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August 2014

House Armed Services Committee Vice Chairman Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX) appeared on CNN today to discuss the threat posed by ISIS and the U.S. response. 

You can view the full interview HERE

Key quotes from Vice Chairman Thornberry below. 

 

"It reveals what sort of people they (ISIS) are. Secondly, its an attempt to intimidate us into not playing a role in pushing back against ISIS and to trying to keep us out of Iraq and from joining a coalition to contain and stop them. It doesn't change anything. It just reveals what they're about and what they're trying to do."

"When the president takes options off the table, that only simplifies the planning of ISIS. Secondly, we should not reveal any information, any details, about missions we undergo to rescue people or to push back against ISIS. Thirdly, we have to reassure the Iraqis and others that we're in it for the long haul. The Iraqis are going to have to do this on the ground. We can assist them from the air.... We're going to have to reassure them that we're with them in the long haul and then have a plan that will make a difference. "

"We know they don't hesitate to kill people, it's not just individuals they don't hesitate to kill hundreds or thousands of people. I have no doubt they are planning on how they can to do that here in the United States and in Western Europe."

"Part of the concern that folks have had with the administration is this slow rolling of deciding what to do with the situation in Syria which has enabled ISIS to grow and expand into Iraq."

 

 

 

Scowcroft, Hadley, Miller make the case for U.S. Nuclear Deterrence in Washington Post Opinion Piece

Payne and Schneider Detail Russia's Long History of Cheating on Arms Control Treaties in the Wall Street Journal

 

NATO-Based Nuclear Weapons are an Advantage in a Dangerous World
By Brent Scowcroft, Stephen Hadley and Franklin Miller
The Washington Post
August 17, 2014

Excerpts Below 

 

"When NATO’s leaders gather in Wales in early September, they will address several issues critical to the alliance, including Russian adventurism in Ukraine and elsewhere in Eastern Europe, members’ contribution to collective defense, the adequacy of individual national defense budgets and plans for supporting the people of Afghanistan. In the course of their deliberations on these issues, however, they also should reaffirm the value to the alliance of the continued presence of the modest number of U.S. nuclear bombs in Europe. We believe this is necessary because we are again hearing calls for the United States to unilaterally withdraw its small arsenal of forward- deployed nuclear bombs. Those arguments are shopworn, familiar — and wrong.

..........

"The newer members joined NATO in large part to get under this nuclear umbrella, and they have been vocal in expressing their concern that withdrawing the weapons would symbolize a diminution in the U.S. commitment to defend them. Their concerns are heightened as they watch a recidivist Russia conduct exercises simulating nuclear strikes on Poland and the Baltic states, threatening nuclear strikes on nascent NATO missile-defense sites and continuing to deploy a bloated arsenal of several thousand short-range nuclear weapons.

"A second argument is that because nuclear weapons have no place in international relations in the 21st century, they certainly shouldn’t be forward deployed in NATO Europe. In his much-heralded 2009 Prague speech, President Obama called on the nuclear states to reduce the role such weapons played in their respective security strategies, and he took steps to implement his vision in the United States. Apart from Britain, no other nuclear weapons state took heed; indeed, the others expanded their nuclear modernization programs and gave nuclear weapons a more central role. Of particular concern to NATO, Russia has embarked on an across-the-board modernization of its nuclear forces, a modernization judged so important by Moscow that it has violated the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty in the process. As our NATO allies point out, nuclear weapons clearly matter to Russian leadership, and, as a result, our allies insist that the U.S. nuclear commitment to NATO cannot be called into question.

"A third argument is that NATO, in the aggregate, enjoys overwhelming conventional military superiority. This argument, however, is built on two fundamental fallacies. First, such aggregate comparisons mask the reality that on NATO’s eastern borders, on a regular basis, Russian forces are numerically superior to those of the alliance. As events in Crimea and Ukraine showed, Russia’s armed forces have improved significantly since their poor performance in Georgia in 2008; demonstrating impressive operational capabilities, they have made clear they are no longer the rag-tag army of the past decade. Second, focusing on conventional war-fighting capabilities overlooks the fact that NATO’s principal goal is deterring aggression rather than having to defeat it. And it is here that NATO’s nuclear capabilities provide their greatest value. 

