Duncan Hunter

Duncan Hunter


Hunter: The Coast Guard is a military service. Let's treat it like one.


Any time attention is called to America’s Armed Forces, it’s often the Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force that are recognized for their professionalism and unmatchable mission capability. Each of these services deserves the praise and admiration they receive, but there’s one armed force that is regularly overlooked as an equally essential defender of U.S. national security: the U.S. Coast Guard.

Among all its counterparts, the Coast Guard is uniquely developed in form and function as an organization with both military and law enforcement applications. That by no means makes the Coast Guard less relevant. To the contrary, it provokes greater appreciation for the only service that is tasked to protect America’s shores from migrants, criminals and hostile actors.

Under this tasking, the Coast Guard has earned its reputation as America’s first line of defense. But as an element under the leadership structure of the Department of Homeland Security, the service has been somewhat pigeonholed as a law enforcement entity no different than Customs and Border Protection (CBP) or Immigration and Customs Enforcement. When in actuality and affirmed by statute, the Coast Guard is a military service first and foremost, and it deserves to be treated like one.

Acknowledging but putting aside the fact that the Coast Guard interdicts more cocaine at sea than all other domestic law enforcement agencies combined, as well as the national security exposure that exists from sea-based transit routes, the Coast Guard remains an important component of the modern Joint Force.

In the Caribbean, for instance, the Coast Guard has almost exclusively undertaken the dangerous security mission once dominated by the Navy. And in the Persian Gulf, Coast Guard cutters are supporting U.S. Central Command.

Along with these responsibilities and others, the Coast Guard has a unique Artic mission much different than the Navy. That mission involves not only research, reconnaissance, and search and rescue. It also puts the Coast Guard in the lead to clear sea lanes by breaking ice in order to provide assured Arctic access for strategic and commercial interests. In direct competition but far ahead of U.S. efforts is Russia, which has amassed 40-icebreaking vessels compared to only two operational vessels in the U.S. inventory.

There’s an aggressive move affront to accelerate the acquisition of heavy and medium icebreakers for this reason, although progress has not been smooth and without setback. In large part, the challenges facing icebreaker acquisition are indicative of a bigger problem facing the Coast Guard and why it’s time to consider moving the service out of DHS and to DoD, where it really belongs.

For the Coast Guard, its predominant challenge is funding. The service is on a shoestring budget at approximately $9 billion and has been constrained year-in and year-out from increasing in size and strength. As an element within DHS, the Coast Guard is categorized for funding as “nondefense discretionary,” which means it’s funded no different than the Federal Emergency Management Agency or any other nondefense centric organization. It’s also why the Coast Guard was targeted for a $1.3 billion cut in preliminary budget guidance for the next fiscal year.

This has put the Coast Guard and the nation at a severe disadvantage. In order just to kick-start icebreaker development, the Navy was needed to step in for purposes of providing initial funding and shipbuilding expertise. However, with so many priorities of its own and costs to match, the Navy will be unable to sustain its contributions in this area, never mind others necessary to uphold the Joint Force mission.

The same goes for drones, which the Coast Guard has been desperate to acquire while remaining tied to CBP’s air program and often denied use of limited assets due to other operational demands along the land border. Without funding and proper support, this arranged marriage will continue and the Coast Guard will not gain any new advantages where needed — just more setbacks.

If there’s a silver lining for the Coast Guard right now it’s that DHS Secretary John Kelly values and understands its mission and has committed to fight for its interests. But what will happen to the Coast Guard under the next secretary or a new administration? The risk to the nation is too significant to wait and see in the hope that a cultural transformation holds.

A review of the federal government’s organization is underway to determine opportunities for consolidation in order to make the federal government more efficient. The recommendation has been made to consider moving the Coast Guard to DoD where it can receive better and more consistent advocacy. If President Trump truly wants to make America’s military more effective and achieve better bang for the buck, then one of his first directives should be to solidify the Coast Guard status as a military service by putting it in its rightful place.

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Hunter: The Way Forward on Syria


The authorization by President Donald Trump to launch dozens of Tomahawk missiles at targets in Syria signaled to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the rest of the world that America’s tolerance for provocations and threats has finally waned.

