Allen West – Weekly Newsletter 2-1-13 – Next Generation TV

NGTV Weekly Update

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Weekly Newsletter by Allen West for Next Generation TV

We are just a few days from launching new content. Michelle, John and I have enjoyed developing the preview videos to give you a flavor of the content you will be receiving, and we’re excited about its debut.

We hope you will spread the word about this initiative via Facebook, Twitter and word of mouth, and share the Next Generation Data Card. We want to engage you, and we appreciate hearing from you. Your comments are very insightful.

This is truly an exciting time to stand up for the future.

Speaking of our future, we must be concerned about the recent numbers for gross domestic product (GDP) that evidence an economy in peril. In the fourth quarter the U.S. economy grew at the weakest pace in almost two years. The U.S. GDP rose at a 1.1 percent annual rate, down from a 3.1 percent gain the prior three months and the least since the first quarter of 2011.

The economy is contracting, and the response should not be for the Federal Reserve to pump more money into it. Never forget that we are currently printing money to the tune of approximately $85 billion a month in order to stimulate the economy. This monetary policy we refer to as “quantitative easing” further proves our fiscal policy is failing.

Our members of Congress aren’t helping matters with their failure to pass a budget. Why is it critical for us to have a budget? Well, first of all, both the House and Senate are constitutionally mandated to do so. The failure to produce a budget means we operate under a temporary law that keeps spending at the current rate. See, without a budget we do not have a financial blueprint.

What this truly means is that we have a system called a baseline budget. Under this system, the only cuts are to increases, so there really is not a substantial cut to federal spending. We need to move toward a zero-based budgeting system, and we need to produce budgets.

I know there is a lot of talk on Capitol Hill about gun control; however, eventually there must be a serious discussion about spending control.

The ghost of illegal immigration past

This week revived serious talk about another hot topic: illegal immigration. Back in 1986, I was 25 when we went down this path in the Reagan administration and gave amnesty to two to three million people but never strengthened enforcement of immigration laws or border security. Now 27 years later, the ghost of illegal immigration past is rearing its ugly head.

A Senate “Gang of Eight” announced their proposal, where it seemed we had bipartisan concurrence in principle. Of course, the most important premise must be enforcement and border security.

But not 24 hours later, President Obama decided to once again inject himself into the legislative process by flying to Nevada, at a cost of $1.6 million, and offering his plan. The president’s proposal does not seem to focus on the enforcement aspect and pushes for immediacy, not accuracy.

Regardless, the devil is in the details, so we all shall await legislation that will encompass Obama’s plan.

Have a Super sports weekend

I wanted to mention one last policy issue before closing. The debate continues on the 1994 Combat Billet exclusion ban that outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta lifted last week. You can view my video commentary on the subject here.

Now for a few words about what will be on most everyone’s minds – and televisions – this weekend: Sunday is the Super Bowl, and for the first time it will pit two brothers against each other as head coaches. I was born and raised in Atlanta, so I’m disappointed that the Falcons fell short in the playoffs.

I believe this will be a good game, hopefully better than the BCS national championship game between Alabama and Notre Dame. Who am I picking? San Francisco has an awesome offense, and their defense certainly stopped my Falcons. And the Baltimore Ravens, what can one say about that incredible game against Denver and their shutting down the Patriots?

Edge to the Ravens and Ray Lewis ending his NFL career as a champion.

Steadfast and Loyal,

Allen B. West

CONTINUE READING THE REST OF THE NEWSLETTER BY CLICKING HERE:

NEXT GENERATION TV

 

Allen West “President Obama, as Commander-in-Chief, should be focused on sequestration and the failure of his policies in the Middle East”

AWforNGTV

by Allen West

On Sec Def Leon Panetta’s statement re: opening up direct combat billets to women. First of all, women in combat zones are serving in combat and the new 21st century battlefield means anyone outside of their FOB( Forward Operating Base) will potentially be engaged in a combat situation.

However, to make the insidious policy decision that we shall now open up combat billets to women is something completely different. GI Jane was a movie and should not be the basis for a policy shift. I know Martha McSally, have known women who are Apache and Cobra helicopter pilots, and served with women who were MPs, but being on the ground and having to go mano y mano in close combat is a completely different environment.

