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Event Summary
In addition to the $487 billion of proposed defense cuts contained in President Obama’s fiscal year 2013 budget, on January 2, 2013, $492 billion of defense cuts will go into effect. Sequestration and its consequences therefore hang like a shadow over America’s military and defense industrial base.

At a Defending Defense event on Wednesday, Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) urged the U.S. Congress to stop delaying finding a solution to sequestration. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) then called on presidential leadership to reverse these damaging defense cuts. House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) felt that Congress should be ashamed if it does not pass a deal to avoid sequestration, arguing that if a final deal is not reached before the November presidential elections, the prospects for resolution will become increasingly slim during the “lame duck” period.

The lawmakers agreed that delay is no longer an option. Sequestration’s effects have already arrived, and Congress has a very limited window of opportunity before these cuts fundamentally alter America’s role in the world.

–Charles Morrison

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Event Description
Sequestration is casting a dark shadow over the future of U.S. national security and the industrial base that provides for it. At this event, the Defending Defense Coalition will host Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), Senator Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) and Congressman Howard “Buck” McKeon (R-Calif.) to discuss the dangers of deeper defense cuts on America’s military readiness and defense industry should Congress and the president not act to alter the course of sequestration. The Defending Defense Coalition brings together the Foreign Policy Initiative, AEI and the Heritage Foundation to promote a sound understanding of the U.S. defense budget and the resource requirements to sustain America’s preeminent global military position.


2:15 PM

2:30 PM
Jamie M. Fly, Foreign Policy Initiative

Kelly Ayotte, U.S. Senate (R-N.H.)
J. Randy Forbes, U.S. House of Representatives (R-Va.)
Lindsey Graham, U.S. Senate (R-S.C.)
Jon Kyl, U.S. Senate (R-Ariz.)
Howard “Buck” McKeon, U.S. Congress (R-Calif.)

Danielle Pletka, AEI

4:25 PM
Concluding Remarks
James Carafano, Heritage Foundation

4:30 PM

Event Contact Information

For more information, please contact Charles Morrison at [email protected], 202.862.5945.

Media Contact Information

For media inquiries, please contact Véronique Rodman at [email protected], 202.862.4871.

Speaker Biographies

Senator Kelly Ayotte was elected to the U.S. Senate by the people of New Hampshire in 2010 and serves on the Senate Armed Services, Budget, Commerce, and Small Business Committees. She is the ranking member on the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness and Management Support. Before her election, she was appointed by Governor Craig Benson as the first woman to serve as New Hampshire’s attorney general. Before that, she was a prosecutor and then deputy attorney general for the Office of the New Hampshire Attorney General. From 1994 to 1998, she was an associate at the Manchester law firm of McLane, Graf, Raulerson & Middleton.

James Carafano, one of the nation’s leading experts in defense and homeland security, directs the Heritage Foundation’s Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies and is deputy director of the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for International Studies. Carafano is a weekly columnist on national security affairs for the Washington Examiner and his op-ed columns and commentary are published widely. His most recent publication is “Private Sector/Public Wars: Contracting in Combat-Iraq, Afghanistan and Future Conflicts” (Praeger, 2008). A 25-year veteran of the Army, Carafano rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel. His assignments included head speechwriter for the U.S. Army chief of staff, the service’s highest-ranking officer. Before retiring, Carafano was executive editor of Joint Force Quarterly, the U.S. Department of Defense’s premiere professional military journal. He is a visiting professor at the National Defense University and at Georgetown University. He previously served as an assistant professor at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point and as director of military studies at the Army’s Center of Military History. He taught at Mount Saint Mary College in New York and was a fleet professor at the U.S. Naval War College.

