Randy's Blog

RSS Feed
Posted by The Congressional China Caucus | October 14, 2014

China Military Buildup Shifts Balance of Power in Asia in Beijing’s Favor. Congressional report warns the danger of U.S.-China conflict is rising. China’s decades-long buildup of strategic and conventional military forces is shifting the balance of power in Asia in Beijing’s favor and increasing the risk of a conflict, according to a forthcoming report by a congressional China commission. China’s military has greatly expanded its air and naval forces and is sharply increasing its missile forces, even while adopting a more hostile posture against the United States and regional allies in Asia, states a late draft of the annual report of the bipartisan U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission. As a result, “the potential for security miscalculation in the region is rising,” the report said, using the euphemism for a conflict or shootout between Chinese forces and U.S. forces or those of its regional allies. The report paints an alarming picture of China’s growing aggressiveness and expanding power, including development of two new stealth jets, the first deployment of a naval expeditionary amphibious group to the Indian Ocean, and aerial bombing exercises held in Kazakhstan. China’s communist government also views the United States as its main adversary—despite strong trade and financial links between the two countries, the report says. The commission report—to be released in final form in November—concludes that the war-footing-like buildup by the People’s Liberation Army is increasing the risk that a conflict will break out between the United States and China. The report warns that China’s communist leaders are fueling nationalist tensions amid concerns about declining economic growth and increasing social unrest. “Promoting a sense of grievance among the Chinese people and creating diversionary tensions in the region would carry real risks of escalation and create the potential for the United States to be drawn into a regional conflict,” the report says. The high-technology weapons and other capabilities China is fielding also pose a growing threat to America’s ability to deter regional conflicts, defend allies and maintain open and secure air and sea-lanes. As China builds up its naval power, the U.S. Navy is declining, and the current American ability to defeat China in a conflict will be difficult to maintain, the report says. http://freebeacon.com/national-security/china-military-buildup-shifts-balance-of-power-in-asia-in-beijings-favor/

Army's Pacific Pathways: New Tactics, Lessons Learned. A US Army Stryker brigade with added engineering, logistics and aviation capabilities is currently in Japan on its third stop of the Army’s inaugural Pacific Pathways rotation. The brigade and its equipment boarded contractor-piloted ships in Washington State in August and have joined exercises with partner forces in Indonesia, Malaysia and Japan since then, including the massive RIMPAC exercise, marking the first time the US Army was involved. US Army helicopters performed “hundreds” of deck landings during the exercise, Gen. Vincent Brooks, head of US Army Pacific, said on Monday. As part of the strategic “rebalance” toward the Pacific region, and with the end of rotations of soldiers based there to Iraq and Afghanistan, Brooks said that the number of soldiers assigned to Asia has grown from 60,000 to 100,000 over the past two years. “We have begun to train our aviation units in over-water operations so we can interface very easily” with the Navy, he said during a press briefing. Overall, “we are increasing the amount of work we do with the joint team” in the region, he said. Performing more joint operations and partnering with allies is more important than ever given budget cuts and the shrinking size of the overall force, he said. “The smaller we are the more engagement we need in order to maintain our leadership in the region … because we will have to rely on our partners to carry the load.” The Stryker unit is merely the first of what the Army hopes to be more — and more frequent — Pacific Pathways deployments, which would ramp up to three separate brigades running three separate rotations in fiscal 2015 and each year after if the funding holds up. Over the past two months, “we have found that we can be more efficient in using assets [to] drive costs down to squeeze every dollar we can” out of the event, he said, but offered few other lessons learned. http://www.defensenews.com/article/20141013/SHOWSCOUT04/310130028/Army-s-Pacific-Pathways-New-Tactics-Lessons-Learned

