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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 13, 2014
In June, I joined my colleagues in the House to support a 1.8% raise for our servicemembers; however, in August, the President announced that he believed their pay should be reduced.

This cut comes at a time when we have troops deployed around the world, and the Administration has cut billions of dollars from our national defense and subjected our military to sequestration.  I oppose the President’s decision to reduce the pay of our servicemembers – they are not the cause of our nation’s fiscal problems and should not be forced to carry the weight of solving it.

I will continue my steadfast support for our nation’s heroes, ensuring they receive the benefits and compensation they have earned and deserve.

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 | August 12, 2014
In June, as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) began its takeover of major cities in Iraq, I asked if you believed the United States should get involved.   In response, 2,096 out of 3,469 or 60.4% of you said ‘no.’

On August 7th, the President authorized targeted airstrikes against ISIL if they move toward or threaten our personnel in the U.S. consulate in Erbil or the American embassy in Baghdad.  The President also called for humanitarian aid for the Iraqi civilians stranded on Mount Sinjar, and authorized military assistance to the Iraqi government and Kurdish forces as they battle these terrorists.

To date, the U.S. military has conducted airdrops of food and water, delivering more than 85,000 meals and more than 20,000 gallons of drinking water, and is continuing airstrikes against ISIL to protect our American diplomats and military personnel in Erbil.


Question of the week:  Do you support the actions taken by the Administration in response to the situation in Iraq?

( ) Yes.
( ) No.
( ) I don’t know.
( ) Other.


 Take the Poll here.

Find the results of last week’s InstaPollhere.
Posted by Randy | June 30, 2014

Below is a recent article in the Virginian-Pilot that discusses my concerns that U.S. leaders are not speaking openly about the challenge China poses to U.S. security interests. I recently expressed my concerns on this subject in an op-ed entitled “China. There, I Said It. (Part II)”.


                   

Navy should talk openly about China, Forbes says
The Virginian-Pilot
June 28, 2014

U.S. Rep. Randy Forbes says Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert was wrong in urging military officers not to speak openly about Chinese military threats during a recent speech.

"If we resign ourselves to a policy of self-censorship about China's assertive actions and growing military power for fear it will antagonize them, we will be granting Beijing a veto over what we can and cannot say," the Chesapeake Republican wrote in a column published Thursday by the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Forbes, the senior member of the House Armed Services Committee, started the House's China Caucus and has repeatedly warned about the Asian nation's growing military presence.

He was reacting to Greenert's comments June 17 at the U.S. Naval War College in Rhode Island.

When an unidentified officer noted that there was a reluctance to publicly talk about operations, tactics and air strategy in responding to the Chinese military, Greenert agreed.

"If you talk openly, you cross the line and you unnecessarily antagonize diplomatically," he said. "You probably have a sense of how much we trade with that country, right? It's astounding."

The admiral said there are closed-door discussions of how to meet the Chinese threat.

"There are groups up here that do this full time. And they're talking strategies and all that," he said. "People say we need to talk about it more openly... We can't do that... It will unnecessarily muddy waters."

But a lack of open discussion hurts the Navy's argument that it needs a larger 313-ship fleet and new military capabilities, Forbes wrote.

He has said that he believes many in Congress who want to shrink the military do not have a deep understanding of the threats the U.S. faces.

If China wants to be a superpower, Forbes wrote, it has to develop a "thick skin" so that its leaders can respond to criticism "without simply resorting to retaliation."

"I am not implying we need to be abrasive or obstinate in how we discuss this policy issue," he wrote. "Instead, our leaders should speak with clarity when China bullies its neighbors, seeks to unilaterally revise the status quo, challenges freedom of navigation, directs economic espionage, and as it continues to build military capabilities that undermine U.S. security guarantees in the region."

The debate arises as Chinese navy ships are participating for the first time in a joint exercise - called the Rim of the Pacific - off the coast of Hawaii with ships from the U.S. and 20 other nations. Greenert and his wife plan to visit

China next month at the invitation of his counterpart, Adm. Wu Shengli.

Nonetheless, Greenert said, the U.S. is continuing to build its presence in the Pacific and Asia.

Other nations and U.S. trading partners who want to keep maritime shipping lanes open have expressed growing concern with China as its navy moves more aggressively to broaden its influence.

"People ask me: 'What are you going to do about the South China Sea?' " Greenert said. "I say we're going to manage it."

The U.S. has to be clear with the Chinese about the freedom of the seas, he said. "They understand that. They don't like it, but they understand it."

Read the article here: http://hamptonroads.com/2014/06/navy-should-talk-openly-about-china-forbes-says
Posted by | June 11, 2014

Link below is my questioning of Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel this morning at the House Armed Services hearing on the Bergdahl-Taliban trade.

I asked: would we put American lives at risk to go after the recently freed Taliban 5 if they return to the battlefield?

Hagel’s ultimate answer? “Yes.”

Watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wmBhQmeqb7g&feature=youtu.be

Posted by | June 09, 2014
Transparency.  Accountability.  Responsibility.  These are characteristics that government agencies and departments are obligated to possess in order to effectively serve the American people. Despite their size and power, the Federal Reserve and the Department of Defense (DOD) are not exempt from this responsibility.

To ensure taxpayer dollars are used in the most efficient, effective means possible, action needs to be taken. We need to audit the Fed, and audit the DOD.

It’s just common sense. With our nation’s staggering deficit looming over the heads of our children, auditing the Federal Reserve is imperative, not optional. Likewise, a full audit of the Department of Defense would create an even stronger national defense, allowing us to better ensure that the agency is meeting its core goal of protecting our national security.

It’s long past due. The time is now.

Ensuring that government and federal agencies remain transparent in their use of tax dollars is a job I take very seriously. Recently, I’ve worked on the “Freedom of Information Act,” (H.R. 1211) which increases the ability of citizens to access records and documents from government agencies. Additionally, I’ve supported the “Taxpayers Right-to-Know Act,” (H.R. 1423), which requires federal agencies to annually provide the public with information on the programs they administer. Learn more about my work, here.
Posted by Randy | May 08, 2014

Following passage of the Fiscal Year 2015 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) by the Armed Services Committee yesterday I wanted to share some key provisions of the bill with you.  


Provisions I worked to include:

  • Providing Planning and Advance Procurement Funding for the Refueling and Complex Overhaul (RCOH) of the USS George Washington (CVN-73). The bill provides for the continued service life of the CVN-73, meeting the legal requirement for the U.S. Navy to maintain an 11 carrier Fleet and rejecting an Administration plan to move toward a 10 carrier Fleet.
  • Ensuring Continued Funding for the USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79). The bill continues full funding for the next generation aircraft carrier, supporting U.S. power projection capabilities for decades to come.
  • Continuing Critical Investments in Virginia-class Attack Submarines and Arleigh Burke-class Destroyers. The bill continues two-a-year procurement of Virginia-class submarines, maintaining U.S. dominance in the undersea domain, and two-a-year procurement of destroyers in FY15 at a time of growing demand for U.S. surface capabilities around the world.
  • Preventing the Premature Retirement of 11 Navy Cruisers. The bill prevents the early retirement of Ticonderoga -class cruisers and Whidbey Island-class amphibious ships. This provision will require the Navy to begin HM&E and Combat Systems modernization on two cruisers in FY15.
  • Providing an Additional Amphibious Ship in FY15. At the behest of Chairmen Forbes and Wittman, the bill provides an additional San Antonio-class amphibious vessel to meet the Navy and Marine Corps’ amphibious requirements.
  • Continuing the Littoral Combat Ship Program. The bill authorizes the procurement of two LCS in support of the Navy’s continuing requirement for a small surface combatant.
  • Authorizing an Additional 96 Tomahawk Missiles. The bill fills the Navy’s growing shortfall in munitions by procuring additional Tomahawk land-attack missiles.
  • Setting direction for the UCLASS Program. The bill precludes the use of funds for the Navy’s future unmanned carrier platform pending a review by the Secretary of Defense of the requirements associated with the Navy’s unmanned aviation program.
  • Standardizing Ship Counting Procedures to Avoid “Paper Ships”. The bill prevents the use of an expanded counting mechanisms used in the Thirty Year Shipbuilding Plan that misleadingly bolsters the size of the Navy’s Fleet.
  • Supporting New Offensive Anti-Surface Warfare Weapon. The bill fully supports the development of the next generation offensive anti-surface warfare (OASUW) weapon.

Key Provisions of the NDAA Include:

  • Military Compensation Commission and the President’s Proposed Benefit Cuts. The NDAA rejects the Administration’s proposed cuts to Tricare, Housing Allowances, and Commissary benefits. These cuts would have represented thousands of dollars in additional out-of-pocket expenses for our military personnel and their families.
  • Increasing Troop Pay. The bill supports a 1.8% annual pay increase for our troops, as required by current law.
  • Commissaries. The bill rejects $100 million in commissary cuts that would have disadvantaged our most junior personnel and their families.
  • Military Suicide. The NDAA provides $45.3 million towards behavioral and psychological health programs to prevent military suicides and help our warriors make the transition from the war zone.
  • Combatting Sexual Assault in the Military. The NDAA eliminates the “good soldier defense”, a consideration of general military character toward the probably of innocence in sexual assault prosecutions. It also calls for a review of the terms of discharge for those who are victims of sexual assault to ensure they have not been persecuted for reporting crimes.  
Providing for the common defense is among our most important Constitutional duties. The bill passed by the Armed Services Committee provides for the future health of our Navy and Marine Corps, invests in future technologies, and ensures that the promises made to our men and women in uniform are kept. The national security challenges of the coming decade require the type of serious, bipartisan leadership found in this legislation.