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Aug 29, 2013

Analysis: Strike on Syria could trigger retaliatory attacks, cyberwar

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – It’s a truism often repeated in the Pentagon and across the U.S. security establishment: In war, the enemy gets a vote.

A U.S.-led cruise missile attack on Syria in response to its alleged use of chemical weapons, which seems increasingly likely in the coming days, could provoke reprisals from Damascus and its backers, ranging from retaliatory missile strikes to terrorist attacks and cyberwar, according to government officials and private analysts.

Aug 7, 2013

Citing tight budgets, U.S. Navy decides to scrap fire-damaged sub

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Navy said on Wednesday it will scrap a nuclear-powered submarine damaged by an arsonist last year rather than repair it, saying the $700 million repair cost could not be justified in a time of tight budgets.

The decision to deactivate the USS Miami nuclear attack submarine, which had been scheduled for another decade of service, was the second example in as many days of the balancing act facing the Pentagon as it attempts to deal with effects of huge across-the-board budget cuts.

Aug 6, 2013

Pentagon cuts unpaid leave to six days from 11

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced on Tuesday he was slashing the amount of unpaid leave that 650,000 civilian employees were ordered take this year to six days from 11 in an effort to limit the pain from across-the-board budget cuts.

The decision means most civilian defense employees, who saw their pay effectively cut by 20 percent, will complete their furloughs next week. Teachers and school staff who were due to take five days of unpaid leave at the start of the school year in late August will not be furloughed, defense officials said.

Aug 2, 2013

After two decades, U.S. Navy near deal to settle ‘Flying Dorito’ suit

WASHINGTON, Aug 2 (Reuters) – On the list of Pentagon
weapons programs gone awry, the Navy’s A-12 Avenger attack jet
stands out.

The radar-evading, carrier-based McDonnell Douglas plane was
18 months behind schedule and about $1.4 billion over cost when
then-Defense Secretary Dick Cheney canceled the $57 billion
program back in 1991.

Aug 2, 2013

Pentagon officials press Congress for more time on budget cuts

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A day after the Pentagon outlined the stark choices it confronts due to looming budget cuts in coming years, top defense officials pressed Congress to give them the time and flexibility to make the reductions without undermining security.

Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter warned lawmakers on Thursday that the Pentagon could not hit its budget targets under the law in the next few years without “drastic measures that are not strategically or managerially sound,” like grounding aircraft or putting employees on unpaid leave as was done this year.

Jul 31, 2013

Pentagon warns of tough trade-offs in face of looming cuts

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Wednesday pledged $40 billion in new Pentagon spending reductions over the next decade, but warned that additional cuts required by law posed stark choices that could bend or break the president’s defense strategy.

Hagel, unveiling the results of his four-month Strategic Choices and Management Review, said the Pentagon would cut $40 billion in overhead from its agencies and headquarters units over the next decade. He also said it would propose compensation reforms to try to save about $50 billion.

Jul 25, 2013

House rejects bid to curb spy agency data collection

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A U.S. spy program that sweeps up vast amounts of electronic communications survived a legislative challenge in the House of Representatives on Wednesday, the first attempt to curb the data gathering since former NSA contractor Edward Snowden revealed details of its scope.

The House of Representatives voted 217-205 to defeat an amendment to the defense appropriations bill that would have limited the National Security Agency’s ability to collect electronic information, including phone call records.

Jul 24, 2013

Clashes on Syria, spying mark debate on U.S. defense funding bill

WASHINGTON, July 23 (Reuters) – U.S. lawmakers clashed over
Syria, Afghanistan and government spying on Tuesday as the House
of Representatives began debating a $598 billion defense
spending bill for 2014, including a Pentagon base budget of $512
billion and $86 billion for the Afghan war.

The confrontations began even before the measure made it to
the floor of the House after Republican leaders moved to
restrict the number of permitted amendments to 100, with no more
than 20 minutes of debate on divisive issues like Syria policy
and spying by the National Security Agency.

Jul 22, 2013

Top U.S. officer outlines options for military force in Syria

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The top U.S. military officer said in a letter released on Monday that American forces could undertake a range of missions to help Syrian rebels if asked by the White House, from providing training to establishing no-fly zones or conducting limited attacks on military targets.

The letter by Army General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, contained an unclassified assessment of the options for using U.S. military force in the Syrian conflict. He indicated the administration was still deliberating what steps it should take in response to the civil war.

Jul 19, 2013

U.S. Navy deployments, readiness eroded by budget cuts: Navy chief

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Budget cuts have prompted the U.S. Navy to trim the number of warships deployed overseas and eroded the readiness of forces at home, undercutting its ability to respond rapidly to future crises around the globe, the top Navy officer said on Friday.

Admiral Jonathan Greenert, the chief of naval operations, said the Navy had an aircraft carrier strike group and an amphibious assault ship with U.S. Marines in the Arabian Sea. A similar group of ships is in the Western Pacific, he said.

    • 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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