Posted by Randy | September 29, 2015
Thought you’d be interested in The Daily Press’ coverage of a bill I recently introduced -- H.R. 3616, the Defending our Defenders Act -- to make sure our servicemembers and Defense Department civilians receive their paychecks during any government funding lapse. Our warriors, and their families, should never have to worry about keeping food on the table or paying their mortgage. This legislation will give them the peace of mind they have earned and deserve.
The Daily Press
September 28, 2015
Reports from Washington, D.C., indicate that a government shutdown won't happen on Thursday -- the threat "is almost gone for now," reports Politico.
But the threat will return "with a vengance" in December, it reports, which is behind Monday's announcement from Rep. Randy Forbes, R-Chesapeake.
Forbes said he has filed legislation to ensure that U.S. military personnel, Defense Department civilians and support contractors will keep getting paid if funding lapses or the government reaches its borrowig limit.
Key provisions include:
-- Authorizing emergency funds so active-duty troops get pay and allowances without delay if the government shuts down
-- Additional emergency funds to pay Defense Department civilians and contractors at home and overseas
-- Forbidding the furlough of DoD civilians and contractors in public shipyards, maintenance depots and other critical facilities
-- Requiring the Treasury to prioritize payment of military personnel, DoD civilians and contractors if the U.S. reaches its borrowing limit.
You can read the article here.
Posted by Randy | September 25, 2015
President Obama is hosting Chinese President Xi Jinping for a State Dinner at the White House tonight. Just this week, a Chinese aircraft harassed an American surveillance plane in international airspace and Beijing announced it will begin submarine patrols with nuclear missiles capable of striking the US homeland. China's behavior has become an increasingly destabilizing force in the international system and tonight's dinner is an opportunity for candid conversation between the U.S. And Chinese Presidents. In that spirit, I wrote an Op-Ed in The National Interest suggesting ten questions President Obama should ask his Chinese counterpart.
The U.S.-China Summit: 10 Questions for President Xi Jinping
The National Interest
By Congressman J. Randy Forbes
Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in Washington on Thursday for two days of 21 gun salutes, state dinners, and fervent assertions of Sino-American cooperation and goodwill. But beyond the rhetoric, China's recent behavior across an array of policy areas has been the most openly antagonistic to American interests and values than at any time in at least a generation.
China has unilaterally sought to change the status quo in the South China Sea by creating nearly 3,000 acres of artificial formations and making baseless assertions of sovereignty in the surrounding waters and airspace. Just this week, the Pentagon reported that another U.S. plane was nearly hit during an overly aggressive encounter with Chinese interceptors in international airspace, directly contravening the intent of a 2014 memorandum of understanding on unplanned encounters at sea and in the air. By the year's end, China is expected to deploy a ballistic missile submarine carrying nuclear missiles capable of hitting the United States. Meanwhile, the hacking of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and the personal information of millions of U.S. government employees has focused renewed attention on the threat of Chinese cyber espionage.
Far too often in recent years, foreign policy experts have counseled to avoid speaking candidly with Chinese leaders in fear of somehow offending them or making relations worse. The Obama Administration seems to have taken this advice to heart. But despite this conciliatory tone, the competitive aspects of Sino-American relations have become even more pronounced as its military capability and capacity relentlessly grow. A strong bilateral relationship capable of withstanding the ups and downs of international politics is one based on mutual candor and respect for shared international norms. Therefore, I offer the following questions that President Obama should ask President Xi during this week's visit… Read the full article here.
Posted by Randy | September 04, 2015
22 million. That is the approximate number of people impacted by the recent hack against the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM), which a number of accounts have attributed to the Chinese government. Although this malicious hack has not be formally confirmed to have originated the Chinese government, there is no shortage of evidence that China is actively promoting cyber espionage. And they are not just hacking personal information—they are also suspected of making off with some of our most sensitive military technology and the medical data of millions of Americans.
Lawmakers press Obama to sanction China
The Hill | Thursday, September 3, 2015
Reps. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) and J. Randy Forbes (R-Va.) on Thursday called on President Obama to impose economic sanctions on China “to let the world know that state sponsored hacking will have tangible repercussions.”
In a letter to the White House, Wilson and Forbes pointed to mounting evidence of Beijing’s active promotion of cyber espionage, specifically its alleged hack on the Office of Personnel Management (OPM).
The congressmen said the White House has pursued an “incoherent deterrent strategy” when it comes to state-backed cyber espionage.
While Obama authorized additional sanctions for certain North Korean officials in response to the attack on Sony Pictures, the representatives said he has taken no such action against the five Chinese military hackers indicted on economic espionage charges in 2014.
Some observers say it’s unlikely the five members of the People’s Liberation Army charged in 2014 will ever see the inside of a U.S. court room, and that the purpose of the indictments was simply to send a diplomatic warning.
“A clear and unwavering line needs to be drawn by your Administration in protecting the intellectual property and personal data of U.S. based companies, as well as government data and personnel information,” Wilson and Forbes wrote.
The representatives’ call comes in the wake of recent White House leaks that revealed the administration is developing possible economic sanctions to use as a tool to deter China cyber spying.
