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Mar 6, 2014

U.S. freedom of navigation operations in 2013 targeted China, Iran

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. military carried out freedom of navigation operations challenging the maritime claims of China, Iran and 10 other countries last year, asserting its transit rights in defiance of efforts to restrict passage, a Pentagon report said on Thursday.

The Defense Department’s annual Freedom of Navigation Report to Congress for the 2013 fiscal year showed the U.S. military targeted not only countries such as Iran, with whom it has no formal relations, but treaty allies such as the Philippines, too.

Mar 6, 2014

U.S. lawmakers skeptical of Pentagon’s 2015 budget plan, priorities

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Skeptical U.S. lawmakers told Pentagon leaders they did not like the department’s proposed 2015 defense budget on Wednesday but acknowledged that painful cuts to military personnel and popular weapons systems were due to spending caps approved by Congress.

Reacting to the new Pentagon budget unveiled this week, members of the Senate Armed Services Committee expressed concern about plans to slash the size of the Army, curb the growth of military compensation and retire popular weapons systems such as the entire fleet of A-10 “Warthog” tank-killer aircraft.

Mar 5, 2014

More U.S. jets on NATO patrol in Baltics amid Ukraine crisis: source

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Pentagon will more than double the number of U.S. fighter jets on a NATO air patrol mission in the Baltics and do more training with Poland’s air force as it strives to reassure allies alarmed by the crisis in Ukraine, officials said on Wednesday.

General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a Senate hearing that he had directed the U.S. military’s European Command to “consult and plan within the construct of the North Atlantic Council” while stressing the intent was to help stabilize the situation in Ukraine.

Mar 5, 2014

Pentagon boosts training, NATO air policing amid Ukraine crisis

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. military said on Wednesday it will bolster training with Poland’s air force and provide more U.S. aircraft to a NATO air policing mission in the Baltics, as it eyes ways to reassure allies without escalating the Ukraine crisis.

The United States has showed no interest in pursuing military options following the Russian intervention in Crimea. The biggest step the Pentagon had taken so far was to cut off military exchanges with Russia on Monday.

Mar 5, 2014

U.S. Air Force to fund rescue helicopter in last-minute reversal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Air Force decided on Tuesday to start work on a new rescue helicopter by United Technologies Corp’s Sikorsky Aircraft in fiscal 2015, a surprising turnaround hours after the Pentagon told Congress the program had been postponed.

Air Force Secretary Deborah James made the abrupt decision on the Combat Rescue Helicopter (CRH) program shortly before officials began briefing reporters about the Air Force’s budget for the fiscal year beginning October 1.

Mar 4, 2014

With 2015 budget, Pentagon looks beyond Afghanistan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Pentagon unveiled a $496 billion base budget on Tuesday that shifts the United States from its war-footing for the first time in a dozen years, cutting the size of the military to pay for training and new weapons systems in an era of tighter spending.

The budget sets the Obama administration on a collision course with Congress by seeking to eliminate popular older weapons and reform military compensation while proposing an additional $26.4 billion in military spending to be paid for by closing tax loopholes and cutting mandatory spending.

Mar 4, 2014

Fear of losing tech edge factors into Pentagon budget plans

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Concerns that cuts in defense spending could erode the U.S. military’s technological edge over rivals such as Russia and China are in part driving the Pentagon’s plans to slash troop levels and retire aging weapons.

U.S. defense officials have watched in recent years as Moscow and Beijing have tested a string of sophisticated weapons, from radar-evading aircraft and anti-ship missiles that fly many times the speed of sound, to integrated air defenses.

Feb 24, 2014

Budget cuts to slash U.S. Army to smallest since before World War Two

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Pentagon said on Monday it would shrink the U.S. Army to pre-World War Two levels, eliminate the popular A-10 aircraft and reduce military benefits in order to meet 2015 spending caps, setting up an election-year fight with the Congress over national defense priorities.

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, discussing the Pentagon’s plan for meeting its new spending caps ahead of the formal budget presentation on March 4, advanced a number of ideas that have been attempted in the past but rejected by Congress or are seen as likely to be unpopular in a congressional election year.

Feb 22, 2014

Hagel decides not to pursue top medal for celebrated U.S. Marine hero

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has reviewed the case of a Marine sergeant honored for heroism in Iraq and agreed with two other Pentagon chiefs that the evidence is insufficient to merit the highest military award for valor, the Pentagon said on Friday.

Supporters have criticized the department for denying Marine Sergeant Rafael Peralta’s nomination for the Medal of Honor for his actions in Fallujah in 2004, when pulled a grenade under his body to shield his comrades from the explosion, even as he was already dying of a fatal head wound.

Feb 20, 2014

Pentagon working to share reserved airwaves with industry -officials

WASHINGTON, Feb 20 (Reuters) – The Pentagon said on Thursday
it was working to find ways to share more of its reserved
airwaves with commercial wireless companies that need greater
bandwidth for smartphone and tablet users, but it declined to
elaborate on how much it might vacate.

The Pentagon’s communications chief, Teri Takai, said the
department was working “very closely” with key federal agencies
to reach President Barack Obama’s goal of making 500 megahertz
of airwaves reserved for federal agencies available to
telecommunications companies over the next decade.

    • 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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