No longer should we expect meaningless red lines or disadvantageous diplomatic pursuits that have an emboldening effect on adversaries that have either viewed America as weak or sought to attack the nation’s interests.  In just a few short months, President Trump has been decisive and unapologetic, whereas his predecessor was just the opposite. 

Already, President Trump has put Iran and North Korea on notice.  And with such a highly qualified and reliable national security team at his side, he’s released the shackles on the U.S. military that have constrained mission effectiveness and success.  This change in approach was even seen and felt by terror networks staged in Afghanistan recently when the so-called “Mother of all Bombs” was dropped without warning. 

All of this must not be confused for some shoot-from-the-hip, cowboy mentality. The action taken against the Syrian regime, following its latest use of chemical weapons against its own, is proof of that fact.  The missile strike was surgical and intended to prevent or disrupt any possibility for another chemical weapons attack.  For that reason alone, the right call was made. 

In some ways, the challenge with Syria is not unlike the challenges presented by other nation states getting the watchful eye of the U.S. and the Western world.  But each security challenge created by nations like Iran, North Korea, China and Russia are unique in their own way and a one-size-fits-all endeavor is as unworkable as it is dangerous to order and peace.

For Syria in particular, there’s no single solution within immediate reach to transform that nation into either a Western-aligned nation-state or create a structural and cultural shift in governance to incite the changes necessary to reduce or eliminate the challenges that exist.  Among them is Syria’s strong relationship with Russia—one of our biggest geopolitical rivals—and the extent to which their alliance is a counterweight to advancements by the Islamic State in a region of the world that is already volatile and under siege. 

A good way forward for President Trump and his national security team is to now leverage the missile strike to force Assad to the negotiation table in order to establish a reasonable path to peace.  Contingent should be the welcoming of an objective and independent inspection team to have a closer look at the claims and counter-claims around the use of chemical weapons—to ascertain the facts and inform any subsequent push for accountability and consequence to the furthest degree possible. 

Any suggestion of submitting a ground force into Syria or initiating operations to remove Assad from power is a failure to learn the lessons of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  It can be done, but at tremendous cost, including lives.  Much like Iraq will never mirror the U.S. in politics and culture, we should not presume that Syria’s population centers could one day resemble a place like San Diego, California, or that a Syrian government is capable of one day resembling what we’ve come to know and expect from our own political institutions.

It’s not to say that progress in this direction is impossible, but to pretend it’s doable in short order and won’t demand significant sacrifice from the U.S. and a global coalition is short-sighted and risks opening the door for unintended ramifications.  And in the absence of Assad, we must also ask who would be next.  It’s a question to which there is no answer. 

As things stand now, the president did the right thing in deploying U.S. military might and he did it by exercising “Tomahawk diplomacy” to achieve an initial objective.  Next to consider is how this one event can be utilized to get Assad to come forward with the understanding that not only is there a new sheriff in town with President Trump, but also too that the U.S. will no longer be a bystander as chemical weapons are used to kill innocent people or threats are issued. 

Through this lens and approach, the U.S. can begin seeking changes without perhaps any further military engagement.  Even as the option of additional military force must exist, a message to the Syrian regime that it’s in its interests to negotiate and cease its attacks in the aftermath of a missile strike would most likely be met by a willingness to come forward out of fear of what might happen should they not.

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Hunter: Hell no, Marine Corps Commandant Neller should not go