I completely disagree with this decision and can just imagine all the third and fourth order effects and considerations for implementation, such as standards for training. Unless the Obama administration has not noticed we are fighting against a brutal enemy and now is not the time to play a social experiment with our ground combat forces. President Obama, as Commander-in-Chief, should be focused on sequestration and the failure of his policies in the Middle East. This is the misconceived liberal progressive vision of fairness and equality which could potentially lead to the demise of our military.

Rep. Allen West “The Person Responsible For Libya ‘Cover-Up’ Will Be ‘Fired’ On Nov. 6th”

Florida congressman Allen West stopped by Fox & Friends‘ curvy couch on Monday, where he said that President Obama is complicit in trying the attacks in Benghazi to the anti-Islam film Innocence of Muslims. The Obama administration, he continued, simply does not want its foreign policy to be regarded as a “failure.”

West later added that there has “without a doubt” been a cover-up by the White House.

“When you look at the fact,” he said, “five or six days afterward, you had Susan Rice going on all of these talk shows, Sunday talk shows, with the same line: ‘It’s the video; it’s spontaneous.’ First of all, why is the American ambassador talking about embassies and consulates? Because that’s not her line of expertise. And for her to talk about coordinated attacks, you know, she is not a member of the Department of Defense. It should have been a State Department person, Hillary Clinton, or it should have been Leon Panetta.” Rice was ultimately chosen to talk about the attacks, he added, because she drew “the short straw.”

As for whether someone should be fired over the White House’s handling of the fatal attacks in Libya, West said that, on November 6th, the person responsible will indeed be kicked to be curb.

TO WATCH THE COMPLETE FOX & FRIENDS VIDEO WITH CONGRESSMAN ALLEN WEST CLICK HERE: Mediate

Rep Allen West’s Legislative Low Down & Weekly Wrap Up

Dear Patriot,

Greetings to our constituents, fellow Floridians, and all Americans.  Reflecting on the past week, I will tell you that Saturday morning got off to a very emotional and great start. My youngest daughter, Austen, was sworn-in as a United States Navy Sea Cadet, part of the USS Spruance Division in Fort Lauderdale. Our family was there as she placed her left hand on the American flag and took her oath.  Could this lead to the first Sailor in the lineage of service in the West family? It will make the Army-Navy game quite personal!

In keeping with this military theme, the past week was really about national security in many different ways. I pray there will be a strong, capable United States Navy and United States Military, for my daughter to join in the future. I am deeply concerned that again our Federal Government is forcing our men and women in uniform to pay the bills for the fiscal irresponsibility of Washington D.C.

Let us not forget that 62 percent of our federal spending is mandatory spending; net interest on the debt, MEDICAID, MEDICARE, and Social Security. Our defense budget, base and overseas operations, makes up only 19.6 percent of the total. Even if we eliminate the entire defense budget, America still runs close to a trillion dollar deficit this year.
It will take courageous leaders who will stand up and tell the American people the truth. We must protect and preserve our mandatory spending programs, however they have to be reformed in order to address our deficits and ever increasing debt.

On the heels of the news about harmful cuts to our military — which will take our Army and Marine force strength down to dangerous levels — Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta, stated we are going to end combat operations in Afghanistan sooner than expected. This is a repeat of the strategy which fails to understand the enemy has a vote. There are only two ways to end a combat operation or war — you win or you lose. You do not stop in the 4th quarter and tell the referee that you are going to leave the field. And as expected, following Secretary of Defense Panetta’s statement about Israel’s contemplation of an attack on Iran, America got a threat from Iran’s Supreme Leader.

We MUST stop telegraphing weakness.

I spoke to the Reserve Officers Association this week and laid out a national security strategy for the 21st Century Battlefield of “Engage, Deter and Strike.” We talked about how we must conduct a global threat assessment in order to develop the requirements and capability to meet any threat for the next 15 years.  I also had the distinct privilege of addressing the Arlington Virginia Squadron of the Marine Corps Aviation Association. I built upon the national security strategy and articulated how we must have individuals who understand the tactical level of war serving on Capitol Hill. It is imperative to ensure we have those individuals who can state why we must move away from a Cold War Era forward-deployed military to a power projection force that focuses on strike operations and not nation-building/occupation-style warfare. We discussed how the Marine Corps Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF) model is key to understanding how we tailor our forces going forward. Lastly, the Marines and I discussed how we need to create a national military strategy which drives the weapons systems being developed by the defense industrial base.  We need more attack and troop transport helicopters and close air support platforms.

