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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 | 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, the House Select Committee on Benghazi held its first hearing to examine implementation of the recommendations made by the Accountability Review Board.

The Accountability Review Board issued a report in December of 2012, which found that “systemic failures and leadership and management deficiencies” at the State Department resulted in security that was “grossly inadequate” to address the 2012 terrorist attacks in Benghazi, Libya, that took the lives of four Americans.

The Review Board made over twenty recommendations, including designing courses that integrate high threat training to better prepare diplomatic security personnel assigned to high-risk posts, and revising regulations to include disciplinary action when poor performance by senior officials is related to a security incident.

In September of 2013, the State Department's Office of the Inspector General issued a report noting that while the Department has taken action to implement the recommendations, it may not be doing so in a manner that reflects the intent of the Review Board.


Question of the weekIn moving forward towards correcting and improving security at our American embassies, how important do you think it is that Congress continue examining the attack on Benghazi that took the lives of the US Ambassador to Libya and three other Americans?

( ) Very important
( ) Important
( ) Somewhat important
( ) Not important
( ) Undecided
( ) Other


Take the Poll here.


Find the results of last week’s InstaPoll here.

 

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 | September 12, 2014
This week, President Obama addressed the nation to present a strategy to the American people regarding the role the United States will play to “degrade and ultimately destroy” the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

Since last month, the United States has conducted more than 150 airstrikes and has provided humanitarian assistance to those targeted and persecuted by the terrorist organization.

The President announced that the United States will lead an international coalition in continuing the airstrikes and humanitarian aid, and send an additional 475 servicemembers to Iraq to support and train Iraqi and Kurdish forces.


Question of the week
: Do you support the President’s strategy for combatting ISIL?


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


Take the Poll here.


Find the results of last week’s InstaPoll 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 | July 24, 2014
Last week, a Malaysia Airlines passenger flight, carrying nearly 300 people, was shot down over Ukraine.

Secretary of State John Kerry stated that there is evidence that Russia provided the rebels in Ukraine with the weapons used to shoot down the plane, and reports indicate that the rebels have turned over the black boxes that contain key data about the flight and the downing of the plane.

This week, the United Nations Security Council voted unanimously to conduct an international investigation into the tragic incident.

Question of the week:  What role should the United States play in the response to the downing of the Malaysia Airlines flight? 

( ) Impose new sanctions on Russia.
( ) Take the lead in the investigation of the attack.
( ) Lead negotiations to disarm pro-Russian rebels in Ukraine.
( ) The United States should not get involved.
( ) I don’t know.  
( ) Other. 


Take the Poll here.

Find the results of last week’s InstaPoll here.
Posted by Randy | July 24, 2014

Recently, the House passed H.R. 657, which I cosponsored, expressing support for Israel's right to defend itself against rocket attacks from the Hamas terrorist organization, and calling on Hamas to immediately cease all rocket fire and other attacks on Israel. 

I stand with Israel.


Additionally, I supported the United States–Israel Strategic Partnership Act, H.R. 938, affirming the House’s support for Israel’s security and the shared values between the United States and Israel.
Posted by Randy | July 17, 2014
Earlier this month, hostilities between Hamas – a Palestinian militant group – and Israel escalated following the kidnapping and killing of three Israeli teenagers.

Hamas fired rockets from the Gaza Strip, a Hamas-controlled territory, toward Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, and Israel struck back with a series of air strikes

In an effort to end the violence, Egypt proposed a cease-fire agreement; however, it failed to gain support from Hamas.  As a result, Israel resumed air strikes to combat the continual firing of rockets.  

Last week, the House of Representatives passed a resolution by unanimous consent, condemning the attack on Israel and reaffirming support for Israel’s right to defend its citizens.

Question of the week:  Should the U.S. affirm the right of Israel to defend itself? 

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


Take the Poll here.

Find the results of last week’s InstaPoll here.           
Posted by Randy | June 20, 2014
Last week, a Sunni extremist group, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), intensified its attempts to overthrow the Shiite-majority Iraqi government and military.  ISIL, which originally grew out of Al Qaeda, has overtaken major cities in Iraq and is currently moving toward the capital in Baghdad.  The Sunnis and Shiites represent two branches of Islam in Iraq where political and sectarian rifts between the two have resulted in years of political violence.  

Yesterday, President Obama said, “The United States will continue to increase our support to Iraqi security forces. We’re prepared to create joint operation centers in Baghdad and northern Iraq to share intelligence and coordinate planning to confront the terrorist threat of ISIL. And through our new Counterterrorism Partnership Fund, we’re prepared to work with Congress to provide additional equipment. We have had advisers in Iraq through our embassy, and we’re prepared to send a small number of additional American military advisers -- up to 300 -- to assess how we can best train, advise, and support Iraqi security forces going forward.  American forces will not be returning to combat in Iraq, but we will help Iraqis as they take the fight to terrorists who threaten the Iraqi people, the region, and American interests as well.”

Question of the week:  Do you believe the United States should get involved in the current situation in Iraq?

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


Take the Poll here.

Find the results of last week’s InstaPoll here.