Defense & Cyberspace

Cost Isn’t Everything. Pentagon Should Judge Contractors on Cybersecurity, Report Says
Security would be ‘fourth pillar’ in weapons purchase decisions

Aerial view of the Pentagon building photographed on Sept. 24, 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Pentagon should take into account the cybersecurity capabilities of defense contractors in addition to cost and performance measures when awarding contracts, a U.S. government-funded think tank recommended in a report published Monday.

Through its buying process, the Pentagon “can influence and shape the conduct of its suppliers,” the Mitre Corp. said in a report titled “Deliver Uncompromised: A Strategy for Supply Chain Security and Resilience in Response to the Changing Character of War.”

Trump Won’t Follow Congressional Directives on Russia and Crimea
Defense authorization signing statement effectively discards restrictions on recognizing Crimea as Russian

President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin answer questions about the 2016 U.S election collusion during a joint press conference after their summit in July. Trump now objects to efforts by Congress to prevent his administration from recognizing Crimea as part of Russia. (Chris McGrath/Getty Images file photo)

President Donald Trump objects to an effort by Congress to prevent his administration from recognizing Crimea as part of Russia.

Crimea is a region in Ukraine that has been occupied by Russia for several years, with the Russian Federation having claimed to have annexed the region in March 2014. Russian President Vladimir Putin has claimed the territorial matter is settled, but many in Washington disagree.

7 Ways the Senate Can Spend the Rest of August
A few real problems have bubbled up while senators were away

There’s no shortage of things for senators to do while in town this month, Murphy writes. Above, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., arrives at the Capitol for a vote in April. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — Welcome back to the grind, senators and staff. If you were only watching cable news over your abridged recess, you might have been lulled into the idea that the only messes in Washington you would come back to were Omarosa’s habit of recording conversations in the Situation Room and what we’ve learned so far about Paul Manafort’s choice of outerwear from his trial — ostrich. So gross.

But while some in the D.C. media were caught up in the Trump train wrecks of the day, a few real problems bubbled up while you were gone. Somebody has to deal with them, so as long as you’re here — why not you?

At Fort Drum Event, Trump Boosts McSally, Does Not Mention McCain
Arizona GOP Senate candidate among lawmakers highlighted in New York's North Country

Rep. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., received a boost from President Donald Trump. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Arizona politics headed eastward to New York’s North Country on Monday, as President Donald Trump signed a Pentagon policy bill there named after one of his frequent nemeses, Republican John McCain, who went unmentioned by the president, and singled out for praise a woman seeking to become McCain’s Senate colleague: Rep. Martha McSally.

McSally made the trip across the country to the Army’s Fort Drum and was  rewarded with a shout-out from Trump, although not an endorsement.

FBI Agent Peter Strzok Fired For Anti-Trump Texts
Counterterrorism official had been in the hot seat since anti-Trump texts with alleged mistress were discovered

FBI Deputy Assistant Director Peter Strzok was fired for his text messages criticizing President Donald Trump. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

Peter Strzok, the senior FBI counterintelligence official who has been in the hot seat since the Justice Department’s inspector general discovered his anti-Trump text messages with DOJ lawyer Lisa Page, has been fired from the bureau, his lawyer told multiple news outlets.

Strzok, 48, was one of the main targets of a faction of House Republicans who have sought information on anti-Trump bias in the upper reaches of the DOJ.

House GOP Appropriators Facing Steep Turnover in 116th Congress
Both parties have endured upheaval in wave elections in the past

Two senior House GOP appropriators,  John Culberson, R-Texas, left, and Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-N.J., personify the challenged facing the Appropriations panel heading into the 2018 midterms. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A Democratic “wave” this November, should one materialize, could result in the departure of as many as five senior House Republican appropriators, which would mark the biggest wipeout of major players from one side of the dais in 26 years.

Three subcommittee “cardinals” are facing tough re-election fights this November: Commerce-Justice-Science Chairman John Culberson and Military Construction-VA Chairman John Carter, both of Texas, and Homeland Security Chairman Kevin Yoder of Kansas.