..........

"With Russia continuing to support forces that are seeking to destabilize Ukraine and taking unsettling actions in both the Baltics and the Balkans, this is no time to destabilize the NATO alliance and traumatize our NATO allies by withdrawing our nuclear weapons from Europe."

 

Russia Always Cheats on Arms Treaties
By Keith B. Payne and Mark B. Schneider
The Wall Street Journal
August 18, 2014
Excerpts Below

"On July 29, the Obama administration announced that Russia has violated its obligation under the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty "not to possess, produce or flight test a ground-launched cruise missile with a range capability of 500 to 5,500 kilometers; or to possess or produce launchers of such missiles." The administration's sudden candor is welcome. Yet its new compliance report alleging that the Russians tested a missile prohibited under the INF treaty—doesn't address other apparent treaty violations.

The INF violation fits into a long pattern of Soviet-Russian misbehavior that can only be described as "compliance if convenient." Moscow appears to observe arms-control commitments when convenient but violates them when not. This contrasts sharply with America's scrupulous adherence to the letter and often the supposed "spirit" of treaty commitments, long after Moscow has ceased to do so.

.....................................

"These Russian violations are not trivial matters. The House of Representatives recently declared on a bipartisan basis that the INF violation "poses a threat to the United States, its deployed forces, and its allies." According to senior Obama administration officials, Russia probably has a 10:1 numerical superiority over the U.S. in battlefield nuclear weapons. This Russian tactical nuclear arsenal, according to Russian press reports, includes weapons that are inconsistent with Soviet and Russian commitments made as part of the 1991-1992 Presidential Nuclear Initiatives to eliminate nuclear artillery and short-range nuclear-missile warheads. That 10:1 superiority may increase if Russia's INF treaty violations stand.

"Washington's long periods of silence about cheating are sometimes justified as "quiet diplomacy" designed to bring about Moscow's compliance. Perhaps. But quiet diplomacy did not persuade Moscow in 1991 to stop building the enormous radar prohibited by the ABM Treaty. Rather, it was the George H.W. Bush administration's public threat to call out Russia's behavior as a "material breach."

"Russian leaders such as Vladimir Putin appear to read U.S. silence as weakness and timidity, a perception which undoubtedly feeds their arms-control lawlessness. Pretending that Russia is a reliable arms-control partner helps to ensure that it is not. Calling Russia out for misbehavior may hold some hope of moving it into compliance."

 

 

Aug 19 2014

HASC Members Call for Strategy in Iraq

HASC Republicans and Democrats join Sunday Show calls for a real strategy to counter ISIS

 

"What the President needs is a strategy and a plan." - Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH), Chairman of HASC Tactical Air and Land Forces Subcommittee, on NBC's Meet the Press 

"I think why he failed to garner the support for the action that he proposed in Syria was because he did not have a strategy and a plan, and we still see the failure of that. The failure in his foreign policy and the neglect, as Anne was saying, as this threat evolved in Syria— ISIS didn’t evolve out of thin air—they were emerging. And then also the neglect of the Administration to work with Iraq. We see how unstable Iraq is and how threatened they can be by ISIS."

Click HERE to watch Chairman's Turner's Appearance on Meet The Press

 

 


"What is our mission? What are we trying to accomplish here? - HASC Member Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) on ABC's This Week

"We're missing a critical question here...what is our mission? What is the United States' mission? What are we trying to accomplish here?.... That stated mission after 9/11 has been lost....as we heard from White House officials last week, they said and I quote, these air strikes are not an authorization of a broad-based counterterrorism campaign against ISIS. End of quote. So if our mission is not to take out the Islamic extremists who continue to threaten and wage war against us, , then I think we have a real problem here. If we focus on that mission, which I think we should, then we can look at what are the tactics that we need to take them out." 