Army Steps Up Pacific Sea-Based Exercises. The Army plans to conduct more maritime exercises with Navy ships in the Pacific as part of the services’ rebalance to the region, service leaders said Monday at the Association of the United States Army Annual Meeting and Exposition in Washington D.C. “We’ve begun to train our aviation units in Hawaii, Alaska, Japan and Korea to train them over water. We’ve done deck landing qualifications and participated in medical and logistical exercises. We are increasing the amount we are doing with the joint team,” said Gen. Vincent Brooks, Pacific Commander. Brooks added that the Army participated in the Rim of the Pacific training exercise this past summer, performing deck landings and medical evacuations. “We were flying out to ships with Army helicopters integrating air, land and sea. As we bring domains together we find the Army is an active player,” he said. Overall, the Army has increased its presence in the Pacific from 60,000 soldiers up to 100,000, Brooks said. “The rebalance takes the form of a 60-percent increase in forces assigned to the Pacific. This is an important step as part of the Army’s regional alignment,” Brooks added. As part of its rebalance to the Pacific, the Army plans to build upon a program it refers to as Pacific Pathways. This involves an effort to move a battalion-sized element of approximately 700 soldiers from a Stryker Task Force and about 500 enabling troops from support units. The effort links a series of exercises with foreign militaries by deploying Army forces for longer periods of time than a traditional exercise. http://www.dodbuzz.com/2014/10/13/army-steps-up-pacific-sea-based-exercises/

North Korea’s Kim Jong-un Reappears in Public, North’s Media Reports. The North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, whose prolonged absence from public view generated speculation about his health and grip on power, has visited a housing project and was seen walking with a cane, according to the North’s state-run media on Tuesday. The report was the first time the state-run news media had mentioned a public appearance by Mr. Kim since Sept. 3, when he was reported to have attended a concert. The report was likely to help dissipate the recent flurry of rumors over Mr. Kim’s whereabouts, many of which speculated on whether he had lost out in a power struggle inside the notoriously opaque government. According to the Korean Central News Agency, Mr. Kim recently visited a district where his government had just finished a cluster of homes for satellite engineers. North Korea is particularly proud of its scientists who succeeded in putting a satellite into orbit on board a long-range rocket in December 2012. Washington considered the rocket program a cover for developing an intercontinental ballistic missile. Mr. Kim “inspected various parts” of the housing district in Pyongyang, the news agency said, indicating that he had no trouble moving about. He expressed “great satisfaction” at the project and also posed for pictures with North Korean scientists who were to move into the new homes, the report added. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/14/world/asia/north-korean-leader-kim-jong-un-reported-to-have-appeared-in-public.html?_r=0

Hong Kong police clear barricades, open roads around protest site. Police used chain saws and sledgehammers to clear away barricades around protest sites and reopen several major roads in Hong Kong on Tuesday, appearing to gain the upper hand for the first time since pro-democracy protests began late last month. In two efficient operations, hundreds of police descended first on the Causeway Bay shopping area and then on Queensway, a wide road running through the heart of Hong Kong’s business district, on Tuesday morning. Forming lines around groups of protesters, other officers demolished barricades that had only been reinforced the night before, and cleaned the roads. Police left untouched the main protest area on Harcourt Road, just north of Queensway in Admiralty District, while some protesters continue to occupy one side of the road in Causeway Bay. But the police action should significantly ease traffic congestion and allow trams, buses and taxis to operate much more freely on Hong Kong island. By lunchtime, traffic was flowing freely down Queensway for the first time in more than two weeks, while police remained on the sidewalks, many carrying riot shields and helmets, to keep the protesters at bay. http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/hong-kong-police-clear-barricades-open-roads-around-protest-site/2014/10/14/36fe0463-a84b-471f-b39b-4fb2a2efac60_story.html

Posted by Randy | October 09, 2014
I wanted to share this article with you. The Associated Press is reporting that the Homeland Security Department privately acknowledged roughly 70% of immigrant families who are caught illegally crossing the Mexican border and released into the United States with instructions to report back to immigration authorities have failed to report back to federal immigration agents.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise. It is a direct consequence of the Administration’s failure to enforce our current immigration laws, and of prioritizing talks of amnesty over border security. My position remains clear: No amnesty. Period. You can learn more about my work opposing amnesty of any form, here.

