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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.

Nov 5, 2013

Pentagon chief warns against over reliance on military power

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said on Tuesday the United States must effectively use all instruments of power, not just military might, to successfully lead the world after a dozen years of war that have strained it physically and financially.

The Pentagon chief told a leading Washington think tank that Americans should not “fall prey to the false notion of American decline,” and must also resist the post-war urge to retreat from foreign entanglements.

Nov 2, 2013

Some U.S. states, Pentagon clash over ID cards for same-sex spouses

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Several Republican-led U.S. states on Friday rejected Pentagon demands that their state militias issue identity cards to same-sex spouses and accused the Obama administration of using the military as a pawn in its bid to force social change.

The resistance put the Pentagon on a collision course with states that have rejected a Defense Department request, first issued in September, for identity cards to be issued to same-sex spouses so they can begin receiving benefits due to married couples.

Nov 2, 2013

Four extra sites opened to search for U.S. troops missing in Vietnam

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Vietnam advised the United States at the start of high-level talks this week it would open four additional sites to investigators seeking the remains of American military personnel missing since the Vietnam War, a senior U.S. defense official said.

Deputy Assistant Defense Secretary Vikram Singh, who oversees U.S. military ties with South and Southeast Asia, said an eight-member delegation led by Senior Lieutenant General Nguyen Chi Vinh told U.S. defense officials about the decision at the outset of talks at the Pentagon this week.

Nov 1, 2013

Pentagon chief criticizes states over ID cards for same-sex couples

WASHINGTON, Oct 31 (Reuters) – Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel
criticized nine U.S. states on Thursday for refusing to issue
identity cards to same-sex spouses and said he expected the
adjutants general for the state militias to comply with lawful
directions and Pentagon policy.

Hagel, in remarks prepared for delivery to a Jewish rights
group in New York, also announced the United States has agreed
to sell Israel six vertical liftoff V-22 Osprey aircraft – the
first U.S. ally to receive the plane.

    • 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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