Niger

Expert Voices

Back in majority, House Democrats will shape national security agenda

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi speaks at a press conference at the U.S. Capitol
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi speaks at a press conference at the U.S. Capitol on July 23, 2018, with Adam Schiff and Eliot Engel. Photo: Win McNamee via Getty Images

Congressional Democrats are going to have a prime seat at the national security table for the first time in eight years. Poised to take control of critical House committees are Eliot Engel (Foreign Affairs), Adam Smith (Armed Services), Nita Lowey (Appropriations) and Adam Schiff (Intelligence).

What to watch: House Democrats will likely focus on defining policy differences with President Trump — on climate change, nuclear nonproliferation, international alliances and human rights. How they advance this agenda will have a decisive impact on whether Democrats can turn national security into a winning issue ahead of the 2020 elections.

Pentagon's Niger ambush investigation finds "institutional failures"

General speaks on Niger ambush.
U.S. Africa Com. Commander General Thomas Waidhauser and Chief of Staff Major General Roger Cloutier Jr. speak at the Pentagon. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

"Institutional failures" and improper training, among other factors, led to the deadly ambush of U.S. soldiers in Niger last October, the Defense Department concluded in its eight-page report, released Thursday.

The details: The report, which summarizes interviews of 143 witnesses, including survivors of the attack, found that "no single failure or deficiency was the sole reason" for the deaths of the four fallen soldiers. The summary adds that the soldiers "were never captured alive by the enemy."