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Sep 12, 2013

After seeing Iraq up close, top U.S. general wary on Syria

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – America’s top military officer General Martin Dempsey has already seen one Middle Eastern civil war. He is much more cautious about involvement in another.

While Dempsey, 61, has argued in favor of the White House’s idea of limited military strikes against Syria and arming moderate rebels, he has made clear his lack of enthusiasm for widening America’s role in the conflict much beyond that.

Sep 5, 2013

Cost of a U.S. strike against Syria could top Hagel’s estimate

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told lawmakers a limited military strike to deter Syria from using chemical weapons would likely cost tens of millions of dollars, but if past experience is a guide, the number could be substantially higher than that.

It is not uncommon for U.S. forces to open an assault by launching scores of Tomahawk missiles costing over $1 million apiece and dropping bombs from radar-evading B-2 planes that fly 18 hours each way from their base at a cost of $60,000 an hour.

Sep 4, 2013

Weapon of choice against al Qaeda, drones marginal in Syria

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Prowling the skies of Pakistan and Yemen, armed drones are America’s weapon of choice in its war against al Qaeda, but they are unlikely to play a major role in any U.S. strike against Syria, underscoring the limitations of unmanned aircraft.

Drones do not have the capability for air-to-air combat and would be vulnerable to Syria’s defense system of surface-to-air missiles and radar which can track and shoot down warplanes, never mind slower-moving drones.

Sep 2, 2013

Potential action against Syria reignites U.S. budget concerns

WASHINGTON, Sept 2 (Reuters) – The U.S. military’s decision
to move an aircraft carrier into the Red Sea to help out with
any “contingencies” underscores concerns a strike on Syria could
evolve into another costly war as U.S. defense spending faces
massive, mandatory cuts.

Current and former military officials say the cost of firing
cruise missiles at selected targets in Syria would be relatively
easily absorbed, and analysts say the effect on U.S. weapons
makers would be relatively minimal.

Aug 29, 2013

U.S. transfers two Guantanamo detainees to Algeria

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States said on Thursday it had transferred two men from the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to the government of Algeria as part of its ongoing effort to close the controversial prison.

The Pentagon said Nabil Said Hadjarab and Mutia Sadiq Ahmad Sayyab were transferred on Wednesday and arrived in Algeria the same day, leaving 164 detainees at Guantanamo, including 84 others cleared for release years ago.

Aug 29, 2013

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 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.

    • 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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