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In Today’s News June 26, 2009

Posted by Stephen Abott in News.
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  • National security is about more than bullets. “Smart power,” “soft power” and the “Three D’s” — development, diplomacy and defense — are widely accepted as important and effective foreign policy principles. Unfortunately, when it comes to the federal budget, diplomacy, development and democratic governance too often get short shrift.
  • Seizing on the new president’s theme of accountability and concern over burgeoning budgets and the failing economy, a handful of Republican senators are out to do what has eluded the government for decades: get the Pentagon’s finances ready for an audit.
  • The House Armed Services Committee (HASC) completed its markup of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2010 Defense Authorization bill (HR 2647) on June 17, 2009. HASC’s marked-up bill recommends an overall FY 2010 authorization level of $680.5 billion, $348 million more than requested by the administration. This $680.5 billion total includes $130 billion for ongoing military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and $550.5 billion for National Defense (function 050). Of the $550.5 billion slated for National Defense, $534.0 billion is for the Department of Defense (DOD) and $16.5 billion is for the Department of Energy’s nuclear weapons activities.
  • A retired Marine who also happens to be one of the most powerful defense lawmakers, Rep. Jack Murtha, has begun raising questions about the future of the Osprey MV-22 The chairman of the House Appropriations defense subcommittee told our own Christian Lowe this morning that he plans to go down to Camp Lejeune in the next few weeks to do a reality check. “That’s where I’m going to find out what the hell is happening,” the ever-blunt Murtha said.
  • As you all well know, I’ve been dogging Rep. John Murtha, the powerful chairman of the House Appropriations Committee’s defense subcommittee, pretty hard ever since his fly-off-the-handle accusation of murder by a squad of Marines in Haditha back in mid-2006.
  • When President Obama announced his National Security Team of Hillary Clinton, Robert Gates and James Jones, we were a bit apprehensive. And that apprehension was, unfortunately, proven justified when Gates announced his 2010 budget on April 6, 2009.
  • WASHINGTON — Preparing for a possible showdown with Congress, the White House on Wednesday threatened to veto legislation authorizing a $680 billion military budget if it contains money for more F-22 jet fighters than the Pentagon says it wants.
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