defense

Border emergency hits six months; ball back in Congress’ court
Lawmakers may again try to terminate Trump's declaration allowing him to shift funds for wall construction

Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other House Democrats appear in February at a news conference on the joint resolution to terminate Trump's emergency declaration. It is not clear whether they will try again to pass a similar measure. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Thursday marks six months since President Donald Trump declared a national emergency on the southern border, a notable anniversary because it gives Congress another shot at ending it.

The flashpoint in the debate remains funding for the construction of a wall along the Mexican border, a prominent pledge made during Trump’s 2016 presidential bid that now hangs over the 2020 campaign.

Blue Origin files protest in controversial rocket competition
The rocket manufacturer protested Monday, saying the contract solicitation the Air Force issued in the spring is unfair

Jeff Bezos, owner of Blue Origin, speaks about outer space before unveiling a new lunar landing module called Blue Moon, during an event at the Washington Convention Center, May 9, 2019 in Washington. Blue Origin filed a complaint Monday, saying the contract solicitation the Air Force issued in the spring is unfair. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

In a move that will reverberate in Congress, a top U.S. rocket manufacturer formally protested on Monday the terms of a multi-billion-dollar Air Force competition for launching America’s future national security satellites.

Blue Origin of Washington state, one of four likely bidders for the work, filed its protest with the Government Accountability Office, citing concerns that the contract solicitation the Air Force issued in the spring is unfair.

After years of promises, Trump again sounds dire about China trade pact
‘Joe Biden is not playing with a full deck,’ POTUS alleges of Dem front-runner

President Donald Trump stops to briefly talk with journalists as he tours his “Made In America” product showcase at the White House in July. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images file photo)

President Donald Trump on Friday did not rule out canceling planned trade talks next month with Chinese officials, saying he is not yet ready to make a deal with the Asian economic powerhouse.

He also announced the United States is cutting all ties to Huawei, the giant Chinese telecommunications company that Beijing considers one of its industrial champions but the Trump administration contends is a national security threat. Trump left open the possibility of rebuilding that link if his team can strike a deal with China.

3 things to watch: Trump returns to trail after racist ‘send her back!’ chant
President holds rally days after saying he expects to face ‘Sleepy Joe’ Biden in general election

A supporter of President Donald Trump displays a campaign flag before his “Salute to America” celebration in front of the Lincoln Memorial on July 4. Trump goes to the swing state of Ohio for a rally Thursday night. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump returns to the campaign trail Thursday night in Cincinnati with his first political rally since his supporters in North Carolina chanted “send her back!” about a Somali-born House Democrat.

That chant was directed at Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar — who has been critical of U.S. policy, Israel and Trump — by a crowd in Greenville. It prompted a rare instance of the president criticizing, though lightly, his conservative base, saying the next day he disagreed with the chant. He also falsely claimed he quickly tried to shut down the chant, a contention that was undone by video showing him standing silent behind his podium for more than 10 seconds.

Women push for greater role in the national security establishment
Leadership Council for Women in National Security is making it a campaign issue

Former Air Force secretary Heather A. Wilson introduces Air Force Gen. John Hyten, during his confirmation hearing Tuesday to be vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Wilson has advocated more diversity in the national security apparatus. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Many women in the country’s emerging class of national security and foreign policy leaders came into their fields assuming the sexism that stifled careers in earlier generations was a thing of the past.

They quickly learned, however, that the upper ranks of the country’s national security apparatus was still very much a boys club.

Senate confirms Norquist for No. 2 Pentagon job
Norquist shepherded the DOD through its first audit, and received plaudits from members of both parties during his confirmation

The Senate confirmed late Tuesday by voice vote David L. Norquist, Defense Comptroller/CFO, to be deputy Defense secretary. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate late Tuesday night confirmed by voice vote David Norquist to be deputy Defense secretary as the chamber rushes to vote on numerous nominees before senators leave town for August recess.

Norquist’s easy, late-night passage underscores his popularity on Capitol Hill. As Pentagon comptroller, he shepherded the Defense Department through its first-ever audit, and received plaudits from members of both parties during his confirmation before the Senate Armed Services Committee last week.

For Joint Chiefs nominee, a subdued hearing addressing contentious charges
John Hyten defends himself against sexual assault charges before Armed Services panel

Heather A. Wilson, former secretary of the Air Force, introduces Air Force Gen. John Hyten during his confirmation hearing to be vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump’s pick to be the next vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on Tuesday publicly defended himself against sexual assault allegations that have clouded his nomination, picking up support from key lawmakers as his accuser, an Army colonel, sat just feet away.

And although the accusations against him are part of a wider cultural issue that has filtered into the presidential campaign, two members of the committee running for president skipped the hearing — and a chance to question the nominee. 

DOD workers bought thousands of Chinese electronics vulnerable to hacks, spying
More than 9,000 commercially available products could be used to spy on or hack U.S. military personnel and facilities

Aerial view of the Pentagon building photographed on Sept. 24, 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Defense Department employees have procured thousands of printers, cameras and computers that carry known cybersecurity risks, and the practice may be continuing, according to an audit released Tuesday by the Pentagon’s inspector general.

More than 9,000 commercially available information technology products bought in fiscal 2018 could be used to spy on or hack U.S. military personnel and facilities, the report said. Without fixing oversight of such purchases, more risks lie ahead, potentially including perils for top-dollar weapons that use such “commercial-off-the-shelf” or COTS devices.

‘He’s a television character’: Democrats worry about Trump’s U.S. intelligence pick
Devin Nunes, another skeptic of U.S. intelligence, called the appointment a ‘great choice’

From left, Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, Reps. John Ratcliffe, R-Texas, and Will Hurd, R-Texas, prepare for testimony by former special counsel Robert Mueller before the House Intelligence Committee hearing on his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election in Rayburn Building on Wednesday, July 24, 2019. He testified earlier in the day before the House Judiciary Committee. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated: 5:12 p.m.

Rep. John Ratcliffe, first appointed to the House Intelligence Committee just seven months ago, could soon be delivering the president’s daily intelligence briefings.

Senate confirms four-star general, inches forward another despite sexual assault allegations
The Senate voted 89-1 to confirm Army Gen. Mark Milley to be the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, nominee for chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, arrives for his Senate Armed Services Committee confirmation hearing in Dirksen Building on July 11, 2019. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate on Thursday voted 89-1 to confirm Army Gen. Mark Milley to be the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, just hours after the Armed Services Committee decided to move forward with Air Force Gen. John Hyten’s nomination to be the military’s No. 2 officer despite lingering questions about allegations of sexual assault.

The progress on the Joint Chiefs nominees comes as senators try to firm up leadership at the Pentagon, which has been in a state of transition for months.