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Sen. Richard Durbin

US Defense Budget Not That Much Bigger Than China, Russia: Gen. Milley

Posted by Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. on


“I’ve seen comparative numbers of US defense budget versus China, US defense budget versus Russia,” Gen. Milley said. “What is not often commented on is the cost of labor. We’re the best paid military in the world by a long shot. The cost of Russian soldiers or Chinese soldiers is a tiny fraction.”

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Mattis, Dunford Defend Strategy: Afghan Force Smaller But Better

Posted by Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. on


WASHINGTON: Yes, Afghan forces are shrinking even as violence grows, but that smaller force is better trained, better advised, and better at taking the offensive against the Taliban, the Secretary of Defense and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs told the Senate. The ongoing increase in US and other NATO advisors is crucial to this turnaround,… Keep reading →

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HASC Hammers Navy Readiness In Push For $18B Defense Boost

Posted by Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. on


CAPITOL HILL: House Republicans keep hammering on military shortfalls, part of their push for a controversial $18 billion budget boost that the Senate has so far rejected and the White House has threatened to veto. “The message that we’re hearing is across the services we have a significant problem with readiness,” Rep. Randy Forbes told me.… Keep reading →

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It’s ‘War’ Twixt Appropriators & Authorizers Over RD-180s: Sen. Durbin

Posted by Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. on


CAPITOL HILL: The Senate battle over Russian rockets keeps rocking. Senators Dick Durbin and Richard Shelby sent most of this morning’s defense appropriations hearing defending the Pentagon’s plan to keep using the cheap and technologically reliable but politically toxic RD-180 until an American-made replacement is ready, sometime around 2020-2021. Durbin and Shelby denounced the effort… Keep reading →

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The $2.6B Overrun That Never Was: A DC Cautionary Tale

Posted by Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. on


WASHINGTON: This morning, Sen. Dick Durbin set off heart attacks across the Army when he said the service’s $13.8 billion Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle program was a whopping $2.6 billion over budget. AMPV is the last survivor of 14 years of cancelled major programs and deliberately designed to be modest, achievable, and affordable, so the previously… Keep reading →

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McCain Intros Bill To Stop RD-180 Use; Pentagon Urges Caution

Posted by Colin Clark on


WASHINGTON: Sen. John McCain continued his crusade to stop the Pentagon from using Russia’s highly reliable and cheap RD-180 rocket engines to launch American military satellites during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing today. The Arizona senator and the House Majority Leader, Kevin McCarthy of California, introduced a bill today designed to overturn language in… Keep reading →

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McCain Loses To Appropriators, Threatens Russian RD-180 Ban

Posted by Colin Clark on


WASHINGTON: John McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, believes fervently in the importance of the authorizing committees, those bodies charged with making congressional policy and placing restrictions on weapons program spending. Today, McCain lost a battle against the appropriators, that small group of powerful legislative leaders who decide how much money the executive branch… Keep reading →

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Troubled SAC OKs $500M For Syrian Rebels

Posted by Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. on


CAPITOL HILL: After bitter debate, the Senate Appropriations Committee voted 21 to 9 to approve the administration’s request for $500 million in training and weapons for “vetted” Syrian rebel fighters. Now the annual defense spending bill and supplemental Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) funding pass to the Senate floor, largely unchanged from what SAC’s defense subcommittee… Keep reading →

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SAC-D Takes Stand For SpaceX & For Army National Guard – Sort Of

Posted by Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. on


CAPITOL HILL: This morning’s Senate subcommittee mark-up of the annual defense spending bill meant good news and extra money for a host of interests, from upstart rocket-maker SpaceX to the giant Boeing company. On the bitterly contentious issue of the Army National Guard’s endangered Apache helicopter fleet, however, the Senate defense appropriations subcommittee put down a… Keep reading →

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SAC To Budgeteers: Stop Sequestration, Avoid Another Shutdown

Posted by Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. on


CAPITOL HILL: “That’s a real softball question, so I’ll try to knock it out of the park,” the witness told the senator. There’s a scripted quality to many legislative hearings, but it’s rare to hear the actors break character and admit they’re in a play. The exchange above actually happened, between Rockford, Ill. mayor Larry… Keep reading →

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