Click HERE to watch Rep. Gabbard's appearance on This Week



"This is a Time for the President to Engage
" - Chairman Turner 

"We’ve seen again as a result of the neglect that the President has had in his foreign policy in respect to Iraq—the instability that has occurred. But the President also has to come to the recognition that ISIS is a threat to the United States. British Prime Minister Cameron wrote in an oped that he sees ISIS as a threat to Britain and to the British. Certainly this President needs to make the case and I think his policies should reflect this: this is not just a threat to a stable Iraq, this is a threat to our national security." 

Aug 11 2014

Wall Street Journal Editorial: The Arms Control Illusion

"The U.S. says Russia is cheating. So what will Obama do now?"

The House Armed Services Committee, under the leadership of Chairman Buck McKeon (R-CA) and Strategic Forces Subcommittee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-AL), has been working to hold Russia accountable for its material breach of the INF treaty for nearly two years. You can review all of HASC's activity on this issue in this July 30, 2014 fact sheet: JUST THE FACTS: Obama Administration's Long-Overdue Recognition of Russian Cheating on the INF Treaty

The Arms Control Illusion
The Wall Street Journal
August 10, 2014

The world has often disappointed President Obama, and perhaps no more so than over his dream of nuclear-free humanity. Witness the irony that the Obama Administration has finally admitted that Russia is violating the Reagan-era INF treaty, supposedly the very model of modern arms control. 

The Norwegian Nobel committee probably won't rescind the 2009 peace prize it awarded Mr. Obama for his "vision of and work for a world without nuclear weapons." But the dream is in tatters. In its annual compliance report on disarmament agreements last week, the State Department for the first time declared Russia in breach of the 1987 accord. 

The proper reaction is, what took so long? The first reports of Russian testing of a banned mid-range missile came six years ago. U.S. officials have since said that the Russians have worked on three different types of cruise missiles able to fly 500 to 5,500 kilometers, which are prohibited by the INF.

The Administration didn't inform the Senate of these violations during the 2010 ratification debate for Mr. Obama's nuclear deal, New Start. Seventy-one Senators voted for the treaty without having the facts. 
Only two years later did Administration officials brief the Foreign Relations Committee about the cheating in a closed-door hearing, according to a November report in the Daily Beast. John Kerry, who then chaired the Senate committee, declared that "we're not going to pass another treaty in the U.S. Senate if our colleagues are sitting up here knowing somebody is cheating," according to a classified transcript reported by the news site. 
Yet it took another two years for the U.S. to issue last week's public demarche to Moscow about the INF. For much of the Obama era, the Administration pursued a diplomatic warming with Russia, seeking Vladimir Putin's help in Syria, Afghanistan and Iran and treaties to follow up New Start. Why let a few illegal Russian cruise missiles spoil the good vibes?

It's worth rehearsing the record with Russia as a tutorial on the illusion of arms control. The INF accord was signed toward the end of the Cold War and hailed as a diplomatic triumph. Ronald Reagan and NATO had deployed mid-range missiles in Europe against ferocious opposition in the early 1980s, and the Gipper resisted political demands for a lopsided arms treaty. Russia under Mikhail Gorbachev finally agreed to the modest accord on Reagan's terms that traded the U.S. missiles for Russia's. When the Soviet empire collapsed in the next few years, the supposed urgency of arms control faded with it.

Which is the crucial point: Arms control didn't make the Soviets more peaceable. The Soviet collapse made arms control beside the point. So it always is. Arms control only works when it isn't needed among U.S. friends, but it fails with adversaries who can't be trusted. 

The Soviet empire is gone, but Mr. Putin wants to revive Russia as a dominant European power. He's happy to sign arms accords that he knows will bind the West even as he merrily cheats, and not only on INF. State's report noted the Russians are "engaged in dual-use, biological activities" that may be "inconsistent" with the 1972 Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention. Moscow is also openly in breach of the Conventional Forces in Europe treaty, which limits the number of troops stationed on the Continent. So much for trust but verify.

