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Weekly Debrief #44

Aarzu Maknojia, Friday, September 11, 2020

1. Defense Authorization Bill Delayed Until After Election    

(Defense News) A bipartisan compromise and vote on the 2021 defense policy bill isn’t likely before the Nov. 3 elections, but it should come “quickly” thereafter, according to the House Armed Services Committee’s top Republican. The vote would delay a decision from Congress about whether the Defense Department to rename military bases honoring Confederate leaders among other issues.

2. White House Asks for Flexibility in Space Force Funding In Stopgap Spending Measure

(The Hill) Lawmakers are expected to pass a stopgap spending measure known as a continuing resolution (CR) to keep the government open when current funding expires after Sept. 30. Such measures typically bar any changes to existing programs, but the administration has asked for a slew of exceptions including flexibility to fund the Space Force, new submarines and a new nuclear warhead.

3. How America's Defense Strategy Left Us Unprepared for A Pandemic

(Defense One) The COVID-19 crisis has laid bare the risks of focusing exclusively on great power competition at the expense of broader national security challenges and more cooperative and problem-oriented approaches to advancing U.S. interests around the world. Our approach has made addressing international problems difficult or impossible.

4. Industry Could Wait Months for COVID Reimbursements from Pentagon

(Defense News) The DoD has been seeking additional Section 3610 funding in order to reimburse defense contractors for COVID related expenses. Ellen Lord, undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment, recently said that should Congress appropriate the requested funds, it will likely take five or six months before any reimbursements to industry are made. Her statement follows accusations from lawmakers that the DoD is interested in writing "blank checks."

5. Trump Is Blasting the Military-Industrial Complex. But He's One of Its Biggest Boosters

(Politico) On Monday, President Trump said leaders at the Pentagon “want to do nothing but fight wars so that all of those wonderful companies that make the bombs and make the planes and make everything else stay happy.” But, Trump's record tells a different story. All three of his defense secretaries had ties to the defense industry, he has championed two defense budgets that blew past $700 billion and is preparing to sign a third, and he has approved record number of weapons sales.
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