OVERNIGHT DEFENSE: Study: 600,000 federal workers at risk if sequester goes through

Critics have questioned the AIA’s claim that 1 million jobs are at stake in sequestration — a figure also touted by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers — arguing that the numbers are inflated.

But the debate over sequestration has continued to gain steam in Washington as it’s become a debate about jobs as much as national security.

The study is being released one day before four defense executives testify in the House Armed Services Committee about sequestration, including Lockheed Martin CEO Bob Stevens, who warned that his company could issue layoff notices to all 100,000-plus employees before the election. 

The other side responds: As defense hawks get louder about the dangers of cutting the military, critics of outsized defense spending are also ramping up their own arguments.

The National Security Network, a liberal-leaning think tank, wrote a post Monday headlined “Pink Slips are Politics, not Strategy,” geared toward Lockheed’s threat and calling for a “balanced” approach to sequestration. A joint survey conducted by the Program for Public Consultation, The Stimson Center, and the Center for Public Integrity released Monday found that more 70 percent of respondents in both Republican and Democratic districts supported cutting defense — if they were first given an explanation of the arguments for and against.

Down, but not out: Senate Republicans seemingly scored a serious blow to the White House-backed Law of the Sea treaty on Monday, claiming to have enough votes to block ratification of the measure when it comes up for a vote later this year.

"This is Victory Day for U.S. sovereignty in the Senate,” Sen. James InhofeJames (Jim) Mountain InhofeGOP senator on backing Moore: ‘It’s a numbers game’ Overnight Energy: Panel advances controversial Trump nominee | Ex-coal boss Blankenship to run for Senate | Dem commissioner joins energy regulator Senate panel advances controversial environmental nominee MORE (R-Okla.) cheered in a statement. Sens. Johnny IsaksonJohn (Johnny) Hardy IsaksonSenate ethics panel wants details on sexual harassment allegations Senate leaders push tax debate into Friday Senate Ethics Committee opens 'preliminary inquiry' into Franken allegations MORE (R-Ga.), Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanMcConnell names Senate GOP tax conferees Overnight Finance: House approves motion to go to tax conference — with drama | GOP leaders to consider Dec. 30 spending bill | Justices skeptical of ban on sports betting | Mulvaney won't fire official who sued him How four GOP senators guided a tax-bill victory behind the scenes MORE (R-Ohio) and Kelly AyotteKelly Ann AyotteExplaining Democratic victories: It’s gun violence, stupid Trump voter fraud panel member fights back against critics Dems plan to make gun control an issue in Nevada MORE (R-N.H.) landed the potential fatal blow to the treaty when the lawmakers agreed to join fellow Republicans in blocking the measure. With Isakson, Portman and Ayotte, Senate Republicans now have more than one-third of senators needed to scuttle the treaty, which would have set up a slate of international rules of the road for the world's waterways.

But Senate Foreign Relations Committee chief John KerryJohn Forbes KerryLobbying world Kerry: Trump not pursuing 'smart' or 'clever' plan on North Korea Tillerson will not send high-ranking delegation to India with Ivanka Trump: report MORE (D-Mass.) vowed to battle on. In a sharply worded statement, the Massachusetts Democrat warned that Republicans might not be able to keep their majority by the time the ratification vote is called in November.

"No letter or whip count changes the fact that rock-ribbed Republican businesses and the military and every living Republican Secretary of State say that this needs to happen," Kerry spokeswoman Jodi Seth said. "That's why it's a matter of when, not if, for the Law of the Sea [ratification]."

New request on reprogramming: House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) is once again using the Pentagon’s $8 billion reprogramming request to try to lobby the Pentagon. McKeon and Rep. Mike Turner (R-Ohio) sent a letter to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta asking for more information about the Pentagon’s assessments of Iran’s missile program, as well as strategies against it — in particular DOD’s “hedging strategy” and consideration of a third missile interceptor on the East Coast.

“The Committee is in receipt of almost $8 billion in FY12 reprogramming requests, with significant sums of money intended for missile defense capabilities and capabilities oriented to a potential conflict with a regional threat,” the lawmakers wrote. “We therefore believe it is appropriate for our requests in this letter to be answered prior to any decision by the Committee on these matters.”

McKeon made a stronger, albeit short-lived, threat last week over the Pentagon’s policy limiting reports to Congress to 10 pages. The chairman threatened to block the reprogramming until the report-length policy was rescinded, but less than an hour later the Pentagon said it had already done so.

Navy carrier group ships out early: Pentagon officials are speeding a Navy carrier group into the Persian Gulf four months ahead of schedule, according to a Defense Department statement. The USS John C. Stennis carrier strike group will head back to the Gulf after returning from its most recent deployment to the region in March. The group was originally set to steam back out to the Mideast at the end of this year, but was bumped up to support existing naval force requirements in the Middle East, according to DOD spokesman George Little. The accelerated deployment was not in response to any aggressive actions by Iran's military forces, according to Little. The move simply keeps "with our long-standing [military] commitments to the region," he told reporters on Monday.


— Kerry predicts GOP will cave on sea treaty

— US lays out legal case for bin Laden, Libya

— Navy opens fire on boat in Persian Gulf

— Details emerge on Yemen counterterrorism

— Poll finds voters want to cut defense

— Iran makes new threats toward Strait of Hormuz

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