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United States Defense Thread

Discussion in 'Geostrategic Issues' started by ngatimozart, Jan 20, 2018.

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  1. ngatimozart

    ngatimozart Super Moderator Staff Member Verified Defense Pro

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    A catchall thread for general US defence related topics that involve more than one US Service; USN, USMC, US Army and USCG.
     
  2. ngatimozart

    ngatimozart Super Moderator Staff Member Verified Defense Pro

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  3. John Newman

    John Newman Well-Known Member

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    I must say I still scratch my head in working out how the US form of Government actually works.

    On the surface the Republicans have a majority in both houses, but still these things happen?

    I know it's a difference animal here in Oz, but the party with the majority in the lower house (House of Representatives, eg, the Government), usually votes on Party lines, and then if the Government has the majority in the upper house (Senate), they also usually vote on party lines and legislation gets through.

    Or if they don't have the majority in the Senate, then there is the usual horse trading with the minor parties and independents, to get legislation through.

    Again, I still scratch my head!!
     
  4. ngatimozart

    ngatimozart Super Moderator Staff Member Verified Defense Pro

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    Me too. Here we only have the one House so it's nice and simple. It centres around confidence and supply with supply being the govts' ability to pass budgets through the House. If they can't have the Budget passed by the House, then they have lost the confidence of Parliament so the govt has to tender it's resignation to the Governor General. It's then up to the GG whether or not she will ask the main Opposition Leader if they can form a govt, or an election is called. Throughout all of this the wider govt still functions, it pays the public servants, it's bills and still collects taxes etc.
     
  5. Todjaeger

    Todjaeger Potstirrer

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    The US system is configured to be more deliberately adversarial than would typically be found in a parliamentary system, this has to do with the separate branches of government and separation of powers. It is also why there are separate elections for different positions, i.e. in a given even election year a person could vote for a Representative, Senator, and President, and if there are any 'third party' candidates running, each could be affiliated with a different political party.

    The basic idea, and how it has more of less worked historically, is for there to be political opposition between the party controlling portions of the US Legislature and the Executive Branch, forcing the two branches of gov't to work together to come to a sort of middle ground.

    As it stands now, for federal budget to pass, it needs to clear both the House and the Senate. In the Senate specifically, it needs a minimum of 60 (out of 100) votes to pass, and while there have been a small number of Democrats who voted in favour of the Senate budget, there were also roughly the same number of Republicans in the Senate who voted against it. At present it is ~10 votes short of the total needed to pass and clear the Senate. So while yes, the Republicans have a majority in both the House and the Senate, it is a slim majority.
     
  6. John Fedup

    John Fedup Well-Known Member

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    The other consideration is the fractionation of the Republican Party. Certain factions oppose legislation being offered by the main stream and join the democratic opposition albeit their reasons are different for doing so. This isn't new, the democrats had the same problem in the 1960s.
     
  7. John Newman

    John Newman Well-Known Member

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    Hi Tod,

    Thanks for the clarification, (I'll probably have to have a bit of a read up on the US system at sometime too).

    Whilst I understood the Republicans have a majority in both houses, I didn't realise that there was a 60% (60 out of 100) requirement in the US Senate, I would have thought as long as you get to 51% that things could be passed (as it would here in Australia).

    And with members from both sides crossing the floor to the other side, it certainly makes getting that 60 votes very very difficult to say the least.

    I also assume then that crossing the floor to vote with the other side is more normal in the US?

    That doesn't normally happy here, they usually vote along party lines (except for conscience votes of a special nature, such as religious, moral or ethical issues).

    Cheers,
     
  8. ASSAIL

    ASSAIL Defense Professional Verified Defense Pro

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    There used to be parliamentary votes which represented these issues when the parliament reflected the demographics of the Australian society. Unfortunately, and maybe this is true in the US, the Australian parliament has descended into a swamp of political operatives and activists, on both sides, or rampant Union self interest.
    There should be a barrier to prevent young student or political,activists from entering the parliament before they've been employed for a reasonable period in a commercial entity other than public service whatever its stripe. Maybe then moral and ethical issues will be valued and a certain pragmatism returned to the debate.
    My apologies for the rant and although this is political it's not aimed at either side of the political divide as it effect all side equally.
     
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  9. oldsig127

    oldsig127 Active Member

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    It actually depends on the type of bill. Most only require a simple majority (which is to say 51, but if it's 50:50 the Vice President gets a casting vote)

    Mind you, the current President has so enraged some of the Republican Senators that even a simple majority is difficult given that there are 51 Republican and 47 Democrat Senators (and two Independents who usually lean to the Democrats).

    That means that calling McCain a loser and coward for being shot down and wounded then taken PoW was probably a bad move...

    oldsig
     
  10. Todjaeger

    Todjaeger Potstirrer

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    In the US, there are age requirements to run for certain elected positions. To run for President, one must be 35 years old, to run for a seat in the Senate, 30, and to run for House seat, 25. There are of course additional requirements like citizenship, residency.

