Homeland Security

Time for cooperative missile defense now

Last week we saw Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards conducted ballistic missile exercises. This show of bravado is not just worrisome, it demonstrates to all that missiles in the wrong hands threaten our friends and even our homeland. Matched with the Iranian nuclear ambitions, we are entering a very dangerous time. 

It is clear we need to move out of the old mindset, and realize we are facing new threats and new potential enemies. We need a new response.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the most successful defense alliance the world has ever seen, must adapt to protect our values and way of life for the next 60 years, as it did for the previous.


TSA abuses and failures

The press reports are horrifying: 95 year-old women humiliated; children molested; disabled people abused; men and women subjected to unwarranted groping and touching of their most private areas; involuntary radiation exposure. If the perpetrators were a gang of criminals, their headquarters would be raided by SWAT teams and armed federal agents. Unfortunately, in this case the perpetrators are armed federal agents. This is the sorry situation ten years after the creation of the Transportation Security Administration.

The requirement that Americans be forced to undergo this appalling treatment simply for the "privilege" of traveling in their own country reveals much about how the federal government feels about our liberties. The unfortunate fact that we put up with this does not speak well for our willingness to stand up to an abusive government.


Addressing the threat of weapons of mass destruction

Our enemies have made no secret of their desire to use weapons of mass destruction to attack the United States.  

Last year, the Committee on Homeland Security received testimony from former Senators Bob Graham (D-Fla.) and Jim Talent (R-Mo.), the Commissioners of the Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism (WMD Commission). At that hearing, the Commissioners noted that, “it is more likely than not that there will be ... a weapon of mass destruction used someplace on earth by a terrorist group before the end of the year 2013 and that it is more likely that the weapons will be biological rather than nuclear.”  


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.