Washington, D.C. - House Armed Services Committee Chairman Howard P. "Buck" McKeon made the following statement about the ongoing threat posed by ISIS and the U.S. response:
“ISIS is a clear and present threat to our allies across the Middle East and to the United States. There is no negotiating with ISIS or deterring it. It must be defeated and destroyed. Doing so demands a comprehensive strategy combining diplomatic, political, and military efforts, and the contributions from a broad coalition of countries. Such a strategy will require time, commitment, and leadership that America is uniquely suited to provide.
“This comprehensive approach may well require additional authorities from Congress, but speculation about that before the President has even offered a strategy is putting the cart before the horse. We need the President to explain to the American people what is at stake, what our objectives are, and the strategy for how to achieve them. Only after we understand all this can we contemplate what new authorities might be needed.“I challenge the President to engage Congress. I’m willing to work with him, and I would offer a few factors for him to keep in mind. First, ISIS is an urgent threat and a minimalist approach, that depends solely on FY15 funding or pinprick strikes that leave fragile forces in Iraq and Syria to do the hard fighting, is insufficient to protect our interests and guarantee our safety in time. Second, good strategies keep options on the table and keep an adversary guessing, instead of telegraphing what we won’t do. No leader ever won a conflict by first declaring what steps he was unwilling to take – or, for that matter, leaking details about steps he actually is taking. Third, the ISIS threat was allowed to build and fester over a period of time. They are not likely to be decisively defeated quickly, but will have to be faced by this President and his successors. Therefore, strategy and decisions made by the President now should preserve future options, not foreclose them. Finally, this enemy must be defeated, but if we are not going to adequately resource our effort, we will only make a very complex security situation worse.” Read More
House Armed Services Committee Vice Chairman Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX) appeared on CNN today to discuss the threat posed by ISIS and the U.S. response.
"It reveals what sort of people they (ISIS) are. Secondly, its an attempt to intimidate us into not playing a role in pushing back against ISIS and to trying to keep us out of Iraq and from joining a coalition to contain and stop them. It doesn't change anything. It just reveals what they're about and what they're trying to do."
Washington, D.C. - Rep. Howard P. “Buck” McKeon, Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, made the following statement on news that an internal leak prompted the disclosure of a classified operation to rescue James Foley:
“Like all Americans, I continue to be shocked and outraged at the brutal execution of James Foley at the hands of ISIS terrorists. I commend the bravery of our forces who attempted to rescue him and other American captives earlier this summer. They put their lives on the line for people they’d probably never met, and we are forever blessed to have such men and women in service to our country.“Successful or not, such operations are incredibly sensitive, even after they have concluded. Disclosure of these missions puts our troops at risk, reduces the likelihood that future missions will succeed, and risks the lives of hostages and informants alike. While I believe it was unwise for the White House and Department of Defense to formally acknowledge this operation; it is outrageous that someone would be so selfish and short sighted to leak it to the media. Secretary Hagel should investigate this matter immediately and thoroughly to determine who, if anyone, at the Department of Defense was the source of this damaging leak. Likewise, the heads of the other agencies involved should take similar steps.” Read More
Scowcroft, Hadley, Miller make the case for U.S. Nuclear Deterrence in Washington Post Opinion Piece
NATO-Based Nuclear Weapons are an Advantage in a Dangerous World
"When NATO’s leaders gather in Wales in early September, they will address several issues critical to the alliance, including Russian adventurism in Ukraine and elsewhere in Eastern Europe, members’ contribution to collective defense, the adequacy of individual national defense budgets and plans for supporting the people of Afghanistan. In the course of their deliberations on these issues, however, they also should reaffirm the value to the alliance of the continued presence of the modest number of U.S. nuclear bombs in Europe. We believe this is necessary because we are again hearing calls for the United States to unilaterally withdraw its small arsenal of forward- deployed nuclear bombs. Those arguments are shopworn, familiar — and wrong.
"The newer members joined NATO in large part to get under this nuclear umbrella, and they have been vocal in expressing their concern that withdrawing the weapons would symbolize a diminution in the U.S. commitment to defend them. Their concerns are heightened as they watch a recidivist Russia conduct exercises simulating nuclear strikes on Poland and the Baltic states, threatening nuclear strikes on nascent NATO missile-defense sites and continuing to deploy a bloated arsenal of several thousand short-range nuclear weapons.