The U.S. Marine Corps is a fighting force at war, confronting adversaries in Afghanistan, Syria and other corners of the globe.  Now a new battlefront has emerged for the Marine Corps following the revelation of nude photo sharing among Marines and it’s unlike anything they’re accustomed to facing on distant shores and combat zones.    As soon as it was reported publicly that Marines were posting lewd photos of female Marines online through private social media sites, Marine Corps Commandant Robert Neller responded forcefully and without hesitation or delay.     The Marine Corps, at his direction, committed to a full investigation and to take appropriate action against those who violated the privacy and rights of the Marines who are the subjects of the photos.   For some lawmakers and observers, this commitment isn’t enough.  Predictably, the controversy has now morphed into an opportunity for elected officials—led by New York Democrat Senator Kristen Gillibrand—to publicly chide the Commandant and raise questions about his leadership without regard for the fact that he is still presiding over Marines in a shooting war.    No different than the blatant disrespect demonstrated by the Marines at the center of the controversy, Senator Gillibrand and others echoing her narrative underscore an obvious level of disdain for the Marine Corps and gives added attention to the wrongful view that Marines are nothing more than a group of uncontrollable misfits.  Something they’re not.   During a Senate hearing this week, Senator Gillibrand lambasted the Commandant as if he himself sanctioned the wrongful behavior of the Marines who posted photos or even encouraged it by virtue of his leadership.  Never mind the fact that the Commandant has taken ownership of the problem and vowed to expend all resources to continue addressing a challenge that is neither easily nor immediately solvable.     What should give Senator Gillibrand hope is that the Commandant is leading the charge and if there is anybody in the Marine Corps who can make a difference, it’s him.     This Commandant is like his predecessors in so many ways, especially when it comes to caring for his Marines and ensuring they’re the most effective fighting force in the world.  But he has his own distinct qualities and attributes, and it’s safe to say that no Commandant has ever rivaled his dedication to the creation of a diverse Marine Corps.     In fact, it was the Commandant who led a diversity task force under previous leadership and his takeaways from that experience are no doubt informing his efforts today.   His leadership team is no less committed.  Sitting behind the Commandant during this week’s hearing was General David Furness—a true patriot with over 30 years of service.  So too was General Lori Reynolds, also with 30 years of service to the Marine Corps.  Lambasting the Commandant might be good for appearances, but doing so not only undercuts his effectiveness, it also calls into question the ability of his team to set things straight.      What Senator Gillibrand fails to understand is that when she targets the Commandant as she did, there’s a cascade effect that gives others the courage to take even more drastic steps, among them calls for the Commandant’s resignation.  That was the case again this week.  Should the Commandant consider resigning? The answer isn’t just no—it’s hell no. Rather, he should be entrusted to fix the problem and given the operating space to do exactly that.      Whether Senator Gillibrand and others want to hear it or not, it’s a fact that the Marine Corps doesn’t surveil the internet looking for nefarious sites. Upon discovery, their response is how they should be judged as well as what they do to impose control mechanisms to the extent the law permits.    The nude photos that were posted are not exclusively a Marine Corps problem. The other military services are sure to encounter private sites among their own ranks. And with the prevalence of social media, it’s worth asking how much of this is a byproduct of a deeper cultural issue that compels both men and women—whether students, employees or uniformed military—to allow themselves to be photographed so freely or even post content about themselves that they might one day regret.  This should by no means excuse the behavior, but it should reinforce the point that this latest controversy is not unique solely to the Marine Corps.   The Commandant deserves to be trusted—he’s earned it.  But any suggestion that he might not be taking this latest controversy seriously or can resolve the matter with a snap of his fingers is absurd.      The behavior of Marines who posted nude photos and violated the rights and privacy of their fellow Marines is atrocious and it’s something the Commandant rightly said he won’t tolerate.    What he needs now is less showmanship in the halls of Congress and more trust that he will lead in a way that we all expect and know he will.     Read More

Hunter Holding Townhall on Saturday, March 11, 2017


This Saturday, March 11, 2017, Representative Duncan Hunter will hold a Townhall event at the Ramona Mainstage from 10:00am until 11:30am.  The event is free and fully open to the public.     With the new Congress and Trump Administration beginning their work, Hunter plans to discuss efforts to fix our broken health care system, restore our military, protect our borders, encourage small business growth, and return power back to states and local governments.  It’s Hunter’s intention to remain transparent, engage with constituents, and answer any questions that are proposed in a respectful manner.     Please note that the event will be well attended, so it’s recommended you arrive early to hold your spot.  Further details and a link to Google Maps are listed below, and staff is available to answer any questions you may have leading up to the event on Saturday.  The El Cajon office can be reached at 619-448-5201 and Washington, D.C. office can be reached at 202-225-5672.  See you Saturday morning!   Event information:   What: Townhall Event With Congressman Duncan Hunter When: March 11, 2017 from 10:00am – 11:30am Where: Ramona Mainstage – 626 Main Street, Ramona, CA 92065   Read More