The question now is what the U.S. will do about it. The Russian Foreign Ministry calls the U.S. claims "baseless," while General Valery Geramisov denies any violations. This is another echo of the Cold War when the Soviets denied they had biological weapons for years after the anthrax disaster at Sverdlovsk had become an open secret.

Arms control becomes truly dangerous if one party is allowed to cheat without consequences. The danger is even worse if the U.S. government publicly calls out an adversary but then does nothing. The Russians will get the message that they can keep cheating with impunity, and countries like Iran will also take the lesson. As then-Senator Kerry said in 2012, "If we're going to have treaties with people, we've got to adhere to them."

One apt response would be to withdraw from New Start. Russia was already below the limits in this treaty on strategic nuclear weapons and launchers, obliging only the U.S. to reduce its stockpiles. The White House should also restore the ground-based missile-defense interceptors that it abandoned in 2009 in a misguided attempt to appease the Kremlin. The success of Israel's Iron Dome is proof of missile defense's potential, and Mr. Putin knows it undermines nuclear intimidation. 

The broader lesson is that arms control with adversaries is a strategic illusion. It hasn't worked with Russia and it surely won't with Iran. 
July 2014

Jul 24 2014

Rep. Rob Wittman (R-VA) calls for Strengthening Military Readiness in CSIS Speech

House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee Chairman delivers major address on national defense at the Center for Strategic and International Studies

You can view the full video of Chairman Wittman's remarks on the CSIS website HERE.

 

Key quotes from Chairman Wittman's remarks:

"People have to understand what is the impact of sequestration. That's going to be significant. What's the impact of reduction of end strength? How do we reset our force? One thing we've done with a one hundred percent certainty in the past is we've gotten "reset" wrong. I want to make sure we get 'reset' at least closer to some semblance of right." 

"We have to think about not only what we're doing today.  We've been engaged in a ground war for 12 years. How do we structure the force into the future to make sure that it can meet challenges?"

"The whole picture needs to be how do we have ground forces that have the capability on a broad set of missions. You look at where we are today and you see that we have artillery officers that haven't been firing artillery pieces as part of brigade level exercises...

"If we look at it in a myopic way and we believe that somehow we can just have a force that does ISR through unmanned platforms and deploy special operators to little places around the world, I think that grossly underestimates the challenges out there."

"Non state actors like ISIS are going to continue to enforce their will in areas where they see and perceive weakness. The question is how do we deal with that"        

"Unfortunately our defense budgets have been disproportionately affected by sequester, and by budget cuts going all the way back to Secretary Gates, and then the BCA in 2010 and 2011, We know that those additive effects are now having a significant impact.  We want members to understand that so that when they are faced with tough decisions in the future, they understand what we must do and the obligations to our military…. You can’t balance the budget on the backs of our men and women in the military. We need to look at the autopilot spending programs” 


                              

Jul 16 2014

Rep. Randy Forbes on UCLASS and The Future of Naval Power Projection

HASC Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee Chairman pens essay for the National Interest ahead of HASC UCLASS hearing TODAY

UCLASS and The Future of Naval Power Projection
By Rep. Randy Forbes (R-VA)
The National Interest
July 15, 2014
Full text below

"While the carrier provides the Nation with a sovereign, mobile airfield that can be positioned at the time and place of the Commander-in-Chief’s choosing, the true combat power of this naval asset resides in the composition of its Air Wing. A carrier like the USS Enterprise can have a service life that stretches from the Cuban Missile Crisis to the War on Terror, but it’s enduring utility is enabled not just by its hull-life, but by the continued modernization of aviation assets found on its flight deck. Given the scope of China’s counter-intervention modernization effort and Iran’s own anti-access/area-denial investments, I believe the future air wing must comprise a mix of manned and unmanned aircraft that provide extended-range operations, persistence, stealth, payload, and electronic warfare. Central to this mix is the Navy’s unmanned carrier-launched airborne surveillance and strike (UCLASS) system.