"A second argument is that because nuclear weapons have no place in international relations in the 21st century, they certainly shouldn’t be forward deployed in NATO Europe. In his much-heralded 2009 Prague speech, President Obama called on the nuclear states to reduce the role such weapons played in their respective security strategies, and he took steps to implement his vision in the United States. Apart from Britain, no other nuclear weapons state took heed; indeed, the others expanded their nuclear modernization programs and gave nuclear weapons a more central role. Of particular concern to NATO, Russia has embarked on an across-the-board modernization of its nuclear forces, a modernization judged so important by Moscow that it has violated the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty in the process. As our NATO allies point out, nuclear weapons clearly matter to Russian leadership, and, as a result, our allies insist that the U.S. nuclear commitment to NATO cannot be called into question.
"A third argument is that NATO, in the aggregate, enjoys overwhelming conventional military superiority. This argument, however, is built on two fundamental fallacies. First, such aggregate comparisons mask the reality that on NATO’s eastern borders, on a regular basis, Russian forces are numerically superior to those of the alliance. As events in Crimea and Ukraine showed, Russia’s armed forces have improved significantly since their poor performance in Georgia in 2008; demonstrating impressive operational capabilities, they have made clear they are no longer the rag-tag army of the past decade. Second, focusing on conventional war-fighting capabilities overlooks the fact that NATO’s principal goal is deterring aggression rather than having to defeat it. And it is here that NATO’s nuclear capabilities provide their greatest value.
"With Russia continuing to support forces that are seeking to destabilize Ukraine and taking unsettling actions in both the Baltics and the Balkans, this is no time to destabilize the NATO alliance and traumatize our NATO allies by withdrawing our nuclear weapons from Europe."
Russia Always Cheats on Arms Treaties
"On July 29, the Obama administration announced that Russia has violated its obligation under the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty "not to possess, produce or flight test a ground-launched cruise missile with a range capability of 500 to 5,500 kilometers; or to possess or produce launchers of such missiles." The administration's sudden candor is welcome. Yet its new compliance report alleging that the Russians tested a missile prohibited under the INF treaty—doesn't address other apparent treaty violations.
The INF violation fits into a long pattern of Soviet-Russian misbehavior that can only be described as "compliance if convenient." Moscow appears to observe arms-control commitments when convenient but violates them when not. This contrasts sharply with America's scrupulous adherence to the letter and often the supposed "spirit" of treaty commitments, long after Moscow has ceased to do so.
"These Russian violations are not trivial matters. The House of Representatives recently declared on a bipartisan basis that the INF violation "poses a threat to the United States, its deployed forces, and its allies." According to senior Obama administration officials, Russia probably has a 10:1 numerical superiority over the U.S. in battlefield nuclear weapons. This Russian tactical nuclear arsenal, according to Russian press reports, includes weapons that are inconsistent with Soviet and Russian commitments made as part of the 1991-1992 Presidential Nuclear Initiatives to eliminate nuclear artillery and short-range nuclear-missile warheads. That 10:1 superiority may increase if Russia's INF treaty violations stand.
"Washington's long periods of silence about cheating are sometimes justified as "quiet diplomacy" designed to bring about Moscow's compliance. Perhaps. But quiet diplomacy did not persuade Moscow in 1991 to stop building the enormous radar prohibited by the ABM Treaty. Rather, it was the George H.W. Bush administration's public threat to call out Russia's behavior as a "material breach."
"Russian leaders such as Vladimir Putin appear to read U.S. silence as weakness and timidity, a perception which undoubtedly feeds their arms-control lawlessness. Pretending that Russia is a reliable arms-control partner helps to ensure that it is not. Calling Russia out for misbehavior may hold some hope of moving it into compliance."
WASHINGTON - House Armed Services Committee Chairman Howard P. "Buck" McKeon made the following statement about the situation in Iraq:
"The President's decision to use force in Iraq was appropriate given the circumstances. We must all understand that ISIS threatens both the Iraqi people and poses a clear and present danger to the United States. It is regrettable that ISIS' rise was preventable, but we must now look forward to the task ahead.