Hunter: Slashing the Coast Guard's budget is an appalling mistake that puts our nation at risk


America’s military has been at war for the last fifteen years and the threat from global terrorism and transnational criminal organizations is nowhere near subsiding.  It’s a fight that will continue even as the Islamic State, Al Qaeda and other criminal enterprises face operational and leadership setbacks.   The threats posed by these groups will continuously evolve as long as a there is the existence of a radicalized Islamic ideology and criminal interests.  This is sure to persist regardless of America’s commitment to eradicating evil—no matter the endurance for the fight or the ability to absorb the cost it bears.    President Trump’s pledge to rebuild the Armed Forces is necessary to sustain any hope for lasting success.    In this context, it is often the Army, the Navy and Marine Corps, and the Air Force that receive attention, which President Trump has bestowed. But there is another service of equal importance to U.S. national security that consistently fails to receive the same treatment and respect, not just from commanders in chief but the entire federal government, including Congress.      Often overlooked but no less critical to protecting America’s national security interests is the U.S. Coast Guard—an Armed Force at its core with a domestic mission unlike any of its counterparts. And as the traditional military services are expected to be major benefactors of the President’s call for stronger national defense, the Coast Guard continues to be neglected.    This reality was underscored yet again when details of the Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) outline for Fiscal Year 2018 were recently revealed.    The Coast Guard, operating on an already shoestring budget of $9 billion, is being targeted by OMB for a cut of $1.3 billion in the next fiscal year. A dramatic cut of such magnitude is appalling and should alarm Americans given the Coast Guard’s complex and expansive mission in protection of America’s shores and waterways.    One of two scenarios is plausible.  Either OMB is responsible for this negligence or the President and his leadership team are content with reducing the Coast Guard to bare bones.  In all likelihood, the proposed cut is likely the exclusive doing of OMB due to its incongruity with the President’s stated goals to rebuild the military—something he has stated with resounding consistency.       Seemingly lost on OMB is the fact that the Coast Guard is the only military service with an extensive counter-narcotics mission with direct alignment to border security and law enforcement.  So too is the fact that the Coast Guard interdicts more cocaine at sea than what is intercepted at ports of entry and among all other elements of domestic law enforcement combined.    It is also the Coast Guard—not the U.S. Navy—that is responsible for the U.S. surface mission in the Arctic in the face of Russian and Chinese military, economic and territorial interests.     One of the most urgent acquisition priorities facing the Armed Forces is the rapid acquisition of three heavy icebreakers and three medium vessels.     No less compelling is the Coast Guard’s need for additional vessels, among them the Offshore Patrol Cutter, the National Security Cutter and the Fast Response Cutter, to conduct its basic mission while giving support to the Navy as it pivots elsewhere.    And as preparations are made for a wall on the Southwest border, migrants, smugglers and potential terrorists will look to America’s shores and waterways for entry and it won’t be any of the traditional military services standing in their way.  It will be the men and women of the Coast Guard.   OMB’s proposed Coast Guard budget is an insult.  It undercuts the service to nearly the point of paralysis.  It cancels a National Security Cutter, despite the need for as many as five-to-six more.  And it impedes any recalibration of end strength and other asset acquisition, including the acceleration of a ground-based Unmanned Aerial System program, leaving the Coast Guard at the mercy of Customs and Border Protection to meet its needs.    It is nonsensical to cut the Coast Guard budget, especially to the degree recommended by OMB, and then pretend as if needless exposures and risks won’t be created.    If President Trump truly means what he says, then he’ll reject OMB’s blatant disrespect for the Coast Guard and its mission, and remind his cabinet that the service is a critical element in protecting American security.    Otherwise, America will be put at greater risk from the very organizations and criminal activity that President Trump himself has said must be confronted.  Absent a strong Coast Guard, America will be less safe and President Trump’s ambition to fully reconstitute the military and enhance security will go unmet.     Read More

