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Letter from washington


The Letter from Washington is a monthly update of events and issues affecting the US government. The purpose of the letter is to provide insight and context to the US political process, as it affects defense and homeland security appropriations, procurement policy and government decision-making.

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Past Issues of Letter from Washingon

June 9, 2015 Issue (PDF)
The Congress adds $35B to Defense without exceeding the budget caps; Hillary Clinton not quite so inevitable?; No relief for the President in either domestic or international affairs

April 14, 2015 Issue (PDF)
The Iran agreement --- who's in charge here anyway?

March 24, 2015 Issue (PDF)
Hillary and the e-mails — deja vu all over again; Obama plays keep-away with the Congress on Iran; The harder Obama tries to disengage from the Middle East the more involved he becomes; Another Defense budget gimmick to circumvent the caps

February 9, 2015 Issue (PDF)
SOTU — another missed opportunity; The FY-16 budget; Dr. Carter likely to be confirmed; The new National Security Strategy

December 3, 2014 Issue (PDF)
No holiday break from the issues; Hagel overboard!; Immigration reform by executive order; Down to the wire on 2015 funding

November 10, 2014 Issue (PDF)
A Republican tsunami; Obama: What election?; Limited cooperation or continued gridlock?

October 31, 2014 Issue (PDF)
Can government do anything well any more?; Senate likely to flip to Republican control; What happens next?

September 24, 2014 Issue (PDF)
The ISIS air campaign starts; No boots on the ground?; What’s the strategy?; Mid-term election outlook; CR likely into 2015

August 14, 2014 Issue (PDF)
The results of disengagement; The politics of resentment; More gridlock ahead

March 27, 2014 Issue (PDF)
The Crimea crisis; The administration's 2015 defense budget

February 21, 2014 Issue (PDF)
The Defense Budget Agreement; The “unfunded requirements” list makes a comeback; Defense industry outlook for 2014-5; Obama vs Putin

January 28, 2014 Issue (PDF)
FY-2014 Defense Appropriations; The State of the Union; The year to forget

January 2, 2014 Issue (PDF)
The budget agreement; Omnibus appropriations; The end of gridlock?; Industrial base concerns

November 21, 2013 Issue (PDF)
The Obamacare rollout disaster; Sequestration at the forefront; A budget deal by January 15?

November 1, 2013 Issue (PDF)
Winners and losers in the government shutdown; Sequestration for the future; Next regularly scheduled crisis on January 15, 2014

September 20, 2013 Issue (PDF)
The President has a close call on Syria; No solution in sight for avoiding a government shutdown and default; Sequestration effects for 2014

August 28, 2013 Issue (PDF)
No relief for the President in foreign policy; End of Fiscal Year appropriations bargaining

June 24, 2013 Issue (PDF)
The Obama administration's death of a thousand cuts; Good politics vs responsible governing; Sequestration effects in the second year; International ramifications

May 15, 2013 Issue (PDF)
Sequestration effects (or not); Obama's second term blahs; Washington loves a good scandal; ITAR revisions set for October

March 7, 2013 Issue (PDF)
Guns in America

February 11, 2013 Issue (PDF)
Obama, Part II; Illegals and taxes and guns....oh my!; Living with sequestration

January 7, 2013 Issue (PDF)
The cliff averted ... for the moment; Focus now on the next deadline in March; Chuck Hagel for SECDEF

November 28, 2012 Issue (PDF)
Four take-aways from the election; Inching toward the cliff; No export reform in 2012

October 30, 2012 Issue (PDF)
The last week of the campaign (Romney changes the trajectory overnight); The October Surprise comes from the weather; Divided government and gridlock ahead

October 2, 2012 Issue (PDF)
Momentum favors Obama despite all of the bad news; October 3rd debate may be Romney’s last chance

August 6, 2012 Issue (PDF)
90 days and counting; Continuing Resolution a necessity for 2013; Is the US still governable?

July 5, 2012 Issue (PDF)
Sequestration. What is it? How does it work? How bad can it be?

May 21, 2012 Issue (PDF)
January 1, 2013 is a key date; Taxes, entitlements and gridlock; The FY 2013 defense budget process begins

April 23, 2012 Issue (PDF)
The Republican primary finally has a winner; Romney-Obama matchup closer than it appears; No relief in sight for the Pentagon

February 22, 2012 Issue (PDF)
The Republican primary goes on... and on; 2013 Defense Budget rolled out

November 24, 2011 Issue (PDF)
The Super Committee fires a blank; Deficit reduction vs National Security; The President positions himself for 2012; Third Party challenge coming?

October 11, 2011 Issue (PDF)
Deficit Reduction vs National Security; Another Continuing Resolution until November; Super Committee Report; The choice between merely crippling Defense reductions or irreparable harm; Republicans to the rescue? The 2012 field appears set; DoD strategic review

August 8, 2011 Issue (PDF)
The debt ceiling agreement is finally reached: what it does& what it does not; The outlook for DoD

July 26, 2011 Issue (PDF)
The debt ceiling debate; Defense in the crosshairs; America the Ungovernable?