What was special about this week was the chance to speak with allies as well. I had a fantastic conversation with Brigadier General Shmaya Avieli who is head of the Israeli Defense Export and Cooperation Department. We must work with our allies in new weapon system development in order to reduce our procurement and research and development timelines. When we can have more common operating platforms with our allies, we can reduce our logistical support chains and costs which is another driver of the Department of Defense spending.

Also this week, I had the honor of speaking to 30 Officers and Interagency workers attending the Canadian Defense College National Security program, their version of the United States military War College. Having served alongside the Canadian Army in Kandahar, Afghanistan, I was able to use anecdotal stories of how we must have better coordination of National and Operational security strategies to ensure our success at the tactical level. Interestingly enough, we are coming-up on the anniversary of the establishment of the 1st Special Services Brigade “Devil’s Brigade” which was the joint US-Canadian venture and the precursor to our Special Forces.
The closer for this week of national security and defense-related topics was the deployment ceremony for the US Army Reserve 841st Engineer Battalion. Special hat tip to Miami-Dade College North Campus for hosting the event where I was joined by Florida Governor Rick Scott.

Men and women from our local area, and other states as far away as Georgia and Alabama, are deploying to Afghanistan’s RC-North. They represent all that is best about America and are the true one percent who ensure the other 99 percent live in a land of liberty and freedom. We must guarantee they have proper ROE (Rules of Engagement) to enable them to engage the enemy on the battlefield.

The lesson learned for all of us is that the world is still a very dangerous neighborhood. We cannot pretend to believe that targeting our military will relieve our fiscal woes. We must listen to our allies and find the means by which we can cooperatively grow stronger and confront the growing adversaries who wish to promote their hegemonic dominance.

At each opportunity to speak, I challenge more of our uniformed men and women to “ruck up” in a suit and tie and seek out offices to run in their communities.  Capitol Hill I can attest is in need of true warriors and those who have a conviction and commitment for our Constitutional Republic.

Steadfast and Loyal,

Legislative Update: The House got back to full legislative work this past week:

– CLASS Repeal — Wednesday, the House of Representatives approved H.R. 1173, the Fiscal Responsibility and Retirement Security Act of 2012 by a vote of 267-159, I VOTED YES. Twenty-eight Democrats supported this legislation. The bill would repeal Title VIII of the Democrats’ government takeover of healthcare law, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which established the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) Program—a national, voluntary long-term care insurance program for purchasing community living assistance services and supports.

– Pro-Growth Budgeting — Thursday, the House of Representatives approved H.R. 3582, the Pro-Growth Budgeting Act of 2012 by a vote of 242-179, I VOTED YES. Four Democrats supported this legislation. The bill would require the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to prepare a supplemental estimate of the macroeconomic impact of any major bills reported by a House or Senate committee. Under H.R. 3582, a “major bill” would be defined as legislation with any one-year estimated budgetary effect of more than one-fourth of one percent (0.25%) of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in that year.

– Baseline Reform — Friday, the House approved H.R. 3578, the Baseline Reform Act of 2012 by vote of 235-177, I VOTED YES. Four Democrats supported this legislation. The bill would remove the automatic annual inflation adjustment from CBO’s discretionary baseline spending projections, thereby removing the baseline assumption that discretionary spending will increase each year.

– FAA Authorization (Conference Report) — Friday, the House approved the Conference Report on H.R. 658, the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 by a vote of 248-169, I VOTED YES. Twenty-four Democrats supported this legislation. The Conference Report would reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) operations and programs for four years, from Fiscal Year 2012 through Fiscal Year 2015. The legislation would provide a total authorization of $63.4 billion over the four year period, including $50 billion in discretionary authorizations and $13.4 billion in contract authority through the Airport Improvement Programs (AIP).