Hunter Introduces METALS Act to Curtail U.S. Dependence on Foreign-Sourced Strategic and Critical Materials Supporting National Defense


Washington, DC - Today, Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) introduced the Materials Essential to American Leadership and Security (METALS) Act.  The legislation rectifies a dangerous lapse in the supply chain for strategic and critical materials essential for numerous defense and national security applications.    "The U.S. must no longer be wholly dependent on foreign sources of strategic and critical materials,” said Rep. Hunter. “The risk of this dependence on national security is too great and it urgently demands that we re-establish our depleted domestic industrial base."   Presently, the People's Republic of China dominates the production of rare earth elements, controlling more than 90 percent of global production.  These critical materials are key components of everything from high technology consumer electronics to advanced weapons systems, including the Joint Strike Fighter.  Over the past decade, the U.S. has lost its capacity to produce these materials and ceded this ability to foreign nations, namely China.  In fact, the last major domestic producer of rare earth elements declared bankruptcy in 2015, shuttered its California mine and processing plant and sold a portion of its assets to the Chinese.  The mine is now is being considered for purchase by a firm with ties to a Russian billionaire.    Through the creation of a working capital fund, the METALS Act would allow domestic companies to access the capital they need to bridge the "Valley of Death" and develop new, advanced, green technologies for the production of strategic and critical materials.  The Strategic Materials Investment Fund would leverage a small fraction—just 1 percent—of Department of Defense overhead costs for major defense acquisition programs that are reliant upon strategic and critical materials in order to provide five-year, interest-free loans to companies who succeed in developing new production or manufacturing techniques for strategic and critical materials.  The fund would also reimburse those defense programs which faces higher costs for procuring domestically-sourced strategic and critical materials.    The METALS Act strictly prohibits any reduction in the quantities of weapons systems to be procured.  Funding for the Strategic Materials Investment Fund is specifically derived from the Department of Defense's internal programmatic administration funds to alleviate any impact on weapons systems procurement.    In addition to the creation of the Strategic Materials Investment Fund, the METALS Act would also prohibit the foreign sourcing of ammonium perchlorate.  This chemical is used extensively as a propellant for rockets and missiles used by the Department of Defense and for manned spaceflight.  Procuring ammonium perchlorate from domestic sources ensures the United States will have continued access to this essential chemical.    To address the issue of the potential acquisition of domestic rare earth mines by foreign investors, the METALS Act prohibits the approval of such a sale by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States.   Lastly, the bill would direct the Secretary of Defense to conduct a report on the ability of thorium-fueled nuclear reactors to meet to the needs of the United States Navy for naval power.    The METALS Act is a means to ensure American independence from non-allied foreign powers and to establish safe and secure supply chains for the Department of Defense.  The bill supports the U.S. domestic industrial base by aiding domestic investment opportunities and consequently mitigates the risk of a supply chain interruption for materials that have become essential for American military superiority.   Read More

