OVERNIGHT DEFENSE: Senate GOP pushes sequestration strategies

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), joined by every Republican on the Armed Services Committee, pitched an amendment to the farm bill forcing the Pentagon to outline sequestration's impact to the military. A similar demand was introduced by Sens. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) and John Thune (R-S.D.), calling for an administration-wide report on the effects of sequestration.

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McCain's pledge to tack a sequestration amendment to every pending piece of legislation drew criticism from Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), ranking Republican on the Agriculture Committee and lead GOPer on the farm bill. While the "merits" of the McCain amendment were sound, Roberts suggested McCain offer the measure as stand-alone legislation. Roberts also said he expects an amendment related to the conviction of the Pakistani doctor who helped the CIA find to Osama bin Laden. 

Sequestration, district by district: Off Capitol Hill, Frank Gaffney's right-leaning Center for Security Policy released a study Wednesday that detailed the local and state economic impact of sequestration cuts to the military. The report, released Wednesday at the Reserve Officers Association, included 2011 data to help lawmakers and defense advocates make their case for why the automatic cuts to defense must be reversed. 

The report follows a similar study earlier this year from the Aerospace Industries Association, a leading industry trade group, which also laid out the impact of sequestration cuts state-by-state and district-by-district. During the rollout, a panel of experts outlined the dangers to industry as well as to national security if the cuts go through, but several predicted that sequestration would not be reversed by Congress in the lame duck, and some form of the cuts would remain next January.

Sequestration, from the outside looking in: The fight over sequestration is not limited to those who work on Capitol Hill or inside the Pentagon — a few former congressional and administration officials will add their voices to the debate during an event sponsored by the Bipartisan Policy Center on Thursday. Former Senate Budget Committee chief Pete Domenici, former National Security Adviser Gen. James Jones and former Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman will issue their findings on the impact of sequestration on the Pentagon. Following in the footsteps of the Simpson-Bowles commission, the three former officials are part of the Center's Debt Reduction task force, whose sole purpose will be to "get America back on a sustainable fiscal track" 

Pacific push: While lawmakers in Washington keep looking for ways to spare the Pentagon from deep defense cuts, Defense officials are already making plans on where they're going to spend their money — no matter how much they end up getting. It's been clear since February that the United States is planting its flag in the Pacific in big way; on Thursday, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey will try to outline how that will exactly happen during a briefing at the Pentagon on Thursday. Fresh off his week-long visit to the region, Dempsey is expected to discuss the feedback he got from top Asian defense officials during the Shangri-La defense talks in Singapore last weekend. Now, how much detail attendees at tomorrow's briefing will get about those talks remains to be seen. 


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