 

"The fundamental question we face going forward is not about the utility of unmanned aviation to the future Air Wing, but the type of unmanned platform that the UCLASS program will deliver and the specific capabilities this vital asset will provide the Combatant Commander. Given the likely operational environment of the 2020s and beyond - including in both the Western Pacific Ocean and Persian Gulf - I believe strongly that the Nation needs to procure a Unmanned Combat Air Vehicles (UCAV) platform that can operate as a long-range surveillance and strike asset in the contested and denied A2/AD environments of the future. To achieve this, such a system should have broadband, all-aspect stealth, be capable of automated aerial refueling, and have integrated surveillance and strike functionality. Unfortunately, the current direction this program is taking will leave our Naval forces with a platform that I fear will not address the emerging anti-access/area-denial (A2/AD) challenges to U.S. power projection that originally motivated creation of the Navy Unmanned Combat Air System (N-UCAS) program during the 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR), and which were reaffirmed in both the 2010 QDR and 2012 Defense Strategic Guidance.

 

"Getting this program correct today and not returning later to address the critical operational challenges facing the carrier in the coming decade is one of the most fundamental decisions the United States can do to secure its enduring advantage in power-projection. Given this important oversight question, on Wednesday afternoon the Seapower and Projection Forces subcommittee, which I Chair, will conduct a hearing with both Navy and independent witnesses to explore this topic in-depth.

 

"Specifically, the disproportionate emphasis in the requirements on unrefueled endurance to enable continuous intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) support to the Carrier Strike Group (CSG) would result in an aircraft design that would have serious deficiencies in both survivability and internal weapons payload capacity and flexibility. Furthermore, the cost limits for the aircraft are more consistent with a much less capable aircraft and will not enable the Navy to build a relevant vehicle that leverages readily available and mature technology. In short, developing a new carrier-based unmanned aircraft that is primarily another unmanned ISR sensor that cannot operate in medium to high-level threat environments would be a missed opportunity and inconsistent with the 2012 Defense Strategic Guidance which called for the United States to “maintain its ability to project power in areas in which our access and freedom to operate are challenged.”

 

"The House Armed Services Committee (HASC), in its recent markup of the FY15 National Defense Authorization Act, agreed with this assessment and concluded that it believes the Navy and indeed the Nation require a long-range, survivable unmanned ISR-strike aircraft as an integral part of the carrier air wings. In contrast, the HASC also determined that developing a new carrier-based unmanned aircraft that is primarily another flying sensor would be a missed opportunity with profound consequences for the practical utility of the carrier and thus for the nation.

 

"The question of UCLASS is not just one of design and capability; it is also about the role and responsibility the Congress has in cultivating, supporting, and protecting military innovation. Like with the shift from cavalry to mechanized forces, sailing ships to steam-powered vessels, the prioritization of the carrier over battleships, or adopting unmanned aerial vehicles in the late 1990s, ideas that initiate difficult changes and disrupt current practices are often first opposed by organizations and bureaucracies that are inclined to preserve the status quo. I believe the Congress has a unique role to help push the Department and the Services in directions that, while challenging, will ultimately benefit our national security and defense policy. I therefore intend to use the subcommittee hearing to explore not just the UCLASS program, but the broader utility a UCAV can have on the Navy’s ability to continue to project power from the aircraft carrier and the implications for the power projection mission in the future if we proceed down the current course."  

Jul 09 2014

HASC Continues to Focus on Improving Defense Acquisition Outcomes

Defense Department Officials to Testify on Acquisition Reform this Thursday, July 10th


On Thursday July 10, 2014, the full House Armed Services Committee will hear testimony on Defense Reform: Empowering Acquisition Success. The Honorable Frank Kendall, Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisitions, Logistics and Technology, and Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Readiness and Force Management Stephanie Barna are scheduled to testify.

Their testimony comes after a panel of distinguished experts on defense acquisition reform testified before the Committee last month and shared their views on case studies in acquisition reform

Below are some key quotes from the previous panel's testimony that will help inform this week's hearing. 