Hunter: US Coast Guard deserves military-level funding


America’s national defense consists of an intricate network of government entities that occupy unique mission sets that integrate seamlessly and project American power anywhere in the world. It’s often the Navy and Marine Corps, the Army, the Air Force, and the dichotomy of intelligence agencies that receive high praise and credit as the nation’s premier operational components.    Often overlooked in the organizational structure of America’s national defense is the U.S. Coast Guard. Unlike any of the other traditional military services, the Coast Guard is the first line of defense for the nation’s shores and waterways. Without the Coast Guard, America’s vulnerabilities would increase exponentially, not just at the hands of foreign adversaries but from undocumented migrants and drug smugglers whose creativity for new methods of entry are constantly matched by the courage and stamina of the Coast Guard’s men and women.    One of my many priorities as the chairman of the House Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation, and a U.S. Marine veteran who served in both Iraq and Afghanistan, is to ensure the Coast Guard is not viewed simply as an extension of domestic law enforcement. The Coast Guard, even though situated under the Department of Homeland Security, is a military organization that deserves its place — with word, respect and funding — among the rest of America’s military under the command of the Department of Defense.    To best appreciate the unique circumstances facing the Coast Guard, compare it to any of the traditional service branches and their sizable budgets made possible by the allocation of more than $500 billion annually to the Defense Department. In these terms, the Coast Guard’s budget is shoestring — amounting to $10 billion.    The Coast Guard has done its job well, always doing more with less, no different than the Marine Corps has done since its inception. This is something I know firsthand having served multiple tours as a Marine Corps officer, and it’s something I’ve come to appreciate in close observation of the Coast Guard over time.    The Marine Corps, managing air wings and a complexity of aviation assets, is facing a severe readiness crisis and Congress is now responding. Similarly, we cannot ignore that the Coast Guard is facing readiness shortfalls of its own.    Times have become so dire that crews manning the undersized fleet of icebreaking vessels have resorted to ordering equipment online and raiding aging vessels to maintain a minimum threshold of operability. This again is no different than the Marine Corps, which only recently was left to salvage for aircraft parts in museums. In the modern era, with such high operational demands across the board, this should embarrass anyone with a stake or equity in establishing a strong national defense, and it underscores the renewed urgency to face reality.    Much of these shortfalls can be attributed to the last eight years of the Obama administration and its failures in prioritization. For the Coast Guard, it’s lacked any real advocate outside its own ranks and was routinely rolled by the two previous secretaries of the Department of Homeland Security and the Office of Management and Budget who viewed the Coast Guard budget more as a nuisance and even a source for reach-back funding for other programs.    This occurred despite the persistent need for six new polar icebreakers to counter Russian and Chinese activity in the Arctic. The last heavy icebreaker was built in the late 1970s and only now is the first of six icebreakers in nascent development, but some factions within government — to include within Congress — are not yet fully convinced of the importance. It’s not the Navy that will patrol the Arctic with icebreakers, it’s the Coast Guard. And as the Navy pivots to the Pacific, it’s the Coast Guard that will fill in and protect anywhere the Navy is unable.    Not only does the Coast Guard need icebreakers, it should have more of the assets, equipment and personnel its needs to do its job as a military service. In that aspect, one idea I am pursuing is the weaponization of a class of vessels beyond those already on the order books to ensure proper supplementation of the Navy mission where needed and to ensure these vessels wherever called can counter any provocation.     The Coast Guard also lacks its own ground-based unmanned aerial systems and is at the mercy of Customs and Border Protection for these assets. So, this year, I’ll also be looking to delineate a UAS program specifically for the Coast Guard.    Perhaps the time has come to begin the conversation on whether the Coast Guard should be moved to the Department of Defense. During the Obama administration, this would have been prudent. Still a possibility, this might be less necessary. Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly knows more about the Coast Guard than any of his predecessors, thanks to his experience as the head of U.S. Southern Command. President Donald Trump will soon also learn the value of the Coast Guard, if not already.    A strong Coast Guard is in America’s interests. It’s time to face the fact that the Coast Guard is a military service and should be funded like one — and for once, there are leaders beyond the Coast Guard who are sure to agree. Read More

Hunter announces he won’t submit federal funding requests for sanctuaries


Washington D.C. – Today, U.S. Representative Duncan Hunter announced that for Fiscal Year 2018, he will not submit any federal appropriations requests on behalf of states, cities, universities or other entities that have an ordinance, policy or practice in place that undermines the enforcement of federal immigration laws.  

“Sanctuaries that defy federal immigration laws should be held accountable,” said Representative Hunter.  “If a state or local entity prefers to violate the law and not cooperate on federal immigration matters, this should be an immediate disqualifier for federal funding. 

“Members of Congress share a responsibility to ensure jurisdictions and entities within their Congressional Districts are abiding by the law.  The submission of a federal funding request for sanctuaries is irresponsible and rewards disregard for the law—and I can’t support that.  It’s my hope that many of my colleagues will take this same approach when considering funding requests for the next fiscal year.”

Last Congress, Hunter’s legislation—H.R. 3009, the Enforce the Law for Sanctuary Cities Act—was passed by the House on July 23, 2015, by a vote of 241-179.  More recently, Hunter introduced the No Funding for Sanctuary Campuses Act, which denies Title IV funding to sanctuary campuses. 

