Who will be top defense appropriator?

With Connor O’Brien

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– Moderate Jon Tester and liberal Brian Schatz vie for the gavel of the Senate Defense Subcommittee.

– A fiscal watchdog group asks Congress to delete Big ticket guns to save hundreds of billions.

– A new comment includes a to-do list for Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin refuel the Space Force and more.

HAPPY FRIDAY AND WELCOME TO THE MORNING DEFENSE as we greet Navy Secretary Gideon Welles who, on that day in 1862, ordered the establishment of an organization “to evaluate new inventions and technical developments,” which would eventually become the National Academy led the sciences. His boss, Abraham Lincoln, named him “Neptune” after the Roman god of the sea because he tried to stifle the Confederation’s economy during the Civil War. Some Welles wisdom: “It is futile to expect balanced government without a balanced society.” We are always on the lookout for tips, pitches and feedback. Email us at [email protected]and follow @bryandbender, @morningdefense and @politicopro on Twitter.

TESTER PREFERRED: “Montana Senator Jon Tester has proven to be the likely choice to lead the Senate Subcommittee on Defense. This body oversees nearly $ 700 billion in annual military funding while Democrats take over the Senate committees and set their spending priorities for the coming fiscal year, ”reports our colleague Connor O’Brien.

It would be a significant change in power for the three-year-old moderate, who is the sixth oldest Democrat on the subcommittee. Those who stand before him – including Sens. Dianne Feinstein of California, Patty Murray of Washington, and Jack Reed of Rhode Island – are largely expected to keep other committee and subcommittee responsibilities.

The Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin of Illinois, who has been the top Democrat on the Defense Committee since 2013, resigned as chairman of the Justice Committee.

Also in the mix for the hammer is Senator Brian Schatz from Hawaii, who follows the senior tester directly. But Schatz is a liberal democrat, unlike Tester, who is one of the most centrist members of the democratic caucus.

The tester would likely be very good news for proponents of nuclear modernization, especially ground-based strategic deterrence, the replacement for ICBMs. Malmstrom Air Force Base, one of three ICBM bases, is located in Montana.

THE CONSERVATIVE CASE FOR DEFENSE CUTS: It’s easy to forget that it’s not just progressive Democrats who want to slash or slash defense spending. An army of financial conservatives also wants to curb what they see as a runaway budget, as the National Taxpayers Union reminded us on Thursday.

In a new edition that describes $ 338 billion in savings over the coming years, advocacy covers a range of programs, from ships to nuclear weapons to jet fighter jets. Indeed, some parts of the plan make the progressives look like hawks.

“These proposals are no political stroll in the park given the determined and often bipartisan opposition to cuts and reforms to the Pentagon budget,” writes Andrew Lautz, NTU’s policy and government affairs manager. “None of the options is impossible or even implausible to adopt and implement and would help to correctly assess the Pentagon budget for the coming years.”

Where would you like to use the scalpel? Many politically popular programs. The NTU calls for the development of the B-21 bomber to be postponed, the B-1 bomber and the F-22 fighter jet to be withdrawn from service and “plans to purchase additional F-35s” to be canceled. It also calls for the killing of the long-range nuclear-armed stand-off weapon and the ground-based missile defense system, Midcourse Defense, which “has resulted in excessive spending with no recorded operational capacity”.

She also wants to sink plans for a larger navy. “The Navy’s aggressive shipbuilding plan, which targets 355 ships when the current fleet size is between 270 and 300 ships, will cost taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars in the decades to come,” it said. “The outgoing Trump administration pushed this questionable project even further in December and presented a new plan for a navy of 500 ships by 2045.”

Instead, she is calling for an option proposed by the impartial Congressional Budget Bureau to reduce the shipbuilding budget that would save taxpayers $ 31.2 billion between fiscal years 2022 and 2025.

DIE OVEREHER: How well do you know the House Armed Services Committee? We thought we knew well. And then we read the new POLITICO Pro DataPoint from Clark from our colleague Patterson on the supervisory body, the largest in the company. There will be a quiz.

The Center for Strategic and International Studies is having a discussion on the war in Afghanistan with former CIA Director and Army General David Petraeus, former US Ambassador to Afghanistan Ryan Crocker, and MP Peter Meijer (R-Mich.) Of the House Foreign Affairs Committee at 10 a.m.

A PENTAGON SPACE AGENDA: It’s an understatement to say that Austin has a lot on his plate. But it needs to prioritize the space mission and add fuel to recent military efforts to maximize long-term success, two leading government space strategists write in a new POLITICO comment.

One just has to make sure that the new Space Force and Space Command come up with a much more detailed plan for the years to come, including long-term investments beyond the fiscal year that drives traditional budgeting, argues Mir Sadat, a former National Security Council official and Michael Sinclair, Coast Guard captain and former assistant legal advisor to the NSC, now a member of the Brookings Institution.

And that means “visionary multi-year budget structures” and ultimately the right acquisition of new space systems.

“Space systems are often notoriously slow to develop, short-sighted in design, and expensive to deploy, maintain and upgrade,” they write. “Space defense readiness agencies and resources must anticipate the foreseeable trend of larger numbers of space actors (including the likely growth in human space travel) operating further from Earth, while the United States still has the ability to do so Area to be a leader. ”

“Failure to do so could have a transformative, if non-existential, impact on America’s ability to successfully meet security and global competitiveness challenges over the next century,” they warn.

The Pentagon also needs to work more closely with other agencies to make sure it doesn’t do too much with so much space expansion being civil and commercial. “The Secretary of Defense needs to work together across the federal government with space agencies like NASA and the state, trade, transportation and homeland security departments to find out who will be responsible for what,” they claim.

BIDEN ENDS BORDER EMERGENCY: On Thursday, as widely expected, President Joe Biden officially ended former President Donald Trump’s two-year declaration on a national emergency on the US-Mexico border, calling his predecessor’s order “unjustified” to POLITICO’s Quint Forgey and Lara Seligman report.

That means the government is no longer pouring money into Trump’s border wall, including diverting billions from the military construction budget.

“But not much will change for the local troops. Through September, around 3,600 military personnel will continue to support the Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection in the form of surveillance, maintenance, logistics and transportation, said Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Chris Mitchell. ”

Bryan Maxwell joins Strategic Marketing Innovations on February 22nd as Vice President, Defense practice. Most recently, he was Senior Defense Policy Advisor to Senator Jeanne Shaheen (DN.H.), a member of the Armed Forces and Resources Committees.

– Military officials were unaware of the potential threat to Pence’s “nuclear football” during the Capitol riot: CNN

– The former FBI officer, a veteran of the Navy, is the key figure in the January 6 uprising. Prosecutor says: The Washington Post

– The Navy has no idea how many sailors it has booted for extremist activities: Navy Times

– The Air Force launches its own probe of extremism in the ranks: The Hill

– It’s time the US military finally bans troops from joining extremist groups: mission and purpose

– Only a tiny fraction of sexual assaults against DoD civilians are documented, says GAO: Defense One

– According to the CBO, the cost of defense against cruise missiles can bring the greatest benefits: Breaking Defense

Task Force seeks to prioritize and synchronize DoD response to China: DoD News

State Approves Biden Administration’s First Three Foreign Military Sales: Defense News

– The US urges Turkey to drop Russia’s Bloomberg S-400 missile defense system

– Philippines uphold US troop agreement: Reuters

– Russians lap Norway before US bombers: Forbes

– Biden takes part in the virtual Munich security conference: Reuters

– Trump’s two worst military mistakes Biden must fix: Foreign policy

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