"The acquisition process is dynamic and complex.  And an effective and workable solution must consider a wide number of factors in a diverse group of stakeholders.  Building a comprehensive acquisition model relies on valuable input from the Pentagon, the individual services industries and certainly the members of Congress." The Honorable Elizabeth McGrath, former Deputy Chief Management Officer, Department of Defense

"And so, as we go ahead with defense acquisition reform or improvement we should pay attention to whether we are trying to attack the symptoms or whether we are, in fact, trying to focus on the underlying causes because a lot of the time it seems to me we are going after the symptoms and not the underlying causes." - Ron O'Rourke, National Defense Specialist, Congressional Research Service

"There is not, as I have said before, a silver bullet for the real and perceived shortcomings of the Defense Acquisition System.  In my opinion, the single greatest asset over time comes back to the people.?" 
The Honorable Brett Lambert, Senior Fellow, National Defense Industrial Association  

"How can we hold anyone responsible when many organizations can put their foot on the brake, stop or delay action, but no one, not even the secretary [of Defense], consistently can generate desired outcomes?  Secretary Gates went on to suggest we are all responsible for the system we have and its performance.  It took a committee effort to build a system that can frustrate the clear choices about relative risk and it will take a team effort to change it." Dr. Christopher Lamb, Deputy Director, Institute for National Strategic Studies 

Last year, HASC Chairman Buck McKeon (R-CA) tapped HASC Vice Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-TX) to lead the Committee's ongoing effort to achieve meaningful reform to the Defense Department's acquisition processes.  

June 2014

Jun 23 2014

Leading National Security Voices Calling for Defense Acquisition Reform

House Armed Services Committee to hold hearing Tuesday, June 24

On Tuesday June 24, 2014, the full House Armed Services Committee will hear testimony on Case Studies in DoD Acquisition: Finding What Works 

The hearing comes as leading national security voices are speaking out about the need for Defense Acquisition Reform. Last year, HASC Chairman Buck McKeon (R-CA) tapped HASC Vice Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-TX) to lead the Committee's ongoing effort to achieve meaningful reform to the Defense Department's acquisition processes.  

"Get More Defense Out of the Money We Spend"- HASC Vice Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-TX)

"Of course, it is not just about the total dollars spent; it is also about how that money is spent.  And we have a lot of work to do to see that we use our defense dollars wisely – that we get more defense out of the money we spend.  We have a bipartisan, bicameral effort underway to work with the Pentagon and with industry to reduce overhead and improve acquisition." 

"Focus on outcomes for major programs and services" - Jon Etherton, Senior Fellow at the National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA) 

"With the budget cutbacks, I think there is continuing to be a focus on outcomes, both on major programs and services and IT...But folks are now starting to ask the question if we can actually afford the process itself that we currently have." 

Look at "proposed changes to DoD organization, bureaucracy" - Former Department of Defense Comptroller Dov Zakheim

"Ever since Robert McNamara attempted to reform a system that at the time was yielding cost overruns and schedule delays, successive secretaries and deputy secretaries of defense, legislators and congressionally-mandated commissions have proposed changes in the nature of DoD’s management, its organization, its bureaucracy, its processes and its contracting methodology. And still programs overrun, and still schedules slip, and still there are cancellations.” 

"Need for a ‘professional, concerted attempt to… improve acquisition’" - Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Frank Kendall  

"What Congressman Thornberry and I have talked about is simplifying the rules so that they're more comprehensible, so they're easier to understand, they're easier to implement, they're more straightforward....And we should be able to simplify that and not sacrifice the intent behind those rules. You know, they've been built on in layers ever since Goldwater-Nichols. There have been layers of acquisition reform or acquisition improvement that in one form or another add up. Many of them have been very good. They're all well motivated. But that total body of law now is very large and complex."