The unnamed White House sources suggested that those sanctions would most likely be targeted at Chinese companies, not Beijing — and that the OPM hack would not be one of the actions subject to sanctions.
Policy experts say there is a critical distinction between hacking for commercial gain and hacking for traditional intelligence purposes. Most reports indicate that the sanctions would address only the former.
The president has been under increasing pressure to take a more offensive stance on cyber espionage where China is concerned, with rhetoric amongst D.C. lawmakers reaching a fever pitch in the wake of the OPM hack.
“One of the conclusions we’ve reached is that we need to be a bit more public about our responses, and one reason is deterrence,” a White House official told The New York Times in an oft-quoted interview on administration policy. “We need to disrupt and deter what our adversaries are doing in cyberspace, and that means you need a full range of tools to tailor a response.”
“We strongly urge your Administration, in consultation with the Treasury Department, to apply punitive economic sanctions to entities and individuals conducting cyberattacks to punish and deter such action,” Wilson and Forbes wrote.
Posted by Randy | September 02, 2015
70 years ago on this day, Japan surrendered to the United States and its allies, marking an end to the cataclysm that claimed some 30 million lives across Asia and the Pacific Ocean. Today, we pause to remember the lives lost, the courage and heroism displayed, and the sacrifices made.
Reflections on war and peace in the Pacific
Honolulu Star Advertiser
By U.S. Reps. J. Randy Forbes and Mark Takai
Sunday, Aug 30, 2015
On Sept. 2, 2015, we will gather with veterans, civilians, military dignitaries and our colleagues from Congress to commemorate the end of the Second World War in the Pacific.
The ceremony being held aboard the battleship USS Missouri in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii will mark the 70th anniversary of the date on which Japan surrendered to the United States and its allies, bringing to an end a cataclysm that claimed some 30 million lives across Asia and the Pacific Ocean.
The Second World War is a somber subject with a complex legacy, but the end of that terrible conflict is something that everyone -- not just the victorious powers -- should commemorate.
The end of the War in the Pacific was not just a reprieve for the millions of men, women, and children caught up in the conflict. It was also a transformational moment for the Asia-Pacific region.
It did not bring universal peace or freedom, but it did usher in a new and enduring international order. That order, led and defended by the United States and its partners, has enabled many nations in Asia to emerge or reemerge in the decades since 1945 as increasingly free and prosperous states in a relatively peaceful region. Japan -- our former adversary -- now stands as a close U.S. ally and a responsible stakeholder in the international system.
It is fitting, therefore, that we should commemorate the end of the War in the Pacific. But we should also remember how and why that terrible conflict began. Most Americans think of the Pacific War as a 4-year contest that started on Dec. 7, 1941, but Imperial Japan aggressed against its neighbors long before Pearl Harbor.
As in Europe, the road to war in Asia passed what the late historian Mark Peattie called "numerous forks pointing the way toward ... aggression or accommodation, action or inaction." Unfortunately, the United States and the other great powers did too little until it was too late, and, as Peattie tells us, "the failure of the international community to take effective action to prevent aggression and to limit the use of force in a regional conflict ultimately paved the road to a larger war." That lesson was brought home for Americans right where the Missouri is now anchored.
Seven decades later, it is important to remember how and why the War in the Pacific happened and reflect on how it might have been prevented. History does not repeat itself, as the saying goes, but it does rhyme; and worrisome parallels are visible in the Asia-Pacific region today.
Nationalism is on the rise once again, and in China we now see another rising Asian nation rapidly amassing economic and military power and starting to flex its growing muscles. Watching these events unfold, as Princeton's Aaron Friedberg recently observed, "it has become increasingly difficult to escape the conclusion that Beijing's ultimate aim is to displace the United States and resume its traditional position as the preponderant power in Asia."
As the outcome of the war in the Pacific reminds us, the United States and its allies are resilient, although often slow to react. But we should not assume that the post-war international order that we established in the region will endure without continuous American leadership and efforts to shore it up.
The United States should welcome the "peaceful rise of China," but it must also make clear through words and deeds that the use of force and coercion by any country in the Asia-Pacific region will be strongly and resolutely opposed. Skillful diplomacy will be needed to convey our positions, but we must also maintain a balance of hard power that will not allow China to dominate the region or achieve its aims with force and coercion.
As we gather to commemorate the end of one conflict in the Pacific, we should reaffirm our pledge to deter and prevent the outbreak of another.
Posted by Randy | July 31, 2015
For too long, the United States has allowed China to dictate the words and phrases we use to describe our relations with Beijing. Whether it is our relationship with long-standing partners like Taiwan, a description of China’s illegitimate reclamation activities in the South China Sea, or very real concerns about Chinese human rights abuses, Washington has hoped that staying silent or using China’s preferred terminology would encourage Beijing to behave constructively. I recently wrote an Op-Ed in National Review Online about how this strategy has clearly failed and how it is time to reevaluate how the United States talks about China.