Recently, the Department of Defense announced that illegal immigrants who have been granted deferral from deportation and also possess certain skills (like language expertise) will now be eligible to join the military. Do you support allowing select illegal immigrants to enlist in the military? Weigh in on our weekly poll, here.
Posted by Randy | September 22, 2014

After learning that the Obama Administration planned to lift a longstanding prohibition on Libyans coming to the U.S. to attend flight school, work in aviation maintenance or flight operations, or study or seek training in nuclear science, the House Judiciary Committee took action in an effort to prevent this dangerous move.

I’m pleased to tell you that the Administration announced it has reversed course and will keep the ban in place.

I will continue working with my colleagues to ensure that we are putting forward policies that are in the best interest of the American people and the national security of this nation.

Posted by Randy | September 17, 2014

This week, I joined Lou Dobbs Tonight on Fox Business to share my thoughts on ISIL, arming the Syrian rebels, and the President’s speech.

Watch below if you missed it, or click here.


Where do you stand? Share your thoughts with me, here



Posted by Randy | April 03, 2014
In November of last year, I asked if you believe the ban should be lifted on Libyans seeking to work in the U.S. in aviation and nuclear fields. Since 93% of you answered ‘no,’ I wanted to share the latest information with you.

In November of 2013, the House Judiciary and Oversight and Government Reform Committees raised concerns about the administration’s plan to lift a longstanding prohibition on Libyans coming to the U.S. to attend flight school, to work in aviation maintenance or flight operations, or to study or seek training in nuclear science. Since that time, the Department of Homeland Security has failed to respond and has instead moved forward with this proposed policy without disclosing information about it to Congress.

Today, the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security and the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee’s Subcommittee on National Security will convene a joint hearing in order to obtain critical information regarding this policy change.

You can watch the hearing, entitled “Overturning 30 Years of Precedent: Is the Administration Ignoring the Dangers of Training Libyan Pilots and Nuclear Scientists?” here.

I am committed to working with my colleagues to ensure that the national security of the United States is protected.
Posted by Randy | December 19, 2013

The debate regarding the government’s collection of information for national security purposes versus the American peoples’ constitutional right to privacy continues to grow.  First, questions arose as to whether the information was even being collected.  Now, the debate is quickly turning to whether the collection is constitutional.  

This week, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia examined the NSA’s collection of telephony metadata, which includes, but is not limited to, the numbers of both parties on a call, along with location data, call duration, unique identifiers, and the time and duration of all calls. Metadata does not include the content of the communications.   

Earlier this year, a court order was granted compelling Verizon Communications, Inc., on an “ongoing, daily basis,” to provide the NSA with telephony metadata on its systems.  In response, I joined my colleagues in introducing legislation to require the Attorney General to share all court orders with Congress to provide much needed oversight.

The court held that “because the government can use daily metadata collection to engage in repetitive, surreptitious surveillance of a citizen’s private goings on, the NSA database implicates the Fourth Amendment each time a government monitors it.”  Judge Richard Leon, who wrote the decision, said, “I believe that bulk telephony metadata collection and analysis almost certainly does violate a reasonable expectation of privacy.” 

Question of the week:   Do you believe an individual’s reasonable expectation of privacy is violated when the government collects their metadata, along with the metadata of millions of other citizens, without any particularized suspicion that they have done something wrong? 

( ) Yes.
( ) No.
( ) I don’t know. 
( ) Other (leave your comments below).
 
 
Take the Poll here.

Find the results of last week’s InstaPoll here.
Posted by Randy | December 04, 2013
During an interview last weekend, the heads of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees both said that they do not believe our nation is safer than it was two years ago.

As they note, groups around the world are growing more hostile toward the United States, and dangerous technology is becoming more readily available to terrorists. In order to combat these threats, we must maintain our technological and innovative advantage, ensuring that we have the resources and tools necessary to keep our law enforcement and the intelligence community safe, so they can keep us secure.