Jun 20 2014

McKeon, Forbes Statement on Ottawa Convention

Forbes Amendment Passed by Voice Vote and Was Included in the Defense Appropriations Bill Passed Today with Strong Bipartisan Support

WASHINGTON- Rep. Howard P. “Buck “ McKeon (R-CA), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, and Rep. Randy Forbes (R-VA), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces, made the following statement on the Ottawa Convention of 1997, which prohibits the use of anti-personnel land mines:
 
“It has come to our attention through informal sources that President Obama intends to commit America to the Ottawa Convention, renouncing the use of land mines by our Armed Forces. While the NSC has attempted to obfuscate the issue, they are noticeably silent in any denial that the President is committed to this course of action.  No one can deny the painful human cost of the irresponsible use of these weapons, but committing our country to this treaty won’t do anything to repair that damage.  Signing the Ottawa treaty goes against the best advice our Nation’s military commanders have offered, substantially increases our risk in dangerous parts of the world, and imposes a needless financial burden on an already strapped military.  It is the wrong decision for our country and it is especially problematic for key U.S. allies who do not need another reason to doubt U.S. commitment to their security. 
 
“Many countries use landmines irresponsibly, but the United States is not one of them.  In fact, the over 400,000 mines in our inventory all either self-destruct or self-deactivate.  America does more than any other country to mitigate the land mine damage done by others- spending over $2 billion on the problem since 1993.  The cost to replace our mines in areas where they are essential to our defense and that of our allies, like the Korean Peninsula, will run into the hundreds of millions.  The cost of an alternative defensive platform could be billions more. 
 
“We cannot improve upon the assessment of General Dempsey, who in a hearing before the Armed Services Committee this year said, ‘I have rendered my military advice that I consider land mines, especially the ones that we have….to be an important tool in the arsenal of the Armed Forces of the United States.'  If the White House truly wants to lay Americans concerns on this important matter to rest, they should clearly confirm that they are following the best military advice of our uniformed leadership and opposing this treaty.”

More on Opposing The Ottawa Convention:

- Yesterday Congressman Forbes offered an amendment on the Defense Appropriations bill aimed at protecting the military from the impacts of the Ottawa Convention.  The Forbes Amendment would deny funding to implement the Ottawa Convention – including hundreds of millions of dollars in expenses for the United States military. The Amendment passed by voice vote and was included in the Appropriations bill’s bi-partisan House passage today.

- Forbes spoke in support of his amendment on the House Floor last night. "When President Clinton looked at this, he rejected that treaty because he realized those landmines were what kept North Korea from invading South Korea for decades. When George W. Bush looked at it, he rejected it because he realized how militarily impractical it would be" Forbes said. "It's time we start listening to our military experts at the Pentagon and we start taking their advice for what we need for national security."

- Chairman McKeon praised Chairman Forbes' work in trying to prevent the Obama administration from making this dangerous mistake in a television interview yesterday. 

- The Wall Street Journal editorial board also criticized the Obama administration over the Ottawa Convention yesterday. You can read their full editorial HERE - Excerpts Below:


"So has peace recently broken out in Korea? "My military judgment is actually [that] the tensions on the peninsula have increased," Joint Chiefs Chairman Martin Dempsey told Congress in March. He called land mines "an important tool in the arsenal of the armed forces of the United States." The current U.S. commander in Korea, General Curtis Scaparrotti, in April called them "a critical element in the defense of the Republic of Korea and our interest there." A 30-page military briefing on the dangers of the land-mine ban remains classified.

......

"Mr. Obama knows that the Senate won't vote to ratify this treaty, but he also knows that once he signs, the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties requires that Washington not act contrary to the accord's "object and purpose." So against consistent military advice, the U.S. may have to start abandoning anti-personnel mines—forcing ally South Korea to do the same—on the President's signature alone.

…..

"Republican Congressman Randy Forbes tells us that he will introduce a measure to block any spending on treaty compliance unless the Senate backs ratification. Unfortunately it's a big ask for Democratic Senators to go against Mr. Obama on such an emotive issue. Celebrity activists and a preening President are likely to win the day."

Jun 16 2014

National Security Leadership Needed From White House

"[The President] likes to look at all the options and then act on none of them."

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