from Politics, Power, and Preventive Action and Center for Preventive Action

You Might Have Missed: ISIS, Defense Contractors, and Yemen

January 23, 2015

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Blog posts represent the views of CFR fellows and staff and not those of CFR, which takes no institutional positions.

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Tim Starks, “Congress on Yemen,” Roll Call, January 22, 2015.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC):  ISIL is a bigger threat to us than anything I can think of right now.

(3PA: The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS or ISIL) has killed 3 Americans, while non-communicable diseases killed 2,337,280 Americans in 2013. For a list of much bigger threats than ISIS, see here.)

Hearing on Global Challenges and U.S. National Security Strategy, Senate Armed Services Committee, January 21, 2015.

MR. SCOWCROFT: I think we should not be more involved in the ISIS exercise. I believe that this is a case where the region is being threatened. And the powers of the region are being threatened. The states of the region are being threatened. And we ought to encourage and help them to respond, but not respond for them. And that’s a difficult line. But I think it’s an important one because the Middle East does belong to the Middle East countries. And we ought to encourage them to behave responsibly…

SEN. MCCAIN: I might make mention that the head of MI5 recently gave a speech a week ago saying that he believed that ISIS is planning an attack on the United States of America. I don’t disagree with him.

(3PA: As recent as January 12, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson stated, “We have no specific, credible intelligence of an attack of the kind in Paris last week being planned by terrorist organizations in this country.” Why would McCain trust the assessment of the head of domestic intelligence in Britain, but not that of the head of homeland security?)

Air strikes killed 6,000 ISIS fighters: U.S. Ambassador,” Al-Arabiya, January 22, 2014.

“We estimate that the airstrikes have now killed more than 6,000 ISIS fighters in Syria and Iraq,” [Ambassador to Iraq Stuart Jones] said.

(3PA: When Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel was asked about this estimate, he astutely responded, “I don’t think it is the measurement. I mean, I was in a war where there was a lot of body counts every day. And we lost that war.”)

Lisa Ferdinando, “Chairman: Terrorism, Russian Aggression Threaten European Security,” Army News Service, January 19, 2015.

The threat from Islamic terrorists will not get any easier, [Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey] said. “I think this threat is probably a 30-year issue.”

(3PA: If Dempsey’s estimate is correct, it would mean the war against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria will be even longer than the Cold War—1947-1989 vs. 1998-2045.)

Defense Headquarters: DOD Needs to Reassess Personnel Requirements for the Office of Secretary of Defense, Joint Staff, and Military Service Secretariats,” U.S. Government Accountability Office, January 2015.

OSD estimated that there were about 3,287 contractor full-time equivalents throughout the organization, which represents about 55 percent of OSD’s total workforce in fiscal year 2013…

Jeremy M. Sharp, “Yemen: Background and U.S. Relations,” Congressional Research Service, January 21, 2015, p. 29.

Yemen Stats

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