Highlights of the Week:

– Tuesday, 31 January, cast my vote and conducted several media interviews on the Florida GOP Presidential primary.

– Wednesday, 1 February, addressed the Reserve Officers Association Conference, met with Kristina Hebert of the Marine Industry Association of South Florida who attended the Small Business Committee full hearing on “The State of American Small Businesses.” Met with Brigadier General Shmaya Avieli, head of the Directorate for Israeli Defense Export and Cooperation.

– Thursday, 2 February, met with representatives from the Greater Miami Jewish Federation. Taped an interview with CBS News investigative reporter on the two month payroll tax increase fees on government sponsored enterprises (Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) loan guarantees. Video here. Linked up with Iraq combat buddy SGM(R) George Gurrola and escorted him to House chamber and gave a Capitol tour after evening votes. Addressed the Marine Corps Aviation Association.

– Friday, 3 February, conducted an after action review and gave guidance for next Conservative Black forum. Addressed Officers from the Canadian Forces College National Security program. Met with Cindy Chafian Executive Director of “The Mommy Lobby” who asked me to be on her Board of Advisors which I proudly accepted.

– Saturday, 4 February, addressed the Soldiers and Families of the 841st Engineer Battalion at their deployment ceremony. Attended the wedding party for Mr. Bill and Mrs. Sharon Petraglia Jr. The Petraglia Family are just wonderful and have always been there for me, God bless and long life to this new American family.

– Sunday, 5 February, attended the World War II Chaplain’s Memorial Ceremony in Boynton Beach to commemorate the memory of the Four Chaplains who sacrificed their lives during the sinking of the US troop transport Dorchester on 2 February, 1943.

– Monday, 6 February, flew back to Washington DC, recorded video address for Combat Veterans for Congress. Participated in the HASC panel on Business Challenges within the Defense Industry.

REGISTER TO RECEIVE ALL CONGRESSMAN ALLEN WEST’S E-NEWSLETTERS HERE: west.house.gov

 

Democrats and Republicans in Congress are poised for an ideological battle in 2012 over the future of the U.S. military.

Lawmakers geared up for battle over defense spending, military strategy

By John T. Bennett for The Hill

Democrats and Republicans in Congress are poised for an ideological battle in 2012 over the future of the U.S. military.

For the first time since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, Washington’s military strategy and priorities are in flux. The Iraq conflict has ended, the Afghanistan war is on pace to wrap up in 2014 and the Obama administration is enacting plans to shrink the growth of the Pentagon budget.

“The military certainly is at a crossroads,” Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.), a member of the House Appropriations subcommittee on Defense, told The Hill.

While lawmakers on both sides of the aisle agree that the military has reached a point of transition, the consensus largely ends there. The Obama administration and many congressional Democrats favor a smaller, leaner, cheaper military. But GOP lawmakers and many analysts warn that the world is too unstable for the United States to dial back its military might.

In a series of interviews with The Hill, members of both parties agreed that any changes to the nation’s military strategy, construct and priorities should be based on a revised strategy. But as the fallout from the Obama administration’s announcing of a new defense plan showed, there are sharp differences about what form that strategy will take.

President Obama and Pentagon leaders say their new defense plan will require a “leaner” and “more agile” force, and intend to cast aside parts of the force needed for protracted stability operations.

Senior Pentagon officials said the strategy shift is necessary so the force can fight a major conflict while responding quickly to other conflagrations across the globe. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said the envisioned force’s “greatest strength” is that it would be “more agile, flexible, ready to deploy, innovative and technologically advanced.”

But Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.), an Army veteran and House Armed Services Committee member, said the country is “about to do what we always do after wars end” — mistakenly slash defense funding. 

“We need a steady state defense budget,” West said, adding that budgetary “peaks and valleys” make it tough to maintain a lethal military that is feared by potential foes.

COMPLETE THE REST OF THE ARTICLE BY CLICKING HERE: THE HILL

Congressman Allen West speaks up about Obama, Boehner on Military and pathetic policies – Audio

Uploaded by on Jan 6, 2012  “Congressman Allen West (R-FL) spoke to the Morning Majority about the current tensions between Republicans in Congress, specifically with Speaker John Boehner.”

