- By Tom Squitieri WASHINGTON – Make show, not war seems to be what dog breeders embrace – and because of that, there is a domestic shortage of military working dogs threatening national security, the U.S. Navy’s Naval Post Graduate School said. “As adversaries, both peer and near-peer, become more adept in circumventing detection systems, theRead more
- By Tom Squitieri WASHINGTON — The Pentagon said Thursday it is concerned that Saudi Arabian military airstrikes over the weekend deliberately hit an UN-designated neutral zone in Yemen during an onslaught of attacks. “We are concerned by reports of the airstrike at the UN-declared neutral zone in Salif Port and are working to gain moreRead more
- By Tom Squitieri WASHINGTON — The Pentagon’s Independent Review Commission on sexual assault in the military met for the first time Wednesday, announced its 13 task force members, then worked hard to convince skeptics that what they produce will be significantly different in conclusions and results than multiple past efforts to change the military’s damagingRead more
- By Tom Squitieri WASHINGTON – A delayed freedom of navigation report for the last year shows U.S. forces operationally challenged 28 different excessive maritime claims made by 19 different claimants throughout the world from October 2019 through September 2020. “As long as restrictions on navigation and overflight rights and freedoms that exceed the authority providedRead more
- By Tom Squitieri, Talk Media News WASHINGTON — There is always a lot on the plate of a secretary of defense. More so when you take office after essentially three years of upheaval in Pentagon leadership, an infusion of a politically-charged posse into operations, and a cleaving along racial, sexual, and insurrectionist lines that threatenRead more
Despite A Plate Full of Troubles Near And Far, Austin’s First Big Battle Is An Old Nemesis: The BudgetBy Tom Squitieri, Talk Media News WASHINGTON – Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin inherited a host of worldwide hot spots when he took office that was quickly augmented by a menu of near-exploding issues within the ranks. Yet all eyes are on what he does with one long-standing Congressional swoon: the budget. Barring a riot inRead more
- By Tom Squitieri, Talk Media News WASHINGTON — Wake Island’s location put it out of the path of the U.S. forces plan to sweep back in the Pacific against the Japanese in World War II. Wake Island was not considered a strategic location and it was held by Japan for the duration of the war.Read more
- By Tom Squitieri, Talk Media News WASHINGTON — The acting U.S. Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman admitted Tuesday that her department knew there was a “strong potential for violence” targeting Congress on January 6, but did not take appropriate steps to prevent it. Her admission came the same day that Maj. Gen. WilliamRead more
- By Tom Squitieri, Talk Media News WASHINGTON — Strain hard to understand the words. It is American being spoken with a new accent. It comes from the mouths of our neighbors, our law enforcement, our military, our friends. Sometimes our family. They came to Washington once, honeycombed among hundreds of others thinking they were inRead more
The Dress Rehearsal at the Post Office Made the White House Ready For Its Post-Election Pentagon Decapitation and UseBy Tom Squitieri, Talk Media News WASHINGTON — While those opposed to President Trump spent time worrying that he might use the Pentagon to impose martial law, the White House was playing a bait-and-switch ruse. They never planned to use the Pentagon as a pro-active force, according to interviews.The plan all along was to takeRead more
- By Tom Squitieri, Talk Media News WASHINGTON — Gloomy skies will not go away. No reason for them to do so. The forecast: thunder, fury, with continual dangerous absurdity and the nation’s most perilous moment in decades. You move and feel it. An invisible shroud of dampness, rawness, as if the trash has not beenRead more
- By Tom Squitieri, Talk Media News WASHINGTON —A rare bad week is looming for President Trump — but one in which he may make history. Congress has checked its list twice and decided as Trump leaves office, he is more naughty than nice — and their lists of bills to pass this week and nextRead more
By Tom Squitieri, Talk Media News
WASHINGTON —A rare bad week is looming for President Trump — but one in which he may make history.
Congress has checked its list twice and decided as Trump leaves office, he is more naughty than nice — and their lists of bills to pass this week and next shows their attitude.
As Congress attempts to wrap up work for the year, it may pass a defense bill containing many things the president does not want and not including something he demands.
Additionally, the Senate may vote this week to block a proposed sale of weapons to the UAE.
If those happen — both have a high probability — it would be a rare week. Weapons sales are almost never blocked. Trump has vowed to veto the defense bill for any of the above reasons; if so, that would be the first time a defense bill has been vetoed by a president.
More critically, it will also be the first time since early in his administration that Trump will have been dealt setbacks by Congress. For much of his single term, he ruled congressional action.
The House plans to vote on the unified defense bill Tuesday and passage in expected by a wide margin. When its version passed earlier this year, the vote was more than the two-thirds needed to override a presidential veto.
Republican House Armed Service Committee ranking member Mac Thornberry of Texas told reporters on Monday “I’m hoping for a strong vote tomorrow. I think the stronger the vote, the less chance of having to deal with a veto later.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Monday the upper chamber will also vote on the defense package. That could come next week.
The Senate passed its original bill with 86 votes, also more than two-thirds.
The bill is a Christmas list of things to cause the president to seethe. Requirements to change base names honoring Confederate officer is still in while termination of Big Tech’s Section 230 liability shield protections is not — two things that have caused Trump to fulminate about a veto.
And then beyond those two, the defense bill looks like a list to Santa asking him to provide coal to Trump with the items shouting from the bill.
For example, the bill requires a report to Congress annually on any Russian bounty payments for US troop deaths – something that the White House has scorned.
It also puts sanctions on Turkey for its acquisition and implementation of the Russian-made S-400 anti-anti-missile system. Sanctions are required under U.S. law but the White House snubbed the rules to favor Turkey President Erdogan, a Trump friend.
It also blocks funding to reduce the number of troops in Afghanistan and Germany until the Pentagon, State Department, and director of national intelligence assess how a drawdown would affect threats to the United States, among other criteria.
It also tells the Pentagon — against its wishes and that of the White House — that it plans to keep the beloved A-10 Warthog by requiring “preservation of critical close air support capabilities and force structure capacity during the fiscal year 2021” and restricting funds associated with the Secretary of Defense “until the 30-year shipbuilding plan is delivered.”
The bill also places limits on military-grade equipment sent to local police departments, such as bayonets, grenades, weaponized tracked combat vehicles, and weaponized drones. It also requires law enforcement to be trained in de-escalation and citizens’ constitutional rights.
As for the proposed weapons sale to the UAE, under the rules for all Foreign Military Sales offers, Congress has a 30-day benchmark period to act. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress of the potential sale on November 10, meaning the notification period will end soon.
The proposed sale is a $23 billion arms package that includes Reaper drones, 50 F-35 joint strike fighter jets, and air-to-air missiles.
A straight-up majority “no” vote will kill the sale.
The State Department released data that shows U.S. government-authorized arms exports rose 2.8% in the fiscal year ending in September, totaling $175.8 billion.
(Photo: Library of Congress)