It’s Time to Rethink How We Talk about China
Posted by Randy | July 24, 2015
Five years after the Administration announced a greater focus on the Asia-Pacific region, the United States still lacks a strategy for confronting China's continuing military and diplomatic expansion. This week I gave a talk at the Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS) on how to respond to China's construction of nearly 2,000 acres of artificial "islands" in the South China Sea, where I discussed the importance of formulating, articulating and implementing a clear strategy for the United States in Asia. You might be interested in this article in Breaking Defense summarizing my speech.
Forbes: White House Has No China Strategy; Here’s Mine
By Sydney J. Freedberg Jr.
July 24, 2015 at 1:41 PM
What’s the strategy for coping with what everyone on Capitol Hill and inside the Obama administration agrees is an increasingly assertive China? The White House can’t answer, Rep. Randy Forbes says, “because they don’t have it.” So, it’s fair to ask: what is Forbes’s strategy, then?
The House seapower chairman’s outline for a “winning strategy” boils down to five principles, he told me in an interview:
“We’ve been trying to encourage them to have an East Asia strategy review,” Forbes added. “We haven’t had one since the ’90s… They’ve refused to do one since they’ve been in office.”
Question of the Week: Are you concerned that the Administration’s continued nuclear negotiations with Iran put the U.S. in a position of weakness?Posted by Randy | July 02, 2015
The goal of the negotiations between the United States, the United Kingdom, China, France, Germany, and Russia (collectively known as the P5+1), and Iran is to restrict Tehran’s nuclear program in exchange for relief from currently imposed economic sanctions. Iranian negotiators, however, have pushed back strongly over the level of access the international community would have into any facility in Iran suspected of non-commercial nuclear activity, and there remain difficulties resolving fundamental differences. Previously, a four-month extension to the first of two original agreement deadlines was declared on July 18, 2014, followed by another seven-month extension, which was enacted when the November 24, 2014 deadline was missed and the yearlong effort to reach a deal failed to come to fruition.
This new deadline is intended to allow for a final deal to be submitted to the U.S. Congress before July 9th, giving Congress 30 days to review the agreement and vote over whether or not it will lift Congressionally mandated sanctions on Iran. If, however, the deal is submitted after the July 9th deadline, Congress would have an additional 30 days to review the agreement.
Opponents of the negotiations continue to be concerned that the agreement is too lenient and that Iran, a U.S. designated state-sponsor of terrorism and the developer of a robust ballistic missile capability, cannot be trusted to uphold their end of the agreement. Former CIA Director Michael Hayden has stated he is fearful of what might come out of continued talks because he believes that Iran has the “upper hand” in negotiations. The Administration, however, has declared the deal to be a national security priority.
Question of the Week: Are you concerned that the Administration’s continued nuclear negotiations with Iran put the U.S. in a position of weakness?
( ) Yes.
( ) No.
( ) I don’t know.
( ) Other.
Take the Poll here
Find the results of last week’s InstaPoll here.
Posted by Randy | June 19, 2015
The President has threatened to veto the annual defense policy bill, which provides critical resources for our men and women in uniform, unless Congress increases funding for domestic agencies like the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This threat comes even as 450 additional troops have been sent to Iraq to oppose ISIS.
Posted by Randy | June 18, 2015
Over this past weekend, the Obama Administration quietly released six more terrorists from the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, sending them to the country of Oman. This is just the latest step in the President’s dangerous and short-sighted plan to close down GITMO – a plan that puts politics above national security and personal priorities above the interests of the American people.
Given former GITMO detainees’ propensity for returning to the battlefield against Americans, I believe their release presents a grave national security concern. Yet, according to recent reports, the Administration intends to move forward with transferring up to 10 detainees from the Guantanamo detention center this month alone, which means an additional four prisoners could be turned loose within the next two weeks. This is what Administration officials are reported to be saying:
Terrorists at GITMO? Put them on a wait list. The men and women who have sacrificed and served this nation? That is who our government should be “working feverishly” to care for and support.
Defending our defenders has long been one of my top priorities in Congress. Click here to read about some recent bills I supported that put our troops before politics, and ensure their best interests are looked after.
Posted by Randy | May 13, 2015
A quick heads up: There are currently two provisions in this year’s defense policy bill that deal with immigration. One of them urges the Secretary of Defense to review allowing DACA recipients (young illegal immigrants) to serve in the armed forces, while the other calls on the Pentagon to analyze how DACA recipients could expand the number of potential recruits.
Both of these provisions were offered as amendments by Democrats on the House Armed Services Committee. I voted against both during the Committee markup; however, they narrowly passed and were included in the defense policy bill.
That’s why I am supporting new amendments that will strip these provisions from the final defense policy bill. Protecting and providing for our servicemembers and the United States’ military readiness should not be derailed by partisan agendas – on either side of the aisle – over other policy issues.
RECENT POSTS10/01/2015 - Question of the Week: Do you support legislation to increase accountability for U.S. dollars going to the U.N.?
10/01/2015 - Prepping for Hurricane Joaquin
09/29/2015 - Forbes moves to protect pay for troops and defense civilians
09/26/2015 - Question of the Week: Do you support sanctions against China in response to cyberattacks against the United States?
09/25/2015 - Still waiting...
09/25/2015 - 10 Questions for President Xi Jinping