McCain criticizes withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan: Sen. John McCain said the complete withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2016 would be a “serious mistake,” Defense News reports. “I think the most serious mistake the U.S. could make … would be to have a calendar-based withdrawal,” McCain (R-Ariz.) said over the weekend at a news conference at NATO headquarters in Kabul. President Obama has said that he plans to withdraw American combat troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2016. McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said doing so would leave “an opening for the Taliban to gain great success in Afghanistan.”
Sticking points on defense policy bill: The Hill outlines four key areas that the Senate and House armed services committees, which are negotiating their respective versions of the 2016 defense policy bill in the coming days, will have to resolve to get a bill to the president’s desk. Four major areas where the two bills differ: the future of the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Pentagon acquisition reform, troop pay raises and benefits, and the Pentagon’s use of Russian-made rocket engines. The chambers hope to get a bill to the president by mid-July.
Nevada Rep. Joe Heck running for Harry Reid’s Senate seat: Joe Heck, the congressman from Nevada and one-star general, announced Monday that he is running for Reid’s Senate seat in 2016, Defense One reports. Heck, a Republican, is an Army Reserve brigadier general and has been called to active duty three times over 20 years, including a 2008 deployment to Iraq. He has been in the House since 2011 and serves on the Armed Services Committee.