1. Defense Budget: Defense Industry, Cities That Rely On It Bracing for Cuts
FORT WORTH, Texas — Bridget Lauderdale remembers the broad green sea — in the parking lot.
The Lockheed Martin executive was two years out of her internship when then-Defense secretary Dick Cheney killed the A-12 bomber. On Jan. 7, 1991, a unit of General Dynamics (the division is now part of Lockheed) responded by firing 4,000 workers here, in a one-day swoop as devastating as a bomber run.
“I’ll never forget,” says Lauderdale, now general manager of aeronautical operations at Lockheed’s 14,200-worker location here, including the factory making F-35 fighter planes. “They brought in crates of boxes, people put boxes on their chairs and rolled the boxes out to the car. You saw a sea of green, because the chairs were tan, with green seats.”
Two decades later, the U.S. is entering another round of deep defense cuts. As Washington debates “sequestration” — automatic budget cuts that threaten to slash $600 billion from the Pentagon budget by 2023, beginning March 1 — the defense industry, and cities relying on it, know sequestration isn’t half the problem.
Add the $487 billion, 10-year defense cut in 2011’s debt-ceiling legislation. The end of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan mean the separate budget for that, once $160 billion annually, now $88.5 billion, will wind down, too. Altogether, a budget that peaked at $716.3 billion in 2012 has dropped to a requested $701.8 billion this year and is set to hit $589 billion by 2014.
Read more: http://www.defensenews.com/article/20130131/DEFREG02/301310019/Defense-I...|newswell|text|FRONTPAGE|p
Resolution No. 55: Protecting the Defense Budget
Resolution No. 63: Rebuild America’s Defense Industrial Base http://archive.legion.org/bitstream/handle/123456789/2224/2012N063.pdf?s...
2. Immigration: President Obama Calls for Comprehensive Immigration Reform
President Obama made his immigration plan the centerpiece of a speech in Las Vegas and two days after a bipartisan group of senators proposed an immigration framework that included a path to citizenship to some 11 million illegal immigrants already in the United States. A bipartisan group of House members is also working on a plan that leads to legal immigration status.
Some Republicans, including many in the GOP-run House, oppose any measures, describing it as amnesty for law breakers.
In addition to a pathway to citizenship, Obama said his plan would improve security on the border itself, crack down on employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants, and streamline the immigration process for students, family members and highly skilled workers.
National Commander Koutz issued a release after the president’s Las Vegas speech, stating in part, “Whether it’s called ‘Pathway to Citizenship’ or some other euphemism, it’s still amnesty,” Koutz said. “It didn’t work when President Reagan signed the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 and it will be even more disastrous if we repeat that mistake again. The proposals coming from the group of senators known as the ‘Gang of 8’ are no better.”
The American Legion has several resolutions dealing with immigration enforcement, including:
Resolution No. 21: Illegal Immigration Policy http://archive.legion.org/bitstream/handle/123456789/2097/2012N021.pdf?s... (note: Res. 21, passed at the 2012 National Convention replaces Res. 40 which expired with the 212 Congress)
Resolution No. 268: Strategy to Address Social, Economic and Population Problems
Related to Illegal Immigration http://archive.legion.org/bitstream/handle/123456789/2132/2012N268.pdf?s...
Resolution No. 19: Fully Enforce Immigration Laws http://archive.legion.org/bitstream/handle/123456789/2086/2012N019.pdf?s...
3. Hagel Nomination
Former Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) faced a grilling in the Senate Armed Services Committee for nearly eight hours on Thursday, where he had to try and explain past statements on Israel, Iran, nuclear weapons and more.
The responses from Hagel were sometimes shaky, and he stumbled over a few answers on Iran that quickly made their way to Web videos released by his opponents.
Hagel didn’t appear to win over his Republican critics at the hearing, and two more Republicans, Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Dan Coats (R-Ind.), said Thursday they would vote against Hagel. But no Democrats appeared to jump ship either, which means that Hagel still appears to be on track — even if he’s a little bruised — to get confirmed, barring a Republican filibuster or hold.
Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) said that he thought Hagel had done “very well” — when he was allowed to answer questions without getting cut off.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said he was “shocked” at Hagel’s inability to respond to GOP questions, while Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) was dismayed at Hagel’s refusal to answer his question on the Iraq surge.
The exchange between Hagel and McCain was the most heated of the day. McCain wanted a “yes-or-no” answer from Hagel on whether he believed the Iraq surge was still the wrong strategy.
An advance policy questionnaire provided by Hagel to the committee can be found here: http://www.armed-services.senate.gov/statemnt/2013/01%20January/Hagel%20...
Committee vote could come next Thursday: Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin said that Chuck Hagel's confirmation vote in the committee could come as early as Thursday, although he said that was still tentative at best.
He said the Thursday vote could happen following a hearing on Benghazi that has been set up for next Thursday.
That would be contingent in part on whether Hagel had answered all senators’ questions that were submitted for the record by Monday evening, Levin said.
The Armed Services chairman wouldn’t predict when Hagel might get a vote on the floor, saying that was up to the leadership.
1. Global War on Terror: Bombing at U.S. Embassy in Turkey Kills Two
At least two people are dead and others are injured after a suicide bomber exploded while going through an X-ray machine at a side entrance of the U.S. Embassy in the Turkish capital of Ankara.
The checkpoint that the attacker passed through seems to be the most vulnerable part of the complex. Trees create distance for the main building of the embassy, but that side entrance is exposed to a street — making it susceptible to a bomb attack.
The bombing killed a member of the embassy's Turkish staff and the bomber. There was no damage inside the embassy.
The Military Times reports that none of the Marine security guards posted at the facility were hurt in the attack.
There are U.S. personnel placed on rooftops around the perimeter, and these men may be in boxers since Marines work in shifts and were told get up there ASAP to stand guard for potential future attacks.
The first level of embassy security — the outside — is usually covered by the host nation while the inside is covered by Marines and diplomatic security from the state department.
2. Middle East: Reports of Israel Airstrikes Threaten to Expand Syria's Conflict
Israeli aircraft struck Syrian territory (WashPost) on Wednesday for the first time since 2007 in a move that highlights the risk of the country's civil war spilling over into a wider conflict. Conflicting reports abounded regarding the target and its location, with some officials pointing to the border with Lebanon, while the Syrian army said Israeli jets had bombed a defense research center near Damascus. Russia expressed concern (al-Arabiya), saying such a strike would be an unacceptable violation of the UN Charter.
3. POW/MIA Update – Recently Accounted For:
• Pfc. James R. Hare, U.S. Army, Battery B, 15th Field Artillery Battalion, 2nd Infantry Division, was lost on Feb. 13, 1951, near the Korean town of Hoengsong. He was accounted for on Jan. 19, 2013.
• Pfc. Bobby L. Byars, U.S. Army, Company M, 3rd Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division, was lost on Dec, 12, 1950, near the Chosin Reservoir. He was accounted for on Jan. 4, 2013.
Director, National Security / Foreign Relations Division