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.
Posted by Randy | April 23, 2015
Just a quick note – wanted to let you know I recently sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Carter, requesting that he publicly outline his plan to make the Department of Defense auditable by 2017, and submit audit results to Congress by 2019 (as required by the Financial Improvement and Audit Readiness Plan).
Action needs to be taken. Not only because auditing the DOD will help ensure taxpayer dollars are used in the most efficient, effective means possible, but also because it will create an even stronger national defense, allowing us to better ensure the agency is meeting its core goal of protecting our national security.
Posted by Randy | April 22, 2015
Over the last few weeks, we have heard story after story about China’s provocative actions in the disputed waters of the East and South China Seas. Many of these actions are being taken by China’s Coast Guard, which now outnumbers the coast guards of all of China’s neighbors combined.
Posted by Randy | April 01, 2015
The aircraft carrier remains the most visible and effective instrument of U.S. military power. Building a mixed and technologically-advanced Carrier Air Wing, including unmanned aircraft, is essential to preserving the carrier’s dominance in the decades ahead. I recently authored an Op-Ed in Defense News laying out my vision for unmanned carrier aviation.
Commentary: Where Is Unmanned Carrier Aviation Heading?
Posted by | March 31, 2015
The Navy, Marines, and Coast Guard recently released a new Maritime Strategy. I’ve shared my thoughts on what any successful Maritime Strategy should contain here and recently discussed the subject with USNI News, noting the significant progress made since the last Strategy was released in 2007.
Rep. Forbes: New U.S. Maritime Strategy Revision 'Light Years Ahead' of 2007 Original
By Sam LaGrone
March 30, 2015
The recent revision to the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard’s maritime strategy is ‘light years ahead’ of the 2007 original draft, the chairman of the House Armed Service Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces told USNI News last week.
Two weeks after the rollout of the tri-service plan. Rep Randy Forbes (R-Va.) said he mostly pleased with the content of A Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower (CS21).
“I thought the last one wasn’t very strong at all it didn’t have much meat to it. This one is light years ahead of where that strategy was and because of that I think this could be something that could have a lot more shelf life to it,” Forbes said.
“It is certainly something we are looking at and paying attention to with our subcommittee."
In particular, Forbes was pleased the Navy included a component about China.
“They were pretty straightforward talking about the challenge China would pose,” he said.
“That’s something if you leave out of our maritime strategy, it almost becomes worthless.”
However, Forbes would have liked to see more attention on the industrial base and a force structure assessment specifically for the Navy.
“I think one of the things that more and more people are becoming a little bit concerned about is our over all industrial base — what it’s going to look like five years down the road and ten years down the road?” he said.
“I would have liked to have seen them do a laydown about that industrial base is and then some planning on how the maritime strategy will help support that industrial base so we will have it there to provide the ships and repairs we’ll need down the road.”
Forbes has been vocal about a perceived lack of overall U.S. military strategic direction.
“I find the degree to which we as a nation are devoting any real intellectual energy to the subject [of strategy] to be minimal, just as I find that our capacity to devote such energy to be waning,” read a July 28 from Forbes to Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Jonathan Greenert.
“I write to you because of my sense that an effort to restore strategic thinking in the U.S. government must be started and championed by a strong advocate. I believe the Navy can be that champion and the Chief of Naval Operations can be its chief advocate."
Over the 18-months CS-21 revision process, the Navy shared drafts and asked legislators for their input into the final revision, including Forbes.
“The Navy actually met with us early on in this process, talked to us and said ‘we included some of your suggestions in this maritime strategy’ and in face they have — throughout,” he said.
“Overall they did a very good job with this maritime strategy and it should guide us in many of the decisions we should make over the upcoming months.”
Read the article here.
Posted by Randy | March 27, 2015
Wanted to highlight a bill for you that I recently cosponsored – The Detaining Terrorists to Protect America Act (H.R. 401) – to push back on what I strongly believe is the Administration’s ill-advised approach towards the remaining detainees at GITMO.
What this bill does: This legislation accomplishes several important priorities: 1) suspends international transfers of high and medium risk detainees; 2) prohibits transfers of Guantanamo detainees to Yemen; 3) extends the current prohibition on transfers to the U.S.; and 4) increases transparency regarding risk assessments of the remaining GITMO detainees.
Bottom line: I believe for the Administration to put politics above national security, and personal priorities above the interests of the American people is beyond shortsighted – it is dangerous.
Recently, I joined Neil Cavuto on the Fox News Channel to discuss the President’s recent comment that he should have closed GITMO on his first day in office. Click here to watch if you missed it.
Posted by Randy | March 25, 2015
Defense isn’t just another line in the budget – it is a constitutional duty. The consequences of getting our national defense wrong are far-reaching and, despite what the Administration will say, far more devastating than getting funding for the EPA wrong, or the IRS. The bottom line is if we get national defense wrong, nothing else matters.
RECENT POSTS07/02/2015 - 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?
06/25/2015 - Question of the Week: In light of the recent OPM hack, are you concerned that the U.S. government is dangerously vulnerable to cyber-attacks?
06/23/2015 - A story
06/19/2015 - Question of the Week: Do you support measures in the legislative and judicial branches to roll back Obamacare?
06/19/2015 - Take a look at H.R. 1299
06/19/2015 - Veto Threat Plays Politics with National Security