Monday, 18 November 2019
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US Presidency

By Rep Ike Skelton, Chairman, US House Armed Services Committee

President-elect Obama's decision to retain Robert Gates as Secretary of Defense is superb. Secretary Gates is trustworthy, has a keen sense of duty, and has the qualities of an Eagle Scout, which he is so proud of being. I have great confidence that Secretary Gates will continue to lead our military with distinction and help ensure our national security through these challenging times.

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By Robin Ashby, Publishing Editor, Great North News Services

Congressman Ike Skelton (D-MO) has been chosen by the House Democratic Caucus to serve a second term as Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee during the 111th Congress, which convenes in January 2009.

I met Rep Skelton during UK Defence Forum visits with UK Members of Parliament when he was Ranking Minority Member, in 2006, and as Chairman in 2007. He is a gentleman of the old school, but was extremely supportive of the UK's case on ITAR and technology exchange between the closest of allies. He arranged for us not just to meet him, but four of his subcommittee chairmen, as well as the acting Ranking Minority Member. We felt a special affinity as his ancestors appear to have come from Skelton, a small coastal village in the north east of England close to my former home. On behalf of the UK Defence Forum I congratulate him on his re-election and look forward to hearing more about the deliberations of his committee in the cause of defence, security and peace for the whole world.

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By George Friedman

Barack Obama is the Democratic candidate for president. His advisers in foreign policy are generally Democrats. Together they carry with them an institutional memory of the Democratic Party's approach to foreign policy, and are an expression of the complexity and divisions of that approach. Like the their Republican counterparts, in many ways they are going to be severely constrained as to what they can do both by the nature of the global landscape and American resources. But to some extent, they will also be constrained and defined by the tradition they come from. Understanding that tradition and Obama's place is useful in understanding what an Obama presidency would look like in foreign affairs.

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In the Quadrennial Defence Review, a  longer-term strategy document mandated by the US Congress every four years, the Pentagon declares winning "today's wars" as the military's top priority, citing Afghanistan, Iraq and other unnamed countries where U.S. forces can help to "dismantle terrorist networks," according to a draft of the report.

It discards a long-running doctrine that required the military to prepare to fight two wars at the same time.
Instead, the military will have to prepare for a range of threats in an "uncertain security landscape" where extremists or "non-state actors" pose a growing danger along with the spread of weapons of mass destruction and cyber attacks, the document says, according to a report carried by AFP.

The review also for the first time identifies global warming as a potential trigger of instability and urges the military to renew efforts to reduce its dependence on oil.

 
 

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