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Posted by Randy | October 12, 2015
In case you missed it, I recently introduced a resolution calling for sanctions against Chinese businesses and state-owned enterprises that can be linked to cyber attacks against the United States. Additionally, I, along with Rep Joe Wilson, Chairman of the Emerging Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee, sent a letter to the President outlining China’s belligerent behavior to the U.S. We urge the President to take action -- in the form of punitive economic sanctions -- to protect the intellectual property and personal data of U.S. based companies, as well as government data and personnel information.

It is time to send a clear message to China, and to the world, that state sponsored hacking against the United States will not be tolerated and will have tangible repercussions.
Posted by Randy | October 09, 2015
The President has threatened to veto the annual national security bill, which provides critical resources for our troops, unless Congress increases funding for domestic agencies like the Internal Revenue Service and Environmental Protection Agency. Vetoing this bipartisan legislation would do something all Americans, regardless of party affiliation, should find unthinkable: it plays politics with our national security, and with our nation’s heroes.

More specifically, it could have profound consequences for our military for years to come, potentially denying them modern weapons systems like Navy destroyers and the new Air Force bomber. I recently spoke about this situation at The Heritage Foundation, and the Washington Free Beacon article below discusses my concerns about what this veto would mean for U.S. national security.


Forbes Blasts Obama for Delaying Ships, Planes for Troops
The Washington Free Beacon
By Daniel Wiser
October 7, 2015

Rep. Randy Forbes (R., Va.), a prominent lawmaker on defense issues, criticized President Obama on Tuesday for threatening to veto a national defense bill and thus potentially delay several vital ship and aircraft programs for the U.S. military during a period of global instability.

Forbes, who is chairman of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee in the House, said at the Heritage Foundation that Obama’s rejection of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) would send a signal to American adversaries that the United States is not prepared to project power abroad and deter aggression. The national defense act, separate from the actual defense appropriations bill, authorizes numerous benefit and equipment programs for the military.

“[President Obama says] we’re going to be strong around the globe, but then says this: ‘I am going to veto the very bill that authorizes my military unless I can get what I want on the Internal Revenue Service, EPA,’ and all those other things,” Forbes said.

“The impact of vetoing that bill, which may very well happen within weeks, is we’ll lose three destroyers, two attack subs, three littoral combat ships, an amphibious ship, and we’ll delay the Air Force bomber program, and the Air Force tanker program. And you have to say, what kind of image is that putting around the globe?”

Read the full article here.
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. 
Forbes moves to protect pay for troops and defense civilians
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.

So far the Administration has pursued at best an incoherent strategy for addressing this growing threat.

As Chairman of the Congressional China Caucus, I sent a letter to the President, along with Rep Joe Wilson, Chairman of the Emerging Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee outlining China’s belligerent behavior to the United States and urging him to take decisive action -- in the form of punitive economic sanctions -- to protect the intellectual property and personal data of U.S. based companies, as well as government data and personnel information. It is time to send a clear message to China, and to the world, that state sponsored hacking against the United States will not be tolerated and will have tangible repercussions.

You can read more about our letter in the article below, published in The Hill.


 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.

In remembrance of this somber anniversary, I joined Rep Mark Takai in sharing a few reflections with the Honolulu Star Advertiser on how and why the War in the Pacific happened, and the worrisome parallels visible in the Asia-Pacific region today. You can read below, and share your thoughts in response on my Facebook page, here.

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
National Review
​By Congressman J. Randy Forbes
July 30, 2015

A mid the spin and obfuscation of political Washington, it is easy to forget that words matter and have real consequences for U.S. foreign policy. Yet in its public statements on the relationship most likely to define global politics in the 21st century — America’s relationship with China — the U.S. government has long seemed like a detached observer. 

Years ago, prominent China watcher James Mann spoke of the “lexicon” that defines the Sino–American relationship. Disturbingly, that lexicon has far too often featured a “Made in China” label, as U.S. policymakers eagerly embrace Chinese exports while ignoring Beijing’s appropriation of language to serve its own purposes at home, in Asia, and around the world. 

The words American leaders use to describe issues of contention with China should, first and foremost, reflect U.S. interests and values. China’s unprecedented reclamation activities in the South China Sea, totaling roughly 2,000 acres in recent years, fly in the face of international law and norms, and mock the United States’ firm belief that territorial disputes should be peaceably resolved. Yet we repeatedly hear that China is constructing new “islands,” a word Beijing itself uses to describe what should more appropriately be called “man-made features.” This question of semantics has real-world implications. An “artificial feature” is a unilateral land grab. An “island” connotes the internationally accepted twelve nautical miles of territorial waters, along with an exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of another 200 nautical miles. Blithely accepting China’s preferred language gives unwarranted legitimacy to Beijing’s destabilizing behavior. 

Read the full article here.

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
Breaking Defense
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:
  1. Have a clear objective: a peaceful and prosperous Pacific where China follows the rule of law and the US works closely with its partners.
  2. Speak truth to Chinese power: Be willing to offend Beijing with frank statements, especially on issues like human rights and Taiwan.
  3. Punish Chinese provocations, for example by un-inviting them from international wargames like RIMPAC if they continue building artificial “islands.”
  4. Strengthen our military presence in the Pacific, especially (but not onlynaval forces.
  5. Communicate our strategy — to the American people so they buy in, to our allies so they’re reassured, and to the Chinese so they’re deterred.
  6. “One of the cornerstones of any strategy is the ability to articulate that strategy,” Forbes told me. “The administration will tell you have they have a strategy, but ask them in any hearing, ask them in any place, to put it on the record… They will not tell you, because they don’t have it.”

“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.”

Read the rest of the article here.

I recently  wrote an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal on the senseless humiliations the United States places on its longstanding partner Taiwan, all to avoid antagonizing China. Yet China's behavior in the region has only become more opposed to U.S. national interests. See my article here.

Posted by Randy | July 02, 2015
On Tuesday, June 30th, the U.S. State Department announced that negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program have been extended until July 7th. This Tuesday marked what had previously been the final deadline for reaching a long-term solution to Iran’s effort to obtain nuclear capability.

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. 

I think it is simply unconscionable to play politics with our national security in order to promote the Administration’s political agenda. See my recent questioning of Defense Secretary Ash Carter on this subject here or by clicking on the photo below.