WASHINGTON — Republican Florida Congressman Allen West had plenty of fire power to blast both his own House leadership and President Obama in a far-ranging interview Friday on the WMAL Morning Majority program.

West, an Iraq war veteran and member of the House Armed Services Committee, told WMAL that President Obama’s plan to slash defense spending “completely decimates the ability of the United States military to be able to support and defend this country.”

The Obama plan is designed to save money by having the military take on what Defense Secretary Leon Panetta calls “additional but acceptable risk.”  Congressman West says the policy shows that “the President is totally misguided and shows a level of incompetence that is absolutely unconscionable.”

“For us to believe that we just say ‘here’s going to be X amount of dollars, and this is just where we’re going to take risks,’ there are people all over the world who are enemies of the United States of America who are cheering right now,” said West.

The 22-year Army veteran, who retired as a colonel in 2004, told WMAL the President needs to crack a book or receive a tutorial about war.

“When you look at battlefield calculus, you want to have a 3-to-1 advantage over the adversary in order to be able to have a successful campaign,” said West. “So when we sit back and say we’re going to try to do things just with drones or just with special forces… We’re just violating every single principle of war.”

West also accused President Obama of bad timing in discussing the defense spending cuts.

COMPLETE THE WHOLE STORY BY CLICKING HERE: WMAL

Obama’s Defense Drawdown – Op-Ed by Congressman Allen West

by Congressman Allen West – via Facebook

Mr. President, when will you learn? The military cannot continue to be the billpayer for fiscal irresponsibility. what’s driving 62 % of America’s debt is mandatory spending programs. We don’t need a repeat of task force smith! Read this op-ed for more info:

Wall Street Journal Editorial

Obama’s Defense Drawdown

President Obama yesterday put in a rare appearance at the Pentagon, flanked by the four service chiefs and his Secretary of Defense. Saying that now is the time to cash in a peace dividend, he unveiled plans for a significantly slimmed-down military. This dance was choreographed to convey strength. Everything else about it showed how domestic entitlements are beginning to squeeze the U.S. military.

This self-inflicted attack on defense comes at a strange time. True, the U.S. cut deeply after World War II, Korea, Vietnam and the Cold War—and in each case came to regret it soon enough when new threats emerged. But peace doesn’t characterize our time. Mr. Obama yesterday wielded his familiar line that “the tide of war is receding,” which will please his antiwar base but will come as news to the Marines in Afghanistan or the Navy ships patrolling the tense Strait of Hormuz.

The Pentagon shouldn’t be immune to fiscal scrutiny, yet this Administration has targeted defense from its earliest days and has kept on squeezing. The White House last year settled with Congress on $450 billion in military budget cuts through 2021, on top of the $350 billion in weapons programs killed earlier. Defense spending next year will fall 1% in nominal terms. The Pentagon also faces another $500 billion in possible cuts starting next January under “sequestration,” unless Congress steps in first.

Taken altogether, the budget could shrink by over 30% in the next decade. The Administration projects outlays at 2.7% of GDP in 2021, down from 4.5% last year (which included the cost of Iraq and Afghanistan). That would put U.S. outlays at 1940 levels—a bad year. As recently as 1986, a better year, the U.S. spent 6.2% of GDP on defense with no detrimental economic impact.

What’s different now? The growing entitlement state. The Administration is making a political choice and sparing Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, which are set to hit nearly 11% of GDP by 2020. And that’s before $2.6 trillion for ObamaCare, which will surely cost more.

These entitlements are already crowding out spending on defense and thus reducing America’s global standing, following the tragic path that Europe has taken. The difference is that Europe had the U.S. military in reserve. Who will backstop America?

We’re told that Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, who came into office last summer, says he doesn’t want to go down in history as the man who “hollowed out” America’s military. But the security trade-offs foisted on him by the White House will leave the military a less formidable, ready and dominant force in a still very dangerous world.

Part of the problem is that military personnel costs are exploding on pace to exceed the entire defense budget by 2030, according to Andrew Krepinevich of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. It’s hard to make the political and moral case to reduce benefits for veterans and soldiers, but here’s where Mr. Panetta could show mettle on Capitol Hill, especially by reforming military health care. The bulk of any defense budget is better spent on equipment, training and research.