Jamie M. Fly is the executive director of the Foreign Policy Initiative (FPI). Before joining FPI, Fly served in the George W. Bush administration at the National Security Council (2008–2009) and in the Office of the Secretary of Defense (2005–2008). He was director for counterproliferation strategy at the National Security Council, where his portfolio included the Iranian nuclear program, Syria, missile defense, chemical weapons, proliferation finance and other counterproliferation issues.  In the Office of the Secretary of Defense, he was an assistant for transnational threats policy. For his work in the U.S. Department of Defense, he was awarded the Office of the Secretary of Defense Medal for Exceptional Public Service. He blogs regularly at The Weekly Standard blog and Foreign Policy’s Shadow Government blog, and his articles and reviews have been published in Commentary, National Review, POLITICO, The Weekly Standard,,, and National Review Online. He is a member of the International Institute for Strategic Studies and a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Congressman J. Randy Forbes has represented the Virginia’s 4th Congressional District since 2001. He serves on the House Judiciary Committee and is chairman of the House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee. As founder and chairman of the Congressional China Caucus, Congressman Forbes has introduced legislation to combat Chinese espionage and is frequently tapped as a national commentator on Sino-American relations. He began his career in private law practice helping small and medium-sized businesses and ultimately became a partner in the largest law firm in southeastern Virginia. From 1989 to 2001, he served Virginia in the General Assembly. Congressman Forbes served for seven years as a member of the House of Delegates and was elected to the Virginia State Senate in 1997. One year later, he became the Senate Floor leader. He served in the State Senate for three and a half years until his election to the U.S. House of Representatives.

Senator Lindsey Graham was elected to serve people of South Carolina in 2002. He is a member of the Senate Appropriations, Armed Services, Budget, and Judiciary Committees. On the Senate Appropriations Committee, Graham is the ranking member of the State and Foreign Operations Subcommittee; on the Senate Armed Services Committee, he is the ranking member of the Subcommittee on Personnel. He was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 to 2002. Before his service in the House, Sen. Graham compiled a distinguished record in the U.S. Air Force as he logged six and a half years of service on active duty as an Air Force lawyer. From 1984 to 1988, he was assigned overseas at Rhein-Main Air Force Base in Germany. Upon leaving active duty Air Force in 1989, Sen. Graham joined the South Carolina Air National Guard where he served until 1995. He currently serves his country as a colonel in the U.S. Air Force Reserves.

Senator Jon Kyl is currently serving his third term in the U.S. Senate after having completed four terms representing Arizona’s 4th District in the U.S. House of Representatives. He was elected unanimously by his colleagues in 2008 to serve as Republican whip, the second highest position in Senate Republican leadership. Sen. Kyl serves on the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Senate Finance Committee. Before his public service, Sen. Kyl practiced law at Jennings, Strouss & Salmon in Phoenix. In 1985, he served as chairman of the Phoenix Chamber of Commerce.

Congressman Howard “Buck” McKeon represents the 25th District of California in the U.S. House of Representatives. In June 2009, Congressman McKeon was named the ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) and serves as the committee’s chairman in the 112th Congress. Before serving as the lead Republican on HASC, McKeon was the top Republican on the Education & the Workforce Committee for almost three years. Before these positions, he was a small business owner and served on the William S. Hart Union High School District Board of Trustees and ultimately served as the first mayor of the city of Santa Clarita.

Danielle Pletka is the vice president for foreign and defense policy studies at AEI. Before joining AEI, she served for 10 years as a senior professional staff member for the Near East and South Asia on the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. Pletka writes regularly on the Middle East and South Asia, U.S. national security, terrorism and weapons proliferation for a range of American newspapers and magazines. Her writings and interviews have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, CBS News, the Los Angeles Times and POLITICO, among others. She has testified before the U.S. Congress on the Iranian threat and other terrorist activities in the Middle East. Pletka is the co-editor of “Dissent and Reform in the Arab World: Empowering Democrats” (AEI Press, 2008) and the co-author of “Containing and Deterring a Nuclear Iran” (AEI Press, 2011). Her most recent study, “Iranian influence in the Levant, Egypt, Iraq, and Afghanistan,” was published in May 2012. She is currently working on a follow-up report on U.S.–Iranian competitive strategies in the Middle East, to be published in the fall of 2012.

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