Republican Senators seek a vote on dangerous sanctions bill
Patricia Zengerle and Richard Cowan, Reuters – February 25, 2014
The Kirk-Menendez Bill (S. 1881), which would threaten to impose new sanctions on Iran, was nearly dead after several of its sponsors and AIPAC withdrew their support for the bill. Yet, Republicans in the Senate are trying to bring the bill back, this time trying to attach it as an amendment to a bill expanding healthcare and education programs for veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan. Majority Leader Senator Harry Reid has countered by saying that he would only allow amendments to the bill if they were relevant and bipartisan.
Hagel skeptical of LCS, pauses purchases
Tony Capaccio, Bloomberg – February 25, 2014
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has serious reservations about the combat readiness of the Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) and has therefore blocked purchases beyond an intial 32 ships, 20 short of the Navy’s initial goal. If no new purchases are approved, the last LCS would be purchased in 2018. The Navy may be looking at [other options https://medium.com/war-is-boring/ebf51ce106fe] to perform similar missions to the LCS while bringing greater survivability, perhaps including a variant of a cutter used by the Coast Guard.
Missile defense system, interceptor to be revamped under next military budget
Andrea Shalal, Reuters – February 25, 2014
Frank Kendall, undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, announced on Tuesday that the next military budget would include funding to improve upon Boeing’s ground-based missile defense system and develop a replacement for an interceptor built by Raytheon. Though Secretary Hagel did not mention missile defense in his preview of the budget, the Pentagon has requested an additional $4.5 billion for missile defense over the next five years.
Obama asks military to make plans for the zero option
Philip Ewing, Politico – February 25, 2014
While President Barack Obama would still like to maintain a small troop presence in Afghanistan after 2014, he has now ordered the military to make contingency plans in the event that a full withdrawal becomes necessary. Afghan President Hamid Karzai appears unwilling to sign a bilateral security agreements already negotiated by both countries, but whoever succeeds him in office may still sign the agreement later this year.