As House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-MI) said, “The pressures on our intelligence services to get it right, to prevent an attack, are enormous.” Particularly in a post-9/11 world, the federal government has a responsibility to ensure that the intelligence community is taking appropriate action to root out threats to the security of the American people, but must do so within the boundaries of the U.S. Constitution.

Question of the week: Do you believe that the United States is safer today than it was just 2-3 years ago?

( ) Yes.
( ) No.
( ) I don’t know.
( ) Other (leave your comments below).


Take the Poll here.

Find the results of last week’s InstaPoll here.
Posted by Randy | June 21, 2013
Recent news coverage has centered on the story of Edward Snowden, a contractor for the National Security Agency (NSA), who recently revealed information regarding a classified program known as PRISM, in which the NSA tapped into the servers of nine leading Internet companies.

Under current law, the NSA has the authority to obtain data from electronic service providers on their customers who reside outside the United States – including e-mail, chat, photos, videos, stored data, and file transfers. To the extent the program captures information pertaining to U.S. citizens, such interception can only be incidental. On June 18th, 2013, NSA Director Keith Alexander testified that the PRISM program helped avert more than 50 “potential terrorist events.”  

The Fourth Amendment provides that, “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated.”  While law enforcement and the intelligence community should have all the resources necessary to combat terrorism, they also must act within the bounds of the Constitution.

Question of the week:  In a post-9/11 world, do you believe that the PRISM program strikes the proper balance between securing our communities and safeguarding liberty?

(  ) Yes.
(  ) No.
(  ) I don’t know.
(  ) Other (leave your comments below).
 
Take the instaPoll here.

Find the results of last week’s instaPoll here.
Posted by Randy | June 07, 2013
Last month, the Office of the Inspector General at the Department of Justice released a report on the Department's mismanagement of the Witness Security Program. It found that that the number of known or suspected terrorists admitted to the program is unknown, that DOJ has lost track of two suspected terrorists in the program, and that critical national security information is not being shared with other agencies.

The report contained sixteen recommendations “to assist the Department in its efforts to include national security considerations when identifying, admitting, monitoring and terminating Witness Protection Program participants who are known or suspected terrorists.”

On Tuesday, the Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations Subcommittee held a hearing on the Department of Justice’s handling of known or suspected terrorists admitted into the Witness Security Program, which is designed to protect witnesses and their dependents that are in danger as a result of their agreement to testify for the government in a variety of cases. 

Question of the week:   Do you believe that a systematic lack of information sharing directly affects our national security?

(  ) Yes.
(  ) No.
(  ) I don’t know.
(  ) Other (leave your thoughts below). 


Take the instaPoll here.

Find the results of last week’s instaPoll here.
Posted by Randy | May 03, 2013
Last week, in a letter to Senators Carl Levin and John McCain, senior members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, the White House addressed the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government, saying “our intelligence community does assess with varying degrees of confidence that the Syrian regime has used chemical weapons on a small scale in Syria, specifically the chemical agent sarin.”  

The United States is calling on the United Nations to conduct a comprehensive investigation, and is working with our allies in the region, as well as the Syrian opposition, in an effort to gain additional intelligence regarding the origins of the weapons and the effect of their use on the nation’s civil war.  

Miguel Rodriguez, Director of the Office of Legislative Affairs, made it clear in the letter that the use of chemical weapons or transfer of such weapons to a terrorist group “is a red line for the United States of America.”  

Question of the week: If this is a “red line,” what action should the United States take in response to the evidence that Syria used chemical weapons?   

(  ) Intervene now to help end the violence and demonstrate a strong stance against the use of these weapons by Syria and Iran.
(  ) Intervene, if necessary, to defend Israel. 
(  ) Continue to monitor the situation in Syria, including supporting humanitarian aid.
(  ) None.  The United States does not have a national interest in the Syrian conflict. 
(  ) Other (leave your comments below).
 
 
Take the instaPoll here.

Find the results of last week’s InstaPoll here.