Rex Tillerson Out, Pompeo In as Secretary of State
CIA replacement would be first woman to head agency if confirmed

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson testifies before a Senate Appropriations subcommittee on the fiscal 2018 budget request for the State Department on June 13, 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump has fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and replaced him with CIA Director Mike Pompeo. Gina Haspel, deputy CIA director and a career CIA employee, is Trump’s pick for CIA director.

“He will do a fantastic job!” Trump tweeted of Pompeo. “Thank you to Rex Tillerson for his service! Gina Haspel will become the new Director of the CIA, and the first woman so chosen. Congratulations to all!”

Erik Prince to Hold Fundraiser for Rohrabacher
Comes as Trump associate faces scrutiny in Russia investigation

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., will have a fundraiser with Blackwater founder Erik Prince. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Blackwater founder Erik Prince will host a fundraiser for California Rep. Dana Rohrabacher as the Republican faces a tough re-election.

The fundraiser will take place at Prince’s home in Middleburg, Virginia, according to CNN. Prince, a former Navy SEAL who is Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ brother, interned in Rohrabacher’s Capitol Hill office in 1990.

Mast Says He Wants to Talk Assault Weapons Ban With Trump
Announced support for a ban last week in an op-ed

Rep. Brian Mast, R-Fla., leaves the House Republican Conference meeting in the Capitol on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Republican Rep. Brian Mast said he hopes to discuss a ban on assault weapons with President Donald Trump

Mast, an Army veteran who lost both of his legs and a finger in Afghanistan, wrote an op-ed for The New York Times last week saying he supported an assault weapons ban.

Hurd Staffer Joins NFL Stars to Bring Water to Eastern Africa
Director of constituent services Jon Arnold lost his leg in Iraq 10 years ago

Jon Arnold, a University of Texas alum, works for Rep. Will Hurd of Texas. (Courtesy of Rep. Will Hurd’s office)

Army veteran Jon Arnold has had a remarkable life of public service, and he’s not even close to stopping.

Arnold, director of constituent services for Texas Rep. Will Hurd, is taking time off for a 10-day trip to Tanzania with Waterboys, a charity started by Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Chris Long. The initiative pairs disabled veterans and NFL players to raise awareness and funds for sustainable water wells in Eastern Africa.

Opinion: Meet the Deficit Doves
Deficit hawks soar like a rock

Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., once could be counted among the GOP’s deficit hawks. Has he become a different kind of bird? (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Do you remember the deficit hawks of the last decade, that breed of budget cutter so single-minded and focused on reducing, rather than growing, government debts and deficits that you knew what they were going to say before they said it?

Military spending needed a pay-for. Medicare Part D? Too expensive. For every legislative idea their congressional colleagues cooked up to solve a problem, the deficit hawks rightly pointed out that spending money the country doesn’t have is itself a problem, especially without a plan to reduce spending in the out years.

Budget Proposal Funds Latest Pentagon Strategy
‘Long-term strategic competitions with China and Russia are the principal priorities for the Department’

Aerial view of the Pentagon building photographed on Sept. 24, 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Trump administration is seeking to give the Defense Department as much money as Congress can appropriate for fiscal year 2019 to fund the Pentagon’s newest strategy and to fulfill President Donald Trump’s repeated promise to rebuild the military.

The Pentagon request released Monday claims to align with the Pentagon’s recently released National Defense Strategy, which elevates the possibility of great power conflict with Russia and China as the country’s greatest security concern, eclipsing terrorism.

Active-Duty Candidates Can Run — But Can They Campaign?
Even Matt Reel’s staff doesn’t know where he’s deployed

Matt Reel is running for Congress. But he’s also on active duty. (Screen Shot/Matt Reel for Congress/YouTube)

Matt Reel is running for Congress. But he can’t campaign until June — two months before Tennessee’s August primary.

Even if his staff knew where he is — which they don’t — and even if he had time while overseas, Reel can’t legally communicate with them about campaign strategy for his 7th District race while he’s on active duty.

Democrats Rain on Trump’s Military Parade
Army veteran Walz: ‘Stupidest thing I’ve ever heard’

Rep. Tim Walz, D-Minn., said the idea of a military parade is “the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democratic members of Congress criticized reports that President Donald Trump had directed the military to plan for a parade in Washington, D.C. 

Trump reportedly told the Pentagon he wanted a parade similar to the one in France he witnessed on Bastille Day. 

First-Term Presidents and State of the Union Big Asks
One year in, what presidents ask for when their party controls Congress

President Donald Trump will outline his priorities to a Congress controlled by his fellow Republicans during his State of the Union address on Tuesday. That’s a fairly rare thing for presidents. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

U.S. presidents rarely get the luxury of starting their terms with their own political party in charge of Congress, something that enables both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue to think big.

For those who do, it’s not rare to hear them ask for big things in the State of the Union address ahead of their first congressional midterms. Nor is it rare for them to have such big thoughts crash to earth in November, when the president’s party usually takes a beating. 

The Army’s Ryan McCarthy Pulls the Plug on Bad Acquisitions
“We’re not informed enough,” undersecretary says

Ryan McCarthy, the Army’s undersecretary since August, says his motto is “fail early, fail cheap.” (Courtesy Under Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy/Facebook)

There’s something different about the Army these days. In a word, it is humility.

The service does not have a flagship new weapon in the works, only minor modifications to existing systems. Its recent efforts to develop costly hardware have flopped. Its acquisition budget, relative to the Air Force and Navy, is expected to decline in the next decade. U.S. soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan now number in the thousands, not the scores of thousands.