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Nov 14, 2014

Hagel reassures troops of U.S. commitment to nuclear arms mission

By David Alexander

MINOT AIR FORCE BASE N.D. (Reuters) – Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told troops responsible for U.S. nuclear bombers and missiles on Friday he was committed to revitalizing their force with millions of dollars in new funding after years of neglect.

Hagel, visiting Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota hours after announcing an overhaul of U.S. nuclear forces, promised additional money to improve their jobs and work conditions, including curbing an excess focus on perfection that helped spark a cheating scandal at a sister base this year.

Nov 13, 2014

Top U.S. general mulls sending advisers with Iraqi ground troops

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The top U.S. general told lawmakers on Thursday he would consider sending American military advisers to accompany Iraqi troops if they advance against Islamic State militants in the difficult terrain near Mosul and the Iraqi border with Syria.

Army General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a congressional hearing that he had not decided if such a recommendation would be necessary.

Nov 12, 2014

Pentagon Number two urges end to U.S. defense cut ‘madness’

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work on Wednesday appealed to lawmakers to “stop the madness” of across-the-board Pentagon spending cuts, saying they threaten U.S. military readiness and technological dominance at a time of rising global challenges.

Work, addressing a think-tank defense conference, said unless Congress gave the Pentagon greater budgetary stability and certainty, it ran the risk of fielding a military that was “increasingly misaligned with the strategic environment.”

Nov 12, 2014

General says U.S. troops on Liberia Ebola mission to top out at 3,000

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. military force being sent to Liberia to build treatment facilities to combat the Ebola health crisis is expected to top out at about 3,000 troops in December, 1,000 less than initially approved, the U.S. general leading the effort said on Wednesday.

Army Major General Gary Volesky told a Pentagon telephone briefing fewer U.S. troops were needed than initially expected because the military had discovered greater local capacity for building treatment centers in Liberia than it initially expected.

Nov 6, 2014

U.S. Army to deactivate long-serving ‘Iron Brigade’ in South Korea

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – An Army combat brigade that has anchored the U.S. military presence in South Korea for nearly 50 years will be deactivated and replaced with a rotational unit as the service shrinks in size due to budget cuts, defense officials said on Thursday.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel approved deactivation of the 2nd Infantry Division’s 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team effective next summer, officials said. The unit, the so-called “Iron Brigade,” has been permanently stationed in South Korea since 1965, staffed by individual soldiers sent to serve a year.

Nov 6, 2014

Israel tried to limit civilian casualties in Gaza: U.S. military chief

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The highest-ranking U.S. military officer said on Thursday that Israel went to “extraordinary lengths” to limit civilian casualties in the recent war in Gaza and that the Pentagon had sent a team to see what lessons could be learned from the operation.

Army General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, acknowledged recent reports criticizing civilian deaths during the 50-day Gaza war this year but told an audience in New York he thought the Israel Defense Forces “did what they could” to avoid civilian casualties.

Nov 5, 2014

Afghan casualties on battlefield at unsustainably high level: U.S. general

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – More than 4,600 Afghan troops have been killed in the war against the Taliban this year, a 6.5 percent jump over last year and an unsustainably high figure that underscores the need for better medical evacuation, a top U.S. general said on Wednesday.

Lieutenant General Joseph Anderson, a top commander of coalition forces in Afghanistan, said 4,634 Afghan security personnel were killed in action this year, compared with 4,350 in 2013, despite a 25 percent dip in Taliban attacks from 24,000 to 18,000 over the same period.

Nov 5, 2014

McCain could shake up U.S. defense in powerful new Senate role

WASHINGTON, Nov 5 (Reuters) – Senator John McCain’s voice
just got a whole lot louder.

One of President Barack Obama’s noisiest detractors, McCain
is expected to take the helm of the powerful Armed Services
Committee in the new Republican-controlled U.S. Senate when the
U.S. Congress convenes in January.

Oct 30, 2014

U.S. military says advisers needed in embattled Iraq province

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States needs to expand a limited advise-and-assist mission in Iraq into embattled Anbar province, where some Iraqi forces are isolated and in defensive positions against Islamic State, the top U.S. military officer said on Thursday.

But General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the U.S. military’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Iraq’s government must be ready to arm Sunni tribes as a precondition for getting outside advisers into the western Iraqi province.

Oct 29, 2014

Quarantine-like monitoring set for U.S. troops on Ebola mission

WASHINGTON, Oct 29 (Reuters) – Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel
on Wednesday approved 21 days of strict, quarantine-like
monitoring for U.S. military personnel returning from Ebola
relief efforts in West Africa, but the Pentagon was still
finalizing details on who exactly would be affected.

Hagel, acting at the recommendation of top military
commanders, agreed to tougher monitoring for military personnel
than recommended by U.S. government health authorities, saying
the issue had been discussed with military families and
communities who “very much wanted a safety valve on this.”

    • 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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