Spending Bonanza Heads to Senate Floor: Podcast
CQ Budget, Episode 73

Appropriations Chairman Richard Shelby, R-Ala., speaks with reporters last month. The Senate is expected to return this week and begin considering a roughly $857 billion fiscal 2019 spending package. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Space Farce? The Challenges of Creating a New Military Department in Just 2 Years: Podcast
CQ on Congress, Episode 115

On Thursday, Vice President Mike Pence announced the Trump administration's plan to create a U.S. Space Force by 2020. ( Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Space is the “next battlefield,” Vice President Mike Pence said this week. CQ editor Patrick B. Pexton talks with reporter Andrew Clevenger about all the steps needed to create the Space Force. The biggest challenge? A just-passed, two-year defense authorization bill that’s on the president’s desk awaiting his signature. That bill has no extra funds for such an ambitious enterprise that critics say isn’t even necessary to protect the U.S. from space-based threats.

Bill Nelson Says Florida Election Systems Compromised by Russians
Senate Intelligence Committee avoids confirming or denying Democratic senator’s statement

Sen. Bill Nelson, right said he and fellow Florida Sen. Marco Rubio were made aware of Russian penetration of Florida election systems. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

If the leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee told Sen. Bill Nelson to alert Florida election officials about Russian interference in their systems, they aren’t saying.

Nelson, a Florida Democrat on the ballot in 2018, was quoted by the Tampa Bay Times Wednesday saying that, “We were requested by the chairman and vice chairman of the Intelligence Committee to let the supervisors of election in Florida know that the Russians are in their records.”

3 Takeaways From the Pence ‘Space Force’ Sales Pitch
Vice president ignores white elephant: a skeptical military and Congress

Space Force was on the mind of Vice President Mike Pence, seen here in the Rotunda last year. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

There’s a new applause line in President Donald Trump’s campaign spiel.

It’s not quite up there with “Crooked Hillary” or demanding professional football players who kneel for the National Anthem to “get the hell out of here.” Crowds react with loud cheers when the president touts his envisioned “Space Force.”

Trump’s Foreign Trips Get Low Marks New Poll Shows
Less than a third of Americans see success in Russia, North Korea summits

President Donald Trump’s foreign trips received tepid support from Americans in a new poll. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump’s summits in North Korea and Russia have received tepid support at home, with less than a third of Americans saying the trips were a success in an Economist/YouGov poll released Wednesday.

The June 12 meeting between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un was successful 28 percent of respondents said, while 33 percent said it was unsuccessful and 39 percent said they were not sure.

Army Seeks Money Shift as Long-Range Weapons Get Longer
Branch leans into Pentagon’s new National Defense Strategy with $46 million request

Aerial view of the Pentagon building photographed on Sept. 24, 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Army has asked Congress to allow it to move $46 million in fiscal 2018 money to its efforts to improve its ability to hit targets at long range.

The money would be spent on a deep strike cannon artillery system, part of the Army’s plans to develop weapons that can strike accurately at far distances. Army planners project that future land battles will be fought at greater distances, beyond 70 kilometers of range for projectiles and hundreds of kilometers via surface-to-surface missiles.

Don’t Let China Snag Another Foreign Port, Senators Warn
Possible Chinese military moves in Pakistan latest worry for lawmakers

Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., and 15 other senators wants the Trump administration to work with the IMF to offer developing countries in need of infrastructure financing alternatives to Chinese credit. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A bipartisan group of senators is calling on the Trump administration to counter China’s economic expansion as the lawmakers fear that Beijing plans to leverage its foreign investments and lending for infrastructure projects into strategic military footholds.

Georgia Republican David Perdue, along with 15 other senators, raised the issue in a Friday letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.

Sen. Rand Paul Invites Top Russians to U.S. as They Claim No Election Interference
‘We all do it,’ Kentucky Republican has said of election interference

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., invited top Russian government officials to the U.S. later this year. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Rand Paul invited top Russian government officials to visit the U.S. later this year to continue a dialogue on important national security issues, he announced Monday.

The Kentucky Republican, who is leading a legislative delegation in the country this week, met with Konstantin Kosachev, the chairman of the Russian Federation Council Committee on Foreign Affairs. That committee is the Russian equivalent of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee that Paul sits on.

White House’s Mixed Messages to Iran Continue With Sanctions
Economic penalties had been removed under nuclear pact Trump left

U.S. President Donald Trump departs the White House July 31, 2018 in Washington, D.C. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Updated 11:14 a.m. | The Trump administration reactivated sanctions Monday on Iran in an attempt to further squeeze its stumbling economy, a tough move that is the latest in a volley of mixed signals from Washington.

“Our actions will continue to limit Iran” from obtaining the resources needed to “support its malign behavior” across the Middle East, a senior administration official said Monday. “We are fully committed to rigorously enforcing our sanctions … to ensure they fully change course.”