Specific cuts will be spelled out in detail in the next Pentagon budget. The Navy, Air Force and Marines are flying old planes and waiting on the next generation F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jet, which comes with stealth technology. Previous Pentagon chief Bob Gates justified ending F-22 purchases by pointing to the F-35. But now the F-35 will likely be further trimmed and delayed.

After a decade of war, all the services need to replace worn-down equipment. U.S. nuclear submarines, missiles and bombers purchased during the Reagan buildup are reaching the end of their service lives. They need to be replaced, but they probably won’t be soon.

Mr. Panetta and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, General Martin Dempsey, tried gamely yesterday to dress up these cuts not as a drawdown but as a “strategic shift.” The Pentagon will spend less on the infantry to nation-build—now so unpopular—and will switch instead to defend the Pacific and new threats from cyberwarfare and in space.

But where are the resources to match the ambitions, such as new ships to patrol the Pacific? The planned reduction in troop strength is an “acceptable risk” (in General Dempsey’s words) since this Administration doesn’t plan to fight ground wars or pursue any Afghan-style “stabilization” missions. Too bad Commanders-in-Chief don’t get to choose history’s next surprise.

The real message to the world is that the Administration wants to scale back U.S. leadership. This was part of the rationale behind the White House’s reluctance to take the initiative in the Middle East last year, as well as the attempts to mollify Iran’s mullahs and Russia’s Vladimir Putin. Now the Administration plans to draw down troops and America’s profile in Africa, Latin America and Europe. The Navy can easily match Iran’s threats in the Persian Gulf now, but what about in 10 years?

President Obama ended his remarks yesterday by quoting Dwight Eisenhower on “the need to maintain balance in and among national programs.” The line comes from his 1961 Farewell Address, better known as the “military-industrial complex” speech. Mr. Obama’s new defense posture brings to mind another Eisenhower line, offered two years earlier: “Weakness in arms often invites aggression.”

 

Rep Allen West: Cutting Spending While Protecting the Mission – Roll Call Special by the Congressman

Written by Congressman Allen West for Roll Call

During President Barack Obama’s tenure, the national debt has risen to almost $15 trillion, up from $10.6 trillion when he first took office. A significant portion of this debt can be attributed to the immense growth of the federal government since 2009.

The president has increased the federal debt by nearly $5 trillion since taking office, and historic levels of excessive spending have created record deficits in the past three fiscal years. Now, more than 41 cents of every dollar spent by the government is borrowed and 47 percent of the federal debt is owned by foreign nations.

Apart from defense, federal spending has hovered around 16.5 percent of the economy since 1980, through Democratic and Republican administrations. But under Obama, nondefense spending is soaring to 23 percent of the economy this year and is projected to remain at historically high levels in the future.

While I can agree in certain instances with across-the-board spending cuts, defense cuts must never hinder the ability of those serving on the front lines of battle from completing their missions. We cannot put the failures of this president and his massive spending agenda on the backs of the men, women and families of our armed forces. The United States must remain the most powerful military force in the world, and we must always stand with our troops as they ensure our national security.

However, that doesn’t mean we cannot find savings within the Department of Defense budget. In fact, I found three places to cut spending and sponsored three bills to do so: H.R. 1246, H.R. 1247 and H.R. 1248.

• H.R. 1246 will reduce the printing and reproduction budget by 10 percent.

• H.R. 1247 will reduce funding for defense studies, analysis and evaluations by 10 percent.

• H.R. 1248 will restrict payout of annual nationwide adjustment and locality pay for below satisfactory workers.

I have since challenged all 435 voting Members of the House to find their own programs to trim. Importantly, none of these cuts would affect our ability to be the most powerful military force in the world.

Nonetheless, Members on the other side of the aisle are claiming we need to make significantly larger cuts to defense, and we are now confronted with hundreds of billions in defense cuts over a decade because of the failure of the Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction.

Even senior Obama administration officials are opposed to such enormous and damaging reductions. According to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, “The roughly $1 trillion in cuts … would seriously weaken our military, and … make us unable to protect this nation from a range of security threats that we face.”

