In Afghanistan, UAVs Capable of Limiting IED Threat
The single greatest threat facing U.S. and coalition troops in Afghanistan is Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), also known as roadside bombs. These weapons are detonated remotely and designed to target military personnel traveling in vehicles or patrolling dangerous areas.
Roadside bombs remain the most widely used weapon by Taliban fighters, contributing to nearly 75 percent of all coalition casualties. What's needed is a coordinated counter-IED strategy, similar to what was initiated in Iraq when roadside bomb attacks constituted the primary source of combat injuries and fatalities -- now the case in Afghanistan. A campaign was initiated to take back Iraqi roadways, under the banner of Operation ODIN. Right away, the IED threat was contained and markedly reduced, allowing our military to facilitate important military and political advancements.
The central component of this strategy was unmanned aerial surveillance vehicles (UAVs), several of which are manufactured locally in San Diego. These assets, utilizing cameras and other technology, were successful in targeting insurgents as IEDs were emplaced.
The lessons learned in Iraq, with respect to our counter-IED experience, have yet to be incorporated in Afghanistan. Of course, Afghanistan is different than Iraq, presenting a unique set of challenges in some areas, but we know what works when it comes to alleviating the IED threat. We must now incorporate those experiences and deploy the necessary assets -- UAVs in particular -- to provide our troops added protection and leverage available resources.
With General David Petraeus now in command, I am hopeful that we will begin taking steps to implement a counter-IED strategy that is sufficiently supported by the necessary infrastructure and personnel. A recent story in the San Diego Union Tribune highlights this issue in greater detail, including my efforts to better counter the roadside bomb threat. Click here to read.
Hunter Legislation Provides Reasonable Exemption, Says NC Times
You might have seen an article in last week's North County Times on legislation that I introduced to close a loophole that prohibits military families from sending tobacco products to troops in warzones. In an editorial the following day, the North County Times called the legislation "valid and reasonable."
My legislation in no way promotes the sale or manufacturing of tobacco products. It simply allows families to send products, without weight restrictions, to service personnel in designated combat zones.
Click to read the North County Times story and editorial.
Reform Government, Cut Spending Now
Whenever I talk to San Diegans, few issues generate the same level of interest and concern as federal spending and the growing influence of government. Today's fiscal situation and projected outlook is attributable to successive Administrations and majorities in Congress, but that's absolutely no reason to continue the status quo. Our efforts must now focus on reducing the national debt, perhaps the biggest challenge we face, and exercising fiscal responsibility at every opportunity.
A recent commentary of mine, which I hope you will take time to read here, reiterates the importance of responsible budgeting and limiting the influence of government. The commentary also underscores the significance of new online forums launched by House Republicans -- YouCut and America Speaking Out -- that are helping to put Americans at the forefront of the national debate.
Sanctuary City Prevention Act Introduced
By now, most of you are aware that a federal judge ruled on the Arizona immigration law, upholding certain parts of the law, while ruling in favor of the government's position that enforcement is strictly a federal responsibility. This ruling is only the first phase in what will likely be a lengthy legal process, perhaps ending with a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court.
In the meantime, regardless of what happens with the Arizona case, the federal government remains obligated to put security first, which it can do by making border security a priority and enforcing the immigration laws already in place. What I find most ironic is that the basis of the Administration's lawsuit against Arizona is that immigration enforcement is a federal duty, but it refuses to do anything about the sanctuary cities that refuse to comply with the law.
That is why I introduced the Sanctuary City Prevention Act, legislation that denies the Department of Justice funding to legally challenge any aspect of the Arizona law until it sets forth a plan to take action against sanctuary cities. The legislation follows reports that the Department of Justice is unwilling to force sanctuary cities into compliance, despite filing a lawsuit against Arizona.
I believe Arizona is well within its rights to protect its citizens. Nonetheless, if the Administration believes that Arizona is contributing to a patchwork of laws that will ultimately impede enforcement, then it needs to be consistent and address the multitude of challenges created by sanctuary cities -- something it can already do under existing authority.