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Feb 7, 2014

Hagel praises U.S. Marines’ progress on readying accounts for audit

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel recognized the Marine Corps on Thursday for achieving a clean audit on a slice of its 2012 budget but acknowledged the Pentagon was “not where we need to be” as it works to reach full audit readiness by 2017.

The Marine Corps in December became the first military service to receive a clean audit, which was for the 2012 schedule of current-year budgetary activity. The schedule represents about 88 percent of the accounting needed for full audit readiness, a Pentagon spokesman said.

Feb 6, 2014

Cuts in U.S. defense spending force hard strategic choices

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Big budget cuts over the next decade will force the Pentagon to make painful cuts to personnel and readiness and could make it hard to execute a global security strategy, defense analysts predicted on Wednesday.

Teams of analysts from four think tanks, who unveiled the results of a defense budget-cutting exercise at a Capitol Hill briefing, all found themselves slashing large numbers of civilian and uniformed personnel, along with ships and fighter jets, to help meet tough budget targets facing the Pentagon.

Jan 31, 2014

U.S. government names Navy man to head beleaguered NSA

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama nominated on Thursday the U.S. Navy’s top cyber warrior to head the National Security Agency, a move seen as a vote of confidence in a unit that is under fire for spying on Americans and their allies.

Navy Vice Admiral Michael Rogers, a cryptologist and head of U.S. Fleet Cyber Command, is not expected to immediately make major changes to the NSA, shaken by revelations by former contractor Edward Snowden.

Jan 30, 2014

Half of U.S. nuclear missile wing implicated in cheating

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Just over half of the 183 nuclear missile launch officers at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana have been implicated in a widening exam cheating scandal, the Air Force said on Thursday, acknowledging it had “systemic” problem within its ranks.

The cheating was discovered during an investigation into illegal drug possession among airmen, when test answers were found in a text message on one missile launch officer’s cell phone. The Air Force initially said 34 officers either knew about the cheating or cheated themselves.

Jan 28, 2014

China challenging U.S. military technological edge: Pentagon official

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. military’s technological superiority is increasingly challenged by China, and efforts to maintain an edge are complicated by shrinking defense budgets that have cut money for development, the Pentagon’s top weapons buyer said on Tuesday.

Frank Kendall, the deputy undersecretary of defense for acquisition and technology, told lawmakers the U.S. military’s technological superiority is being “challenged in ways that I have not seen for decades, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region,” where China is pursuing a rapid modernization program.

Jan 24, 2014

Hagel ‘deeply concerned’ about health of U.S. nuclear forces

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said on Friday he was “deeply concerned,” over the health of U.S. nuclear forces after the drug and cheating scandals this month, and that some nuclear officers felt their mission was taken for granted during 13 years of war in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Hagel, who ordered a high-level review of nuclear forces on Thursday, told a news conference that the problems affecting missile launch officers were caused by a range of factors.

Jan 23, 2014

Pentagon chief orders nuclear forces review amid probe of drugs, cheating

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel ordered a high-level review of the state of American nuclear forces on Thursday, days after missile launch officers were caught in a drug investigation and dozens were accused of cheating on their certification exams.

Hagel will convene a meeting in the next two weeks of officials responsible for U.S. nuclear weapons to examine the leadership and culture of the force, said Rear Admiral John Kirby, a Pentagon spokesman.

Jan 23, 2014

US military sees risks in China-Japan tensions, seeks restraint

WASHINGTON, Jan 23 (Reuters) – The top U.S. military
commander in the Asia-Pacific region acknowledged his concerns
on Thursday over entrenched tensions between Japan and China, a
day after Japan’s prime minister evoked comparisons to Britain
and Germany before World War One.

Admiral Samuel Locklear, the head of the U.S. military’s
Pacific Command, said the role of the United States was to keep
encouraging restraint, professionalism and “hope there will be
diplomatic dialogue and a solution to this”.

Jan 23, 2014
via FaithWorld

U.S. military giving troops more leeway for religious clothing and beards

Photo

(Indian Sikh soldiers listens to their commander in Nowgam sector, 100 kms (62 miles)
north of Srinagar, September 1, 2003. REUTERS/Fayaz Kabli)

The Pentagon took steps on Wednesday to give individual troops greater latitude to wear turbans, head scarfs, yarmulkes and other religious clothing with their uniforms, but advocacy groups said the new policy fell short of what they were seeking.

Jan 17, 2014

U.S. budget watchdog eyes steps to control military health costs

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The most effective way to control the rising expense of the military healthcare system is to boost cost-sharing among retirees, the Congressional Budget Office said on Thursday, endorsing an unpopular step Congress has repeatedly rejected.

The non-partisan CBO said the Defense Department spent some $52 billion in 2012 for its TRICARE healthcare program, which covers about 1.8 million troops and their 2.6 million family members, plus 5.2 million military retirees and their families.

    • 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."
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