to work with him to find common ground and enact responsible budget savings. 

“So far, the President has failed to offer any answer.

“Mr. President—it is hard to reach a bipartisan solution if the Commander-in-Chief is not engaged.  Leader Reid—we will not come to an agreement if your own Democratic Senate Campaign Chairman keeps calling for us to drive off the fiscal cliff.  For over three years, the Democratic leadership of the Senate has refused even to bring a budget to the floor for a vote.

“Tackling spending issues is difficult when the budget committee doesn’t do its work, but we still have an opportunity to solve America’s long-term budget concerns.

“The looming sequester crisis should be an opportunity for both parties to work together now to avoid permanent harm to our troops and to our security.  Let’s hope the Commander-in-Chief decides to lead.”  


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