OVERNIGHT DEFENSE: Anti-war lawmakers push for accelerated Afghan pullout

While the lawmakers are making a push with Wednesday’s presser, they aren’t calling for an immediate withdrawal as some of them might prefer, instead opting to ask the president to accelerate the transition to Afghan control.

“While many of us would prefer an immediate full withdrawal from Afghanistan, there is broad, bipartisan consensus in Congress and across America that it is time to accelerate the transition from U.S. to full Afghan control,” the lawmakers write.

ADVERTISEMENT
Still, Wednesday’s press conference could draw attention to the withdrawal in Afghanistan, where U.S. troops will remain through 2014 even as Obama is signaling the end of the war.

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), who was the lone House member to vote against the Afghanistan war in 2001, is heading the dozen lawmakers, and Rep. Timothy Johnson (R-Ill.) is the lone Republican attending.

House floor NDAA debate gets under way: The Afghanistan press conference is occurring as debate on the Defense authorization bill begins Wednesday, where the Afghanistan drawdown will be one of the biggest battles waged. Rep. James McGovern (D-Mass.) mentioned the Afghanistan issue during a Rules Committee hearing on the bill Wednesday, urging the committee to allow amendments and a “real discussion” on the floor.

Another big issue that will take place is on the handling of terrorist detainees. Armed Services ranking member Adam Smith (D-Wash.) plans to offer an amendment with Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) to ban military detention for those captured on U.S. soil, which is opposed by the committee’s chairman, Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.).

Supporters of the Smith-Amash amendment are saying there’s optimism they can put together a bipartisan coalition to get it passed, but GOP aides say there isn’t sufficient support on their side.

Obama threatens veto: As the committee leaders were sitting in the House Rules Committee Tuesday afternoon, the Obama administration threatened to veto the House version of the bill in a Statement of Administration Policy. The veto threat was made over the overall size of the bill, restrictions on nuclear policy and issues with Guantánamo detainees.

Read more here.

Future fight: The United States is out of Iraq and heading for the exits in Afghanistan. But inside the Pentagon, it’s never to early to start planning for the next war. On Wednesday, the top two officers in the Navy and Air Force will take another step in that process. 

Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen Norton Schwartz will attempt to explain the finer points of the department's new AirSea Battle plan. The strategy, as pitched by U.S. commanders, will be to seamlessly blend U.S. air and sea power into one cohesive combat strategy.

The plan has been in the works in some form for the last several years. 

And what does DOD have to show for all that work, you may ask? Department officials did roll out an official "definition" of AirSea Battle last year. Hopefully Greenert and Schwartz can shed a little more light onto the strategy during their speech at Brookings Institute on Wednesday. 

Loose ends: Last Thursday House defense lawmakers unveiled their version of the Pentagon's defense spending bill for fiscal 2013. That bill included millions for weapons and programs that could come in handy if things bubble over in Iran. But one Texas Republican thinks we could use just a little more help in that area.

Rep. Mike Conaway plans to introduce an amendment to the authorization bill on Wednesday that will make sure if the United States goes to war with Iran, our friends in the region will be ready to fight, too. Conaway's bill, subtly named "The Credible Military Option to Iran," will make sure the Pentagon will have a direct hand in "enhancing the military capabilities" of Iran and other Persian Gulf states.

Those enhancements will include arms and training, according to the bill. With warships moving through the Straits of Hormuz and F-22 fighters stationed at Iran's doorstep in UAE, sounds like a pretty good case study for a burgeoning combat doctrine being cooked up by the Pentagon. If only DOD had something like that in the works. 


IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

— Israel could be getting more Iron Dome funds soon.
— UN observers attacked in Syria.
— Senior Democrats clash on military detention.
— Senate cuts VA, military construction funds.
— Pakistan gets NATO invite.
— Former officials warn of “rewarding terrorists.” 

Please send tips and comments to Jeremy Herb, jherb@thehill.com, and Carlo Munoz, cmunoz@thehill.com.

Follow us on Twitter: @DEFCONHill, @JHerbTheHill, @CMunozTheHill