TO COMPLETE THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE CLICK HERE: ROLL CALL

Congressman Allen West ‘s Weekly Wrap Up 10/17/11

Dear Patriot,

Greetings to our constituents, fellow Floridians, and all Americans as I endeavor to present to you another weekly update from Capitol Hill. This week I want to pursue a little different approach. I want to focus your attention on a prevailing theme from this week – national security.

The highlights of this week will discuss: the testimony of Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey before the House Armed Services Committee, the press conference my colleagues held on defense budget cuts, the Iranian backed assassination plot, and the report released on the Extortion 17 (CH-47D) shoot down in Afghanistan.

I want to begin by conveying some basic facts.  We have already offered $478 billion of cuts to the defense budget over the next ten years. Some individuals would say that is not enough. When the Secretary of Defense and Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff testified last week before the House Armed Services Committee,  there were quite a few Code Pink protesters in the audience.  As I exited the hearing, one woman decided to follow me and asked me why I don’t just “end the wars?” I asked her if she knew “what the only two ways are that end a war?”  She replied,  “just stop funding them.”  My response to her was that “you end a war by either winning or losing, those are the only two ways.”  I expressed to her that I am not about losing.

We cannot afford to have the sequestration option endanger our national security with another $500 billion cuts to our military. Even President Barack Obama’s Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta, and President Obama’s selected Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff, General Dempsey, concurred they do not support that option.

Our force is already feeling the effects as we continue to ask our men and women in uniform and their families to make sacrifice after sacrifice on this 21st Century Battlefield.

We must develop a national security strategy that is not budget based but rather requirement based. That means we must conduct a threat analysis across the geographic areas of responsibility and then match a capacity and capability to thwart those threats. We must end the failed process of telling the military… this is what you get, go defend us.

I believe there are inefficiencies we can eradicate in the Department of Defense, mainly we should move from a Cold War era “forward-deployed” force posture to a “power projection” posture. It also means that we must stop the practice of nation-building/occupation style warfare and move towards strike operations…something which we shall discuss later.

Let me share some budgetary facts:
– $1.36 trillion used to prop up Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac could have funded the entire base budget of the Department of Defense for three years.
– $79.69 billion used to bailout auto makers could have funded Navy shipbuilding for over five years. Since 1990 we have gone from 546 naval vessels to 285 currently.
– $535 million taxpayer dollars dumped on Solyndra, which is not bankrupt, could have completed this year’s backlog of ship maintenance and had nearly $200 million left over.
– $3 billion spent for “Cash for Clunkers,” could have purchased some 125 transport vehicles for ship to shore operations.
– China now has over 60 attack submarines, while we are falling behind our minimum requirement of 48. The taxpayer funds spent to bailout AIG could have purchased 44 attack subs.
– The taxpayer funds we pay in interest to China on our debt could buy almost three F-22 fighter jets a week.

These are just a few examples proving that our federal government just does not understand its most important role is the security and safety of this country.  Instead, leaders fall prey to “crony capitalism” and as a result place our nation in serious peril. We cannot solve our national debt/deficit problem on the backs of our military, or our Veterans.

That is why last week, Republican members of the House Armed Services Committee held a press conference to say, “No More” when it comes to cuts to our defense budget. I understand the significance of this personally as I lived through some rough years  serving in the Army when the military was the bill payer for government wasteful spending programs.

Just this week we learned that Iran was seeking to execute a terrorist attack and assassination on American soil, right in our Nation’s Capital. The Iranian belligerence grows daily while we continue to portray weakness in the face of their arrogance. A strong military is a deterrent and will provide peace as you evidence strength, which is all some in this world understand.

Now is the time for America to reexamine the threats and requirements to contend with the enemy facing us on the 21st Century Battlefield. It means developing a national security strategy which will deny this non-state, non-uniform adversary a sanctuary for the purpose of recruiting, equipping, training, and preparing forces to dispatch throughout the world. It means we have to cut off his flow of men, resources, and support. It means we have to win the information operation war of words and propaganda. It means we have to cordon him off in areas where we can reduce his ability to promulgate his Islamic totalitarian ideology. It means we must have the capacity to protect the sea lanes of commerce and block adversarial intrusion and influence within our own hemisphere. As stated, we must move towards the capacity and capability to conduct fluid strike operations using our strategic maneuverability as our greatest asset.