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Hunter: ‘Trump is doing things right’


President Trump was elected by the American people on the promise that he would put America first and restore the notion of American exceptionalism. His executive actions have been consistent with his commitments as a candidate and signal that he’s not all talk.   Some of President Trump’s executive orders have been viewed as controversial, but so too were the executive actions or inaction by his predecessor. His victory was not an accident, and to pretend that his executive actions are excessive or harmful fails to recognize both his prerogatives as president and the fact that he was elected to do what he said he’d do without overstepping.   No different than President Obama, President Trump’s first salvos in office have excluded any real collaboration with Congress. Eventually, that relationship will be necessary, through better or worse, to either codify his executive actions into law or advance a mutually shared agenda on issues big and small. Conversely, Congress can also act within its constitutionally designated authority to present different courses of action or flatly reject almost any executive pursuit.   Only time will tell whether Trump attempts to routinely utilize his authority in excess, as Obama did. Criticism of Trump’s initial actions was expected and is in no way a surprise. But to judge his actions now in comparison to Obama’s over eight years — in some way suggesting congressional Republicans should be equally as critical of any use of executive authority — ignores the clear intent of these initial actions and the indisputable fact that he has yet to disregard Congress or exceed his authority.   If ever true, then it is a sure bet that Congress will have something to say about it — in word and legislation. But right now, President Trump is doing things right. Some things have been less than perfect, to include the rollout of his immigration order and some of its finer points.   That aside, his use of executive authority has been appropriate, and it can continue as long as it acknowledges and respects the separation of powers and adheres to the limitations of the executive branch.   Read More

Reps. Hunter and Kinzinger lead letter to President in support of Secretary Mattis’ exemption requests


Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Duncan Hunter (R-CA) and Congressman Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) sent a bipartisan letter to President Trump in support of the request by Secretary of Defense James Mattis to exempt Iraqis who served alongside our military. The letter expands on the need for a special review process for those who directly supported American personnel overseas. Upon sending the letter, Reps. Kinzinger and Hunter, both veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, released the following joint statement:   “We made a promise to the men and women who served alongside us on the battlefield, and we must uphold that promise to leave no man behind. We urge the President to honor Secretary Mattis’ requests, and stand up for those who stood by our military and American personnel. For the safety of these courageous individuals and their families, and in the interest of our national security, it’s critical that we make this exception and do so swiftly.”   The full text of the letter is below:    Dear Mr. President:              With regard to your executive order to temporarily halt immigration originating from specified countries, we want to register our strong support for the request of Secretary of Defense James Mattis to exempt military interpreters, aides and other allies who risked their lives alongside U.S. personnel in Iraq.  Congress established the Iraqi Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program in 2008 and we are acutely aware of the significant contribution of these individuals in support of America’s global campaign against radical terrorism.     These allies risked their own lives, as well as the well-being of their families, to advance America’s security interests in a region where their skillsets and willingness to confront extremism have been invaluable to mission success.  We are concerned that, with specific application to individuals who worked with the U.S. Government on the ground, certain immigrants deserving prompt consideration are likely to be overlooked. We encourage you to make special consideration in the review process for these individuals, who are certain to face threats to their own lives as part of the broader pause in refugee and immigrant admissions.    It is important that a special exception is made for the consideration of individuals who directly supported American personnel overseas.  We respectfully ask that you take this action to ensure these individuals are not put in any further danger.  Doing so would send a strong signal to those who show such immense courage to advance U.S. security interests at a risk to their own safety, as well as the many veterans and warfighters who’ve relied on the service of these individuals for their own protection and to accomplish their objectives.         In addition to Kinzinger and Hunter, other Members of Congress who signed on to this letter include: Reps. Steve Stivers (R-OH), Earl Blumenauer (D-PA), Seth Moulton (D-MA) and Peter Welch (D-VT).   Read More

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HASC hearing

2013-05-01 20:36:39

Hunter Praises Marine General James Mattis

2013-04-11 17:04:08

Congressman Duncan Hunter Discusses the Denial of the Medal of Honor for Sgt. Rafael Peralta