June 12, 2011 Issue (PDF)
Depressing budget numbers for the President; Potential US debt default in August; Gates and Panetta; The coming defense rollback; Weiners and losers

April 29, 2011 Issue (PDF)
The government shutdown showdown; Next crisis: the debt ceiling; Leading from behind

March 14, 2011 Issue (PDF)
The Defense budget train wreck

January 24, 2011 Issue (PDF)
Obama hits the right note in Tucson; State of the Union message preview; Defense budget on the table

October 29, 2010 Issue (PDF)
Mid-term elections shaping up to be a Democrat debacle; What will shifting control of the House to the Republicans bring?

September 27, 2010 Issue (PDF)
Long term affordability the key to future weapons decisions; A Boeing-Northrop Grumman merger in the works? Little hope for export reform in the next two years; Obama continues to allow himself to be defined by the Republicans.

August 26, 2010 Issue (PDF)
The dog days of summer; Gates preempts the budget cutters; It’s the economy, stupid

July 26, 2010 Issue (PDF)
New lows in Presidential approval for Obama; Defense reductions on the horizon

June 24, 2010 Issue (PDF)
Fallout from the Gulf oil spill; A new commander in Afghanistan

May 18, 2010 Issue (PDF)
SecDef fires a broadside at the Navy...what is the real target?; Who is really in charge around here?

March 31, 2010 Issue (PDF)
The Tea Party Movement

February 1, 2010 Issue (PDF)
A stunning upset in Massachusetts; Health care reform on life support; The State of the Union address; The Administration sends its 2011 budget request to Congress

January 14, 2010 Issue (PDF)
Will somebody please connect the dots?; Economic issues come to the fore for 2010; Third party potential for 2012?

December 7, 2009 Issue (PDF)
The President goes to war...with his own party; The Navy ship building plan gets adjusted again; JSF cost issues

November 10, 2009 Issue (PDF)
Off-year elections favor the Republicans; Good economic news not reflected in the unemployment data; OSD completing FY 2011 program instructions for the services; Programmatic survival in a zero-growth environment

October 16, 2009 Issue (PDF)
The Obamas make an Olympic-sized mistake; Health care reform approaches the end-game; The Afghanistan strategy review — healthy debate or dangerous equivocation?

September 23, 2009 Issue (PDF)
Things keep getting in the way of the health care debate; The public is largely not buying what the administration is selling; Health care vs defense in the out years

August 13, 2009 Issue (PDF)
The health care debate: lots of heat but not much light; An additional US$60B to be squeezed out of existing DoD programs; R&D vs procurement: the changing ratio

July 8, 2009 Issue (PDF)
The crises just keep on coming; FY 2010 Defense Appropriation looks like a done deal; The Republicans self-destruct

May 18, 2009 Issue (PDF)
FY-10 and the 09 supplemental submitted; Gates emerges as the most influential defense player in the cabinet; The Speaker vs the CIA

April 15, 2009 Issue (PDF)
SECDEF Gates proposes massive restructuring of the defense portfolio to uniformly negative reviews from the Congress; Will the President join the battle or will he be too distracted?

February 16, 2009 Issue (PDF)
Congress passes a US$782B stimulus package; Team Obama takes the field; FY-11 will be a difficult year

December 9, 2008 Issue (PDF)
We only have one President at a time…who is it?; Obama moves quickly to name his financial and national security teams; Congress takes the first $15B step in nationalizing the US auto industry

November 11, 2008 Issue (PDF)
Obama wins convincingly, but can he set the agenda for the Democrats; Republicans form up the circular firing squad; Defense and Aerospace outlook in a new administration

October 27, 2008 Issue (PDF)
McCain and Obama at the end of the trail; Polls point toward a substantial Obama and Congressional Democrat win; OSD proposes large increases in FY-10 and the FYDP

September 24, 2008 Issue (PDF)
The Palin phenomenon; Continuing Resolution likely; The financial crisis

August 25, 2008 Issue (PDF)
Obama and McCain approach their nominating conventions; Obama chooses a Washington insider for VP; The tanker controversy may derail the Defense Appropriations Bill until the next administration.

June 18, 2008 Issue (PDF)
Clinton finally bows out ... sort of; Gates cleans house in the Air Force; Exchange rate and fuel prices robbing DoD of any FY08 flexibility

May 28, 2008 Issue (PDF)
Clinton and Obama each claim the other can't win; Senate passes defense supplemental with US$28B in non-defense spending

May 12, 2008 Issue (PDF)
Clinton and Obama race goes on and on; Defense supplemental takes shape

April 23, 2008 Issue (PDF)
Democratic primary enters crazy stage; Defense Supplemental goes down familiar path

April 7, 2008 Issue (PDF)
Clinton and Obama approach the end game; Earmarks 101

February 25, 2008 Issue (PDF)
New York Times vs McCain; Clinton and Obama enter the home stretch; Nader joins the race; Service roles and missions review

February 11, 2008 Issue (PDF)
Obama and McCain post impressive victories; Romney joins Edwards on the sidelines; Money becomes critical for Clinton

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