This brings me to a report that was released this week.
Back in August, America lost 33 of its Elite Warriors, US Navy SEALS, and other Special Operations support forces. As well, we lost Afghan partners in the mission that I will hence refer to as Extortion 17. The US Army did an impeccable job in investigating this mission and I want to share with you the investigating Officer’s quote from his report:

“After conducting my investigation, I have determined that this mission, and the tactics and resources employed in its execution, were consistent with previous US Special Operations missions and the strike forces selected to execute the mission were appropriate. I also determined that the CH-47D was shot down with a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) fired by a Taliban fighter as the helicopter neared its landing zone.”

The investigation was conducted by a US Army Brigadier General with extensive helicopter flight experience in combat. He is now serving as an Assistant Division Commander in the US Army.
The shot which took down the aircraft hit one of the blades on the aft rotor assembly , resulting in the aft rotor separating from the aircraft, and sending the aircraft into a fatal spin. The Taliban combatant which fired the shot was summarily killed in a subsequent operation.

Last week, I had the distinct honor of speaking to one of the family members, Mr. Billy Vaughn, who lost his son during the operation. Mr. Vaughn wanted to share his insights and perspectives of which he and I concur: The greater issue of what happened that evening comes back to two points of order; Rules of Engagement and airframe availability for strike operations.

First of all, let me discuss the Rules of Engagement issue. The US Navy SEALS were launched as a reaction force due to the identification of 9-10 enemy fighters near the initial Ranger operation. Permission was not granted to the over-watch AH-64D (Apache Attk Helos) to engage…therefore the decision was made to launch the Immediate Reaction Force (IRF). These same AH-64s had already engaged an enemy ground force seen moving away from the Ranger target mission area, killing six.

My concern is that we have implemented severely restrictive Rules of Engagement on our forces operating in hostile territory.  If we always wait for hostile intent to be shown, we lose our advantage. I believe it is truly time for the House Armed Services Committee to hold hearings about Rules of Engagement and ascertain if it is allowing our forces to gain and maintain the tactical advantage or are we ceding the initiative to the enemy.

Secondly, on the evening of this mission there were countless other “strike operation” type missions occurring which require rotary wing lift capability. I believe it is time we reexamine the amount of lift capability that is required for our Special Operators as well as our conventional light infantry forces… Airborne, Air Assault or Marine. If we need to increase the fleet of MH-47s, as well as CH-47s, that should be a priority. The House Armed Services Committee must hold hearings in our Readiness Subcommittee to look at this issue. We also need to task out to our defense industry the mission to develop better early warning detection technology for our rotary wing fleet.

There will be many more “Tangi Valley” operations as we fight this enemy which seeks to hide in and amongst civilian populations. We need to ensure that our Warriors have the tools necessary to Find, Fix, Engage, Destroy, and Pursue this enemy.

I want every Member of the Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction to know one thing, our Warriors are fighting under tough conditions, in a constrained environment, and a time with reduced resources. There should be no more cuts to our Defense budget, unless any of you wish to look Mr. Vaughn and the many other families in the face and explain how you would jeopardize their loved ones lives.

The Members of the Joint Committee have a job to find the additional $1.2 trillion to $1.5 trillion cuts in our bloated government spending disease.

In conclusion, talk is cheap, and all Iran hears is talking.  Eventually we will have to take action, which is all that country will comprehend. Instead of sending 100 Special Operators into some “nebulous” mission in Africa, we need to stay focused and on task.

It is unbelievable to me that the Obama Administration would venture off into combat operations, Libya as an example, without any consult with the United States Congress, as we depart Capitol Hill for a District Work Period.

Lastly, it has come to my attention that the United States Department of State issued a condolence call to the family of declared Islamic terrorist and traitor, Samir Khan. The State Department should have instead called the family of the young American who fired that Drone’s hellfire missile and congratulated them for raising an American Warrior!

Steadfast and Loyal,

 

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