2012-12-14 16:56:39

CNN Newsroom Segment on DoD Denial of Medal of Honor for Sgt. Peralta

2012-12-13 16:43:12

Rep. Duncan Hunter Talks on KUSI about the Administration's Handling of Libya

2012-11-02 14:07:44

Fox News Special Report feat. Rep. Hunter Discussing the Army's Use of Palantir

2012-07-31 14:14:18

Congressman Hunter on Fox News Discussing the Army's Use of Palantir to Detect IEDs

2012-07-26 20:00:11

Congressman Duncan Hunter Speaks on Treatment of KIA Servicemembers' Remains

2012-07-19 18:33:04

Rep. Duncan Hunter on Fox Business Discussing CA Bankruptcies

2012-07-12 15:36:19

Congressman Duncan Hunter Discusses True Unemployment on Fox Business

2012-04-26 15:26:24

Congressman Duncan Hunter Discusses the Unemployment Situation

2012-03-08 16:15:49

Floor Statement on H.R. 290, the War Memorial Protection Act

2012-01-24 20:23:19

11/2/11 Congressman Duncan Hunter on Agent Diaz Case

2011-11-02 15:32:44

10/30/2011 Fox News Segment (II) on Agent Diaz

2011-11-01 21:22:37

10/29/2011 Fox News Segment on Agent Diaz

2011-11-01 21:18:57

10/26/2011 Fox News Interview on Mexican ID Cards

2011-11-01 21:14:28

10/25/2011 Fox News on Mexican Cross-Border Trucking

2011-11-01 21:02:40

10/14/2011 CNN interview on MoH

2011-10-14 15:20:20

10/13/2011 HASC Press Conference on Defense Cuts

2011-10-13 21:42:42

7/31/11 FOX News Interview on Debt Limit

2011-08-02 16:37:07

Contact Information

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Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-225-5672
Fax 202-225-0235

Congressman Duncan D. Hunter represents California’s 50th Congressional District consisting of East and Northern County San Diego. In 2008, Hunter was elected to his first term in the House of Representatives, succeeding his father, Duncan L. Hunter, who retired after serving 14 consecutive terms in Congress.

Hunter is a native of San Diego. He graduated from Granite Hills High School in El Cajon and earned a degree in Business Administration from San Diego State University. Hunter worked to pay for his education by creating websites and programming databases and ecommerce systems for high-tech companies. Immediately after graduation, he went to work full time in San Diego as a Business Analyst.

Soon after our nation was attacked on September 11, 2001, Hunter quit his job and joined the United States Marine Corps. Hunter entered active service as a Lieutenant in 2002 and excelled in the area of field artillery, much like his grandfather, Robert O. Hunter, who was a Marine Corps artillery officer in World War II.

Over the course of his service career, Hunter served three combat tours overseas: two in Iraq and one in Afghanistan. In 2003, Hunter deployed to Iraq with the 1st Marine Division. Hunter completed his second tour in 2004, where he and his fellow Marines were at the center of combat operations in Fallujah, Iraq.

In September 2005, four years after he quit his job and joined the Marine Corps, Hunter was honorably discharged from active military service and started a successful residential development company. Still a Marine Reservist, he was promoted to the rank of Captain in 2006, and to the rank of Major in 2012.

Less than two years before Hunter was elected, he was recalled to active duty and deployed to Afghanistan. Hunter returned home after more than six months on the front lines and, with the support of the San Diego community, became the first Marine combat veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan elected to Congress.

Hunter is a strong conservative who is committed to strengthening national security, enforcing our borders, creating opportunities for American workers and protecting the interests of taxpayers. He is also a strong proponent of the Second Amendment, protecting traditional marriage and the rights of the unborn.

Congressman Hunter and his wife live in Alpine, California. They are the proud parents of three children: Duncan, Elizabeth and Sarah.

Serving With

Doug LaMalfa


Tom McClintock


Paul Cook


Jeff Denham


David Valadao


Devin Nunes


Kevin McCarthy


Steve Knight


Ed Royce


Ken Calvert


Mimi Walters


Dana Rohrabacher


Darrell Issa


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