"My thoughts and prayers are with US forces in harm's way, as they do a difficult and dangerous mission."
Washington - House Armed Services Committee Chairman Howard P. "Buck" McKeon made the following statement about the attack in Afghanistan today:
“The Armed Services Committee has and will continue to conduct its rigorous oversight of our mission in Afghanistan. My thoughts and prayers are with those killed and wounded today, and their families, and I salute the bravery of our forces who continue to serve there with honor."
Washington, D.C. - House Armed Services Committee Chairman Howard P. "Buck" McKeon (R-CA) made the following statement about the Committee's markup of H. Res 644 today:
"Today the Committee took one of many steps to hold the Administration accountable for breaking the law and putting American’s at risk with their ill considered transfer of senior Taliban terrorists. The Armed Services Committee will also continue to insist on accountability as our official investigation into the transfer moves forward. There is still much about the President's decision on transferring these terrorists, and the Administration deliberations on informing Congress, that we must better understand.
“Some might draw a partisan conclusion from today’s markup, but that is a false narrative. Either by voting in favor of the underlying resolution, or by supporting Mr. Smith’s amendment, nearly every member of this committee expressed their feelings about the Presidet’s disregard for the law. Despite the final vote we are nearly unanimous in our disapproval of the President’s action. That is a bi-partisan rebuke no White House can be comfortable with."Read More
Risks to Stability in Afghanistan: Politics, Security, and International Commitment
(10:00 AM – 2118 Rayburn -- Open)
Mr. Anthony Cordesman
Arleigh A. Burke Chair in Strategy, Center for Strategic and International Studies
Dr. Catherine Dale
Specialist in International Security, Congressional Research Service
The Honorable Ronald Neumann
President, American Academy of Diplomacy
Dr. Michael O'Hanlon
Director of Research for the Foreign Policy Program, Brookings Institution
Logistics and Sealift Force Requirements and Force Structure Assessment
Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces
(2:00PM– 2212 Rayburn - OPEN)
VADM William A. Brown
U.S. Transportation Command
Mr. F. Scott DiLisio
Director, Strategic Mobility/Combat Logistics Division
Chief of Naval Operations (CNO-N42)
Security Situation in Iraq and Syria: U.S. Policy Options and Implications for the Region
(10:00 AM – 2118 Rayburn - OPEN)
Dr. Steven Biddle
Professor of Political Science and International Affairs
George Washington University
Mr. Max Boot
Jeane Kirkpatrick Senior Fellow for National Security Studies
Council on Foreign Relations
Mr. Brian Fishman
Counterterrorism Research Fellow
New America Foundation
The Honorable Duncan Hunter
House Armed Services CommitteeRead More
Washington, D.C. - House Armed Services Committee Chairman Howard P. "Buck" McKeon (R-CA) made the following statement in response to National Security Advisor Susan Rice's letter to Speaker Boehner regarding the Iraq AUMF:
“When Speaker Boehner told me about Ms. Rice’s letter, I thought he was joking.
"Obama Administration officials are warning us daily that the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is ‘worse than al-Qaeda’ and an extreme threat to the American people. The American people aren’t worried that the President will send the military back to Iraq. They’re worried about a deadly terrorist state that can hit us from Wall Street to Main Street. They’re worried that this President refuses to do anything, at anytime, in anyway, to stop the flood of national security crises that are popping up around the globe.
"Why on earth is the President’s National Security Advisor pleading with Congress to help build Americans' confidence that the President will not confront a clear and present danger to the United States? He needs no help there. Where is her plan to stop this looming threat? Where is her request for additional intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance assets to monitor the situation? Why isn’t she over here, building support to stop a common enemy? Why is she fighting Congress instead of ISIS? Why on earth is she refighting the 2003 Iraq War in 2014?
“This isn’t just absurd. We’re past absurd. This is dangerous. This Administration is fiddling while the world burns, and now they’re demanding Congress play with them."“If the Administration fought terrorists with half the tenacity they fight straw men, we wouldn’t be in this mess. It is my sincere hope that someone comes to their senses on Pennsylvania Avenue, before something worse happens."
2340 Rayburn HOB
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