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Nov 28, 2013

U.S. Navy suspends business with second maritime services firm

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Navy said on Wednesday it has suspended a maritime services company from doing business with the U.S. government due to questionable conduct, the second firm barred in a widening corruption probe that has resulted in action against seven Navy officials.

The Navy suspended British-based Inchcape Shipping Services Holding Ltd. and its affiliated companies from contracting with the U.S. government on November 26, Rear Admiral John Kirby, a Navy spokesman, said in a statement.

Nov 27, 2013

U.S. affirms support for Japan in island dispute with China

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States pledged support for ally Japan on Wednesday in a growing dispute with China over islands in the East China Sea as senior U.S. administration officials said China’s claim to air space over the islands had unsettled its neighbors.

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told his Japanese counterpart in a phone call that the two nations’ defense treaty covers the small island group where China established a new airspace defense zone last week and “commended the Japanese government for exercising appropriate restraint,” a Pentagon spokesman said.

Nov 26, 2013

Defying China, U.S. bombers fly into East China Sea zone

WASHINGTON, Nov 26 (Reuters) – Two unarmed U.S. B-52 bombers
on a training mission flew over disputed islands in the East
China Sea without informing Beijing, Pentagon officials said on
Tuesday, defying China’s declaration of a new airspace defense
zone in the region.

The Pentagon said the flight on Monday night did not prompt
a response from China, and the White House urged Beijing to
resolve its dispute with Japan over the islands diplomatically,
without resorting to “threats or inflammatory language.”

Nov 26, 2013

Defying China, U.S. aircraft fly over East China Sea without notification

WASHINGTON, Nov 26 (Reuters) – Two U.S. military aircraft
have flown around disputed islands in the East China Sea without
informing China, the Pentagon said on Tuesday, defying China’s
declaration that the region falls into a new airspace defense
zone.

“We have conducted operations in the area of the Senkakus.
We have continued to follow our normal procedures, which include
not filing flight plans, not radioing ahead and not registering
our frequencies,” spokesman Colonel Steve Warren said, using the
Japanese name for the islands.

Nov 21, 2013

Another U.S. Navy officer suspended in widening corruption probe

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Navy said on Thursday it has suspended the deputy commander of a unit responsible for port and harbor security as a result of allegations in the widening corruption probe involving a Singapore-based defense contractor.

Captain David Haas was suspended as deputy commander of Coastal Riverine Group 1 in San Diego, which is responsible for port security and military operations in rivers, harbors and coastal waterways, the Navy said. He was temporarily reassigned effective November 15 to the Expeditionary Training Group staff.

Nov 21, 2013

Senators move toward crackdown on sexual assault in U.S. military

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – With Senate action to overhaul the military’s handling of sexual assault cases certain, senators debated an emotionally charged proposal on Wednesday to strip commanders of their power to decide whether many serious criminal charges should go to trial.

The debate came as the Senate considered amendments to its annual defense policy bill – the National Defense Authorization Act – a measure that already includes more than two dozen reforms that will radically alter the way the military responds to violent sex crimes.

Nov 20, 2013

Senate military policy debate focuses on Guantanamo, sexual assault

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. lawmakers clashed on Tuesday over how to deal with sexual assault in the armed forces and what to do about terrorism suspects at the Guantanamo Bay military prison in the opening of Senate debate on the annual defense policy bill.

Senators rejected an amendment that could have helped close the Guantanamo prison over time by making it easier to transfer inmates to the United States for trial or imprisonment. They also rejected a competing measure that could have complicated administration efforts to close the facility.

Nov 9, 2013

Female U.S. general who overturned sex-assault ruling to retire

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The first woman from the U.S. military to go into space has decided to retire after her promotion to a top Space Command job was blocked in the Senate due to her decision to overturn a sexual assault conviction.

Former space shuttle astronaut Lieutenant General Susan Helms has told the Air Force she plans to retire after more than 30 years of service, an Air Force spokesman said on Friday. The Senate Armed Services Committee confirmed that her nomination as vice commander of Air Force Space Command had been withdrawn.

Nov 8, 2013

Pentagon offset budget cut impact in key areas -watchdog

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – When $37 billion in budget cuts hit the Pentagon abruptly early this year, officials took steps that minimized the impact on key areas like the Afghanistan war but also took action that could raise long-run costs, a watchdog agency said on Thursday.

The Pentagon was hit by the reductions in March, almost midway through its fiscal year, as part of across-the-board government budget cuts that slashed its approved spending level for the year to about $490 billion from $527 billion.

Nov 7, 2013

U.S. military chiefs say spending cuts erode preparedness for war

WASHINGTON, Nov 7 (Reuters) – The top U.S. military officers
said on Thursday that across-the-board cuts in defense spending
have seriously eroded American forces’ preparedness for war, and
another round of reductions in the coming months will wreak even
more havoc.

To quickly achieve the abrupt cuts that went into force in
March, U.S. military chiefs slashed big-unit training for
soldiers, curbed flying time for pilots and canceled regularly
scheduled maintenance for ships. A similar round of reductions
in January would lead to more of the same.

    • 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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