The Insider

September 16, 2008 at 5:00 AM

The Defense Department is going through the Mother of All Budget Drills, gaming options for how it would spend an additional $57 billion in fiscal year 2010, according to the Pentagon's No. 2 official.

"We have considered a range of possibilities, and that's certainly one of them," England said of the $57 billion boost, first reported by "But we won't have that budget together until November." England's comments, delivered following an address to the Navy League of New York City on Sept. 12, mark the first public acknowledgment by a Pentagon official that a major increase in defense spending could be in the offing.

Such a boost would be an 11th hour bid by the White House to revise the Pentagon's base budget, which the administration set on a course to steadily decline between FY-10 and FY-13 in its current five year budget plan.

The big question on the minds of many inside the buiding and on the Hill is when a decision on the size of the FY-10 budget will be made: before or after the Nov. 4 presidential election. -- Jason Sherman

September 16, 2008 at 5:00 AM

The presidential campaign descends on Baltimore -- and the National Guard -- early next week, with Sen. John McCain and Sen. Joe Biden scheduled to address the NGAUS general conference.

McCain will present Sunday at 3:30 p.m. while Biden will speak Monday at 11:30 a.m. More than 4,000 Guard officers and guests are expected to attend the conference at the Baltimore Convention Center.

The candidates will speak in Baltimore as thousands of Guardsmen handle a wide range of duties worldwide. More than 52,000 Guard soldiers and airmen are currently deployed overseas while another 21,000 are on domestic missions, such as helping Louisiana and Texas recover from hurricanes Gustav and Ike.

"The candidates are well aware of the Guard's contributions, and they know the Guard will be critical in the years ahead," said retired Brig. Gen. Stephen M. Koper, NGAUS president.

"But the candidates are coming to Baltimore because they also know that Guardsmen vote, many are opinion leaders in their local communities and the best way to reach them is the NGAUS conference," he said.

This is the fifth consecutive presidential election that a member of the Democratic and Republican tickets will speak to the NGAUS conference.

-- Dan Dupont

September 12, 2008 at 5:00 AM

Retired Gen. Barry McCaffrey, the former drug czar and commander of the 24th Infantry Division during Operation Desert Storm, has done another in a series of after-action reports, this one on Air Force Space Command.

His main point? The new president and his advisers, whoever they may be, have some work to do, and that right quick. From our story:

Because the existing Air Force space strategy is "under-resourced and severely constrained," the next president will have "at most a year" to make critical decisions regarding the United States' global superiority in space before it starts "rapidly eroding," according to a retired Army general.

Retired Army Gen. Barry McCaffrey -- an adjunct professor of International Affairs at the United States Military Academy at West Point, NY -- visited Air Force Space Command last month and met with the command's leadership in order to provide an independent operational assessment of Air Force capabilities and requirements. His "after action report" -- obtained by Inside the Air Force -- was submitted to Cols. Mike Meese and Cindy Jebb of West Point on Sept. 2.

McCaffrey has taken good long looks at Iraq and Afghanistan in recent months, too:

September 12, 2008 at 5:00 AM

Advisers to presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama talked about intel last week, urging U.S. agencies to better coordinate and share information at home and abroad, Inside the Navy reports:

"The New York Police Department intelligence unit, I think, is the best intelligence unit in the world," John Lehman, a former Navy secretary under Ronald Reagan who advises McCain, said Sept. 10 at a conference on homeland security sponsored by the National Defense Industrial Association. "I would far sooner get a briefing from them every morning than I would CIA -- they are small, they're lean, they're agile and they bring in people with outside expertise; they're not bureaucratic."

Lehman argued the intelligence community in the United States is "bloated."

"In my judgment, though there have been great efforts made and some tremendous leaders and professionals trying to work and rearrange the deck chairs on this Titanic, it is worse than it was at 9/11 in producing usable intelligence product for the president, for commanders engaged in combat," he said.

"Fundamental reform is going to have to be addressed to the intelligence community, including the FBI," Lehman added.

Also quoted is Rachana Bhowmik, Obama's adviser for homeland security:

"One of the important issues that we've seen under-exercised in the last eight years is the role of intelligence in the Department of Homeland Security," Bhowmik said. "I think we're still kind of getting our sea legs. How does the director of national intelligence interact with the Department of Homeland Security? How does the Department of Homeland Security handle its intelligence role? This is still not clear, but what is clear is we do not have an effective, cooperative relationship with our state and local governments."