The POMED Wire

POMED Notes – HFAC Budget Hearing FY 2016

On Tuesday, February 25th, 2015, Secretary of State, John Kerry, testified before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs about the State Department budget. Ed Royce (R-CA), Eliot Engel (D-NY), Brad Sherman (D-CA), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Gregory Meeks (D-NY), Dana Rohrbacher (R-CA), Albio Sires (D-NJ), Steve Chabot (R-OH), Gerry Connolly (D-VI), Joe Wilson (R-SC), Ted Deutch (D-FL), Michael McCaul (R-TX), Brian Higgins (D-NY), Ted Poe (R-TX), Matt Salmon (R-AZ), Darrell Issa (R-CA), David Cicilline (D-RI), Alan Grayson (D-FL), Jeff Duncan (R-SC), Ami Bera (D-CA), Mo Brooks (R-AL), Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), Grace Meng (D-NY), Lois Frankel (D-FL), Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), Ron DeSantis (R-FL), Joaquin Castro (D-TX), Robin Kelly (D-IL), Ted Yoho (R-FL), Brendan Boyle (D-PA), Curt Clawson (R-FL), Reid Ribble (R-WI), Dave Trott (R-MI), Lee Zeldin (R-NY), and Tom Emmer (R-MN) were in attendance. Many of the questions Mr. Kerry received from the committee members were not necessarily budget related, but dealt more with current issues confronting U.S. foreign policy, such as the rise of the Islamic State, ongoing nuclear talks with Iran, and Russia’s actions in the Ukraine.

For full notes, continue reading or click here for a PDF. To watch the hearing, click here.

Both committee chairman Ed

Senator Wyden Commemorates Anniversary of Protests in Bahrain

On February 24, Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) commemorated the anniversary of the pro-democracy uprisings in Bahrain. Wyden said, “While many Bahrainis feel their struggle has been forgotten by the world, I want them to know that it will not go unremembered…The regime continues to go to great lengths to convince the world that it is making progress but I am sad to report that I cannot share that conclusion.” He goes on to note that “Bahrain’s rulers continue to commit human rights violations while taking only superficial steps toward a meaningful political solution,” and urges “the Bahraini regime to implement true and meaningful reforms, to cease the use of violence and repression against peaceful protesters, and to engage in credible dialogue about the future of Bahrain.” Wyden concludes, “Bahrain has long been an ally of the United States, and I believe this country has an obligation to hold friends to a higher standard. To those who will say that human rights abuses are bad but that stability and cooperation in the region must come before such concerns, I say that you are offering a false choice.”

Elliott Abrams documents the Obama Administration’s seeming flip-flop in its human rights policy in …

SCA OPS – Department of State Budget Hearing FY 2016

On Tuesday, February 24, 2015, the State, Foreign Operations, and Other Related Programs Subcommittee of the Senate Committee on Appropriations held a hearing to review the Fiscal Year 2016 funding request and budget justification for the U.S. Department of State. Subcommittee Chairman Senator Lindsey Graham presided, with Ranking Member Senator Patrick Leahy, Sens. Mark Kirk, James Lankford, Jeff Merkley, John Boozman, Steve Daines, Chris Murphy, Dick Durbin, Jerry Moran, Roy Blunt, and Chris Coons in attendance.  Secretary of State John Kerry testified.

For full notes, continue reading or click here for a PDF. Click here to watch the full hearing.

Subcommittee Chairman Lindsey Graham opened the hearing by noting that the Department of State budget represents one percent of the overall federal budget and that the amount of return on investment the United States sees “is something we should all be proud of.” He observed that the Department of State “account is national defense in another form,” especially in light of the fact that the “developing world needs America more than ever.” Graham asserted the effects of the budget sequestration should be the main focus of the hearing.

Ranking Member …

POMED Notes- Authorizing Military Action Against ISIL

On Monday, February 23rd, 2015, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars hosted a discussion titled “Authorizing Military Action Against ISIL: Geography, Strategy and Unanswered Questions.” The three speakers included Lt. General David Barno (Ret. U.S. Army), Director, President, and CEO of the Wilson Center, Jane Harman, and Former General Counsel for the C.I.A. Jeffrey H. Smith, who is currently serving on the Department of Defense Legal Policy Advisory Board. The discussion was moderated by CNN’s Chief National Security Correspondent, Jim Sciutto.

For a full PDF of the notes, click here.

Ms. Harman began the discussion by briefly examining the role of Congress in declaring war, as well as Congress’ duties once debate is opened for the Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF). She noted that four wars have occurred since the end of the Vietnam war. Despite Congress having a constitutional obligation to declare war, only two of those conflicts operated under a congressional declaration of war. When Congress debates the proposed AUMF, she argued, it should confront the issue by not participating in partisan politics, avoiding “group think,” and to avoid the tendency to not challenge underlying assumptions.

Harman continued that while …

Bilateral Agreement Ups U.S. Assistance for Jordan

The following post originally appeared on Security Assistance Monitor, a joint project with the Center for International Policy.

The recent murder of Jordan’s Lieutenant Moaz al-Kasasbeh by militants of the so-called Islamic State has propelled the Kingdom into the international spotlight. In response to the murder, Jordan has escalated bombing missions against Islamic State targets in Syria, and it has promised a “relentless war” that “will be heard by the world at large.” Jordan’s response to the Islamic State comes as the Obama Administration requested an estimated $1 billion in U.S. aid ($637 million for economic and $350 million for military) to Jordan for FY 2016, which some members of Congress may think is not enough. The administration cemented this commitment by completing a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Jordan guaranteeing $1 billion each year in U.S. assistance until 2017.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry underscored U.S. commitment to Jordan when he said that Jordan represents a “staunch and stable ally in one of the globe’s most challenged areas.” The agreement illustrates Jordan’s strategic importance to the United States as a host of over half a million Syrian refugees and an active participant in the anti-Islamic State …

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