2 Defense Hawks Announce Their Exits from Congress

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U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), the national security hawk and missile defense proponent who managed last year to delay the Senate’s ratification of the New START nuclear arms reduction treaty with Russia until the White House agreed to spend more to upgrade the nation’s strategic missile arsenal, announced Feb. 10 he will not run for re-election in 2012.

Kyl, who was elected in 1994 and currently serves as the Senate minority whip under Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, said it was “time to do something new.”

”My health is fine, I’m confident I could win re-election, and, while I don’t like some aspects of political life, they have been worth enduring because of the tremendous opportunity I’ve had to represent Arizonans,” Kyl said in a statement. “So, there is no ‘negative’ reason for my decision.”

Kyl was one of 37 Senate Republicans expressing their concerns about the United States signing the European Union’s code of conduct for space activities.

Kyl’s announcement came two days after another defense hawk, Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.), announced that she was resigning from Congress to become the new head of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, a Washington-based think tank, effective Feb. 28.

Harman, whose suburban Los Angeles district hosts several prominent space companies, is a former ranking member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. She is considered an expert on space and intelligence matters, and successfully opposed an effort by the Bush administration to set up an office in the Department of Homeland Security to handle requests to use spy satellite imagery for domestic law enforcement and security purposes.

 

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