David's Feed
Jan 29, 2015

U.S. military pay reforms could save $12 billion yearly -panel

WASHINGTON, Jan 29 (Reuters) – A congressionally appointed
panel on U.S. military compensation recommended overhauling
retirement and healthcare benefits on Thursday to improve
services offered to troops and families while cutting costs by
up to $12.6 billion annually.

The nine-member panel, including former military leaders and
lawmakers, recommended the Pentagon broaden its retirement
benefits to provide 401(K)-style savings plans for most service
members while retaining a slimmed-down version of its current
20-year retirement plan.

Jan 23, 2015

First U.S. troops head to Middle East to train Syrian opposition

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has ordered the first group of about 100 U.S. troops to head to the Middle East in the next few days to establish training sites for Syrian opposition fighters battling Islamic State militants, the Pentagon said on Friday.

Admiral John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary, said the troops, mostly special operations forces, were authorized last week and would begin arriving in countries outside Syria in the coming days, with a subsequent wave of several hundred military trainers following in the weeks thereafter.

Jan 16, 2015

Air Force moves to ease stress on overworked U.S. drone pilots

WASHINGTON, Jan 15 (Reuters) – The U.S. military’s
insatiable demand for intelligence collected by drone aircraft
is putting a huge stress on operators who fly them 14 hours a
day, Air Force officials said on Thursday as they unveiled bonus
pay and other steps to tackle the issue.

Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James said aviators who
remotely fly Predators, Reapers and other drones have been
putting in 900 to 1,100 flight hours a year, three or four times
the number flown by traditional military pilots.

Jan 13, 2015

Apparent Islamic State backers hack U.S. military Twitter feed

By David Alexander and Jim Finkle

(Reuters) – The Twitter and YouTube accounts for the U.S. military command that oversees operations in the Middle East were hacked on Monday by people claiming to be sympathetic toward the Islamic State militant group being targeted in American bombing raids.

“American soldiers, we are coming, watch your back, ISIS,” the hackers posted on the U.S. Central Command Twitter feed, using an acronym for the hardline Islamist group, which has taken control of parts of Syria and Iraq.

Jan 12, 2015

U.S. military Twitter feed hacked, apparently by IS sympathizers

By David Alexander and Jim Finkle

(Reuters) – The Twitter and YouTube accounts for the U.S. military command that oversees operations in the Middle East were hacked on Monday by people claiming to be sympathetic toward the Islamic State militant group being targeted in American bombing raids.

U.S. officials acknowledged that the incident was embarrassing but sought to downplay its importance. Pentagon spokesman Army Colonel Steve Warren said the Defense Department “views this as little more than a prank, or as vandalism.”

Jan 9, 2015

Agent Orange endangered U.S. Air Force workers after Vietnam -panel

WASHINGTON, Jan 9 (Reuters) – U.S. Air Force reservists who
did maintenance on C-123 aircraft used during the Vietnam war to
spray the defoliant Agent Orange could have been exposed to
harmful levels of dioxin even long after the conflict, the
health arm of the National Academy of Sciences said on Friday.

A panel from the Institute of Medicine acknowledged the poor
quality of sampling data available from the planes used in
Operation Ranch Hand in Vietnam, but concluded that Air Force
reservists who maintained the contaminated planes long after the
conflict could have increased risk of health problems.

Jan 8, 2015

U.S. forces ‘building pressure’ on Islamic State: military chief

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. efforts against Islamic State militants in Iraq are “a drumbeat, a steady building pressure” on several fronts that will ultimately enable Iraqi forces to launch a counteroffensive at a time of their choosing, the top U.S. military officer said on Thursday.

General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said U.S. forces were not sitting idly in the key Iraqi cities of Baghdad or Arbil waiting until spring to launch an offensive but were actively working to weaken Islamic State in several areas.

Jan 8, 2015

U.S. to cut European military bases as budgets shrink

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Facing tight budgets and a shrinking military, the United States said on Thursday it was ending operations at an air base in Britain and handing it and 14 other sites in Europe back to their home governments.

In the biggest move, the Pentagon said it would leave RAF Mildenhall northeast of London, home to tanker, reconnaissance and special operations aircraft, and withdraw 3,200 military personnel and their families.

Jan 8, 2015

Facing shrinking budgets, Pentagon moves to cut European bases

WASHINGTON, Jan 8 (Reuters) – Facing tight budgets and a
shrinking military, the Pentagon said on Thursday it was ending
operations at an air base in Britain and handing it and 14 other
sites in Europe back to their home governments in a move
projected to save $500 million annually.

The Pentagon said it would divest RAF Mildenhall northeast
of London, home to tanker, reconnaissance and special operations
aircraft, and withdraw 3,200 military personnel and their
families over the next several years.

Jan 7, 2015

U.S.-led air strikes have hit 3,222 Islamic State targets: Pentagon

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S.-led air strikes against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria have damaged or destroyed 3,222 targets since August, including 58 tanks, 184 Humvees, 673 fighting positions and 980 buildings or barracks, the Pentagon said on Wednesday.

Army Colonel Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman, said he wasn’t sure how many targets had been damaged versus destroyed, “but I’m confident that the destruction level is high. Our strikes are extraordinarily accurate.”

    • About David

      "David has been a journalist for 30 years, based in Washington, London, New Delhi, Jerusalem and Philadelphia. He covered the first Gulf war, the Palestinian intifada and the conflict in Kashmir. Since 1998 he has been an editor and reporter in Washington, covering politics, the White House and other stories."
    • More from David

    • Follow David