Homeland Security

Only in Washington is more considered less

Earlier this week, the House Appropriations Committee marked up the fiscal year 2012 Energy and Water Appropriations bill, which includes funding for the National Nuclear Security Administration’s (NNSA) nuclear weapons activities, commonly referred to as the “nuclear weapons complex.”

Preliminary news accounts have overlooked the fact that the House Energy and Water Appropriations bill would increase — not decrease — the NNSA weapons activities budget above the previous year’s level, and has allocated more than enough money to keep programs on track but not so much as to be fiscally irresponsible in this fiscally-constrained time.


Eliminating sexual assault should be a priority for DOD

Leon Panetta’s impending appointment to the position of Secretary of Defense raises a number of concerns about what he will or will not do to eliminate the scourge of rape, sexual assault and sexual harassment in the armed forces.


Blame the terrorists, not the refugees

The recent arrest of two Iraqi terrorists in Kentucky provides a sobering reminder that the possibility of a terrorist seeking to abuse our Refugee Admissions Program, though minute, does exist.

But our reaction must be to jail the terrorists and to continue improving security checks – not to punish all those who would seek refuge inside our borders or to say, as Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has, “We don’t need them over here on government welfare. I’m going to try to have hearings on political asylum. Why are we admitting 18,000 people for political asylum from Iraq?” Hardening our hearts to those in need would only benefit the enemy we seek to defeat.


The threat of Muslim radicalization in U.S. prisons

The following is the prepared opening statement of Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) for today's hearing on "The Threat of Muslim Radicalization in U.S. Prisons."

Today we hold the second in a series of hearings on radicalization in the Muslim American community; specifically, on the important issue of the threat of Islamic radicalization in U.S. prisons.

I welcome our distinguished panel of witnesses. They have first-hand insights into this problem, and we appreciate their willingness to share their experiences with the Committee.

This issue of Islamic radicalization in U.S. prisons is not new. In fact, this is the third congressional hearing on this problem in recent years. It is a hearing which is necessary because the danger remains real and present, especially because of al Qaeda's announced intention to intensify attacks within the United States.


Send them to Guantanamo

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said in the following speech on the Senate floor Tuesday that the two foreign fighters held by law enforcement in Kentucky who admitted to conducting attacks against U.S. soldiers and Marines in Iraq should be sent to the secure detention facility at Guantanamo Bay rather than being tried in a federal courtroom in Kentucky.

Since the attacks on 9/11 and the very beginning of the War on Terror in 2001, most Americans have understood that we could no longer passively wait for the next enemy attack.

In order to defeat, dismantle, and disrupt al Qaeda, our intelligence, military and law enforcement officials would have to work together to defeat terrorist cells whether they’re in the Tribal Areas of Pakistan or here in our own backyards.


Deep cuts to homeland security grants put our communities at risk

On Friday, I joined fellow congressman Gus Bilirakis, chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security’s Emergency Preparedness, Response and Communication Subcommittee, in convening a field hearing in Clearwater Florida to hear from the frontlines on emergency management and hurricane response. It was helpful to hear from these hometown heroes and talk to residents of hurricane country.  Together with state and local officials, they emphasized what we already know too well - deep cuts to homeland security grants put our communities at risk. I trust their assessment because they, not Washington officials, are really the ones who respond when disaster strikes.


America's new national security imperative

In the midst of today’s intense discussions about government spending, one reality remains unchanged -- the massive energy demands on our military and defense infrastructure. In an era of constrained national resources and Middle East tensions, these demands have raised a clear national security risk. It’s time to consider how true American energy independence will strengthen our fighting forces and protect our security.

The U.S. Department of Defense is the single largest consumer of energy on the planet. In fact, DOD uses roughly 70 percent of the federal government’s energy needs, costing over $13 billion. Tremendous costs are incurred transporting fuel to protect our troops in the line of duty. Roughly 70 percent of the tonnage shipped by the U.S. Army for battlefield use is fuel. The 24-7 defense needs of our nation rely on defense installations receiving uninterrupted, unthreatened supplies of electricity.

Meanwhile, many of our fossil fuels needed often come regions of the world that are unfriendly to American interests. Other fast-growing nations are developing a need for energy and using the same natural resources the U.S. relies on. We need to innovate how we provide our forces with the energy they needed protect us.


Pentagon inflation indices cost unjustified billions

The Department of Defense (DOD) uses a specially tailored measure of inflation that masks past budget growth and induces Congress to appropriate excess funding for inflation -- inflation that is very unlikely to occur.

The Pentagon budget analysts’ bible, the so-called Green Book, reveals several special, DOD-only, measures of inflation, along with the widely accepted GDP inflation index. While flawed, the GDP measure is used throughout government and the private sector. A comparative analysis of these inflation data in DOD's Green Book reveals many startling things.


Time to rein in the Mideast arms trade

President Obama’s evolving policy towards the rapid changes in the Middle East and North Africa has one glaring omission: a plan to stem the flow of conventional weaponry into the region.From Libya to Syria, and Bahrain to Yemen, imported weaponry has been used to put down nascent pro-democracy movements.
Tracing how those weapons got there and figuring out how best to prevent irresponsible exports to the region going forward should be a priority for U.S. policy. 

In the most egregious cases of armed repression – Libya and Syria – the United States has played little or no role as a supplier. On the other hand, in Bahrain and Yemen, U.S.-supplied arms have bolstered repressive regimes and most likely been used against demonstrators.  


An opportunity to prepare our country's first responders

Several weeks ago the distinguished Chairmen of the 9/11 Commission, Lee Hamilton and Thomas Kean, offered a stark warning to Congress, “The inability of first responders to communicate with each other was a critical failure on 9/11 … [that caused] needless loss of life.”

The only realistic option for helping prevent a repeat of that horrific experience is for Congress to move quickly on legislation that will enable a national broadband network for emergency services by reallocating a portion of the nation’s radio spectrum, specifically the 10 MHz D Block (758-763 MHz and 788-793 MHz) to public safety. Virtually every first responder organization has endorsed this option, including the Fraternal Order of Police and International Association of Fire Chiefs.

This public safety broadband network would enable first responders to seamlessly communicate with one another across the country. That is something that has been elusive in the past. There is a path forward before the nation now.