    As for the current US political climate... I would be happy for it to be a swamp. Right now, it seems more like a festering cesspit following a spectacular case of parasitic dysentery. And yes, I am aware that is an insult to cesspits everywhere.

    The Senate votes on more than just bills, confirmation of various officials being a prime example. Until recently, confirmation votes had to also reach the 60 vote minimum, but there was a parliamentary rule change so that some of the lesser positions, in the Executive Branch, could be confirmed via a simple majority vote. This change occurred because the then-minority party was blocking candidates leaving positions requiring Senate confirmation empty and the apparent reason for qualified candidates getting blocked was a desire to prevent the then-President from filling positions.

    Compare and contrast that situation with the present one, where a simple majority is sufficient to pass a candidate (even for a seat on the US Supreme Court, which had been kept vacant by the Senate majority for a year by refusing to hold a vote for anyone the then-President nominated for the seat...). As it stands now, there are a larger number of vacant posts requiring confirmation and the major holdup has been a lack of candidates being nominated for posts, and of those a number have proven too incompetent or unqualified even for members of the majority to permit through, even though the nominees and the President are of the same party as the majority.

    To me that is a sign that the system has not gone completely to hell, just almost...
     
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  11. John Fedup

    John Fedup Well-Known Member

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    As you say many of the nominees are totally unacceptable even to many Republicans. I guess the other problem is of those qualified, who the hell would want to go through the confirmation process in the present environment?
     
  12. Todjaeger

    Todjaeger Potstirrer

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    Additional comment regarding the process used in the US to pass a federal budget and/or bill.

    In addition to both chambers of Congress needing to agree on a common budget and/or bill which is voted on by both houses, the budget or bill then is sent to the President to be signed into law. OTOH if the President does not like the budget or bill, he has the option to not sign (veto) the budget or bill. As long as there are more then 10 days remaining in the legislative session, the President is required to return an unsigned bill back to Congress, which can then override the veto by having 2/3rds of both chambers voting in favour of the budget or bill.

    If there are less then 10 days remaining, the President can simply hold onto the unsigned bill, which is referred to as a Pocket Veto. As a side note, a normal session of Congress starts on Jan. 3rd and runs for a year.
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2018
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  13. t68

    t68 Well-Known Member

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    what's the point of a presidential veto if congress can outvote the veto? in other words a self licking lollipop.
     
  14. Blackshoe

    Blackshoe Defense Professional Verified Defense Pro

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    2/3rds majority is a very, VERY high bar to get over for substantial and controversial bills (eg the ones that are going to get vetoed). Per Wikipedia, only 4-7% of vetoes have been overridden.
     
  15. Todjaeger

    Todjaeger Potstirrer

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    Indeed, particularly since a veto overrides requires a 2/3rds majority in both chambers. Given the voting demographics (out of ~200 mil. registered voters, ~45 mil. are registered as Democrats, and ~33 mil. as Republicans, so over half are not affiliated with either major party...) while majority control of the House and Senate swing back and forth between the two parties, it is not often that a party has a 2/3rds majority in a chamber. I would need to do some digging to see if a party has ever had such a majority in both chambers, and AFAIK that has never happened in modern history.

    In order for a presidential veto to be overridden by Congress, it would require the agreement of 290 Representatives AND 67 Senators. OTOH all that is required to sustain such a veto would be agreement amongst 146 Representatives, OR 34 Senators, or both.

    As Blackshoe mentioned, it can happen, but the system has been setup in such a way so that it will be very difficult to achieve and therefore a (at present at least) very rare occurrence.
     
  16. John Fedup

    John Fedup Well-Known Member

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  17. barney41

    barney41 Member

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    It seems the PGK-M still relies on GPS with enhanced anti-jam capability plus the added flexibility highlighted below.


    Precision Guidance Kit-Modernization | BAE Systems | International

    Innovative guidance
    The kit combines enhanced Global Positions System (GPS)-based navigation with an innovative, roll-stabilized guidance unit and antenna array. This integrated technology, paired with a proven, variable deflection canard control method, allows for advanced in-flight correction capabilities.

    The PGK-M technology is designed to help warfighters complete every mission accurately:
    • Precision at longer distances keeps soldiers away from threats
    • Improved GPS anti-jam performance
    • Enabled technology compatible for GPS restricted environments (semi-active laser, imagers, pseudolites, datalink, etc.)
     
  18. John Fedup

    John Fedup Well-Known Member

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    I guess there many simultaneous updates occurring at the same time. Hard to keep track!
     
  19. John Fedup

    John Fedup Well-Known Member

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  20. John Fedup

